In Focus: All You Need to Know About Bill C-16

Very seldom do legislative bills or amendments to acts enter the mainstream conversation. Bill C-16 is one such bill that has successfully entered the realm of public discourse, and this has also led to a great political division. Now, it is not our place to make political commentary; we’re simply here to educate you about the nature of the bill, its implications, and the legalities that surround it. What is Bill C-16? And, why is it such a hot-button topic? Since not everyone is familiar with the bill, allow us to present you with our two-part series explaining the bill and its properties.

What is Bill C-16?

According to gender theorists, gender identity is intrinsic to each individual and a result of one’s own personal experience. To summarise this – your gender identity can differ from the sex you were assigned at birth, just as easily as it may correlate with it. This identity can be independent of the gender binary (male and female) and be applicable to transgender, genderqueer, gender-fluid, and non-binary.

Centred on gender expression and gender identity, the Trudeau Government expanded the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to protect diverse gender identities and gender expressions from any possible discrimination that they might otherwise suffer.

Amendments to the Human Rights Act

In addition to gender, religion, ethnicity, race, colour, etc. gender identity and expression are now protected against undue discrimination. It is, therefore, illegal to deny general services (such as employment, services, accommodation) to an individual on the grounds of their gender expression or gender identity. Those who deny any applicable benefits to an individual on the grounds of their gender identity or gender expression can also be obligated to pay a monetary compensation on those very grounds.

Amendments to the Criminal Code

The expansion to the Canadian Criminal Code led to the addition of gender expression and gender identity as a basis for group identity or an “identifiable group” to quote from the amendment itself. According to sections 318 and 319, it is a criminal offence to endorse genocide, and hatred against the members of a certified protected group. With the addition of gender expression and gender identity to such identifiable groups, it is, therefore, a criminal offence to induce hatred or call out genocide against individuals with distinct gender expressions or gender identities.

While we answered the question “what is Bill C-16?” with basic information about the bill and the amendments it led to, there’s a high likelihood that you still don’t understand the reason for political conflict that the bill led to. To understand more about the controversy that surrounds compelled speech, read the article that follows this one. For further elaboration of the bill and your rights as a citizen or as a member of the above-mentioned identifiable group, contact us at Prowse Chowne.