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A key piece of legislation to protect transgender Canadians from discrimination was approved by the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Bill C-279, a private member’s bill proposed by New Democrat Randall Garrison, includes protection against discrimination and hate crimes based on gender identity in the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code of Canada. The bill passed by a vote of 149-137, with support from the NDP, Liberals, Bloc Quebecois and Green Party, as well as 18 Conservatives.

CUPE has been proud to support Bill C-279 since it was introduced, and we are pleased by the recognition of the House of Commons that transgender individuals face discrimination and violence, and that their rights must be protected. We encourage the Senate to swiftly pass this vital piece of legislation.

Education and awareness are also essential to make our workplaces and our communities safe and welcoming places for trans persons. CUPE continues the proud tradition of activism and outreach with an anti-bullying campaign: “Speak Out! Stop Bullying” is a call to action in the workplace that highlights the high rates of bullying experienced by members of the LGBTTI community. Many copies of the new brochure along with the popular pink frisbees and bandanas have been distributed at Pride Parades, Division Conventions, conferences and youth events across the country.