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How Canadian Parliamentarians used gender identity to destroy women's rights - Part 2

Updated: Sep 15, 2021


Part Two – The passage of Bill C-16 (2017)


By Blue Jay


In April 2013, Justin Trudeau became the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. At that time Stephen Harper was the leader of the Conservative Party and Canada’s Prime Minister.


In 2015 the scheduled federal election took place. Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party won a majority government in October. Interestingly, there is absolutely nothing in the Liberal Platform that mentions changing the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) for transgendered people. Only the NDP and Bloc Québécois mentioned transgender rights in their platforms.



Jody Wilson-Raybould & Justin Trudeau


Despite transgender rights not being a part of the Liberal Platform, the month after they were elected, Trudeau specifically tasked his first Minister of Justice, Jody Wilson-Raybould to begin this work. The Mandate Letter he sent asked her to develop government legislation to add gender identity as a prohibited ground for discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA), and to the list of distinguishing characteristics of “identifiable group” protected by the hate speech provisions of the Criminal Code.


Despite his feminist claims at the UN 60th Commission on the Status of Women about how men and women should be treated equally, on May 16, 2016, six months after becoming Prime Minister, while accepting the Laurent McCutcheon Award for his commitment to fighting homophobia and transphobia Trudeau stated, “I’m proud to announce that tomorrow, on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, we will be tabling a bill in the House of Commons to ensure the full protection of transgender people.”


The bill he promised to introduce was Bill C-16, An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code (gender identity and gender expression).


While Trudeau kept his promises to transgender Canadians, he has thrown Canadian women and girls under the bus. We no longer have equality, in the name of equity.



Justin Trudeau


In their mandate letters, Trudeau directed each of his cabinet ministers to apply a Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) to the decisions they make especially when drafting legislation. A GBA is the process by which a policy, program, initiative or service can be examined for its impacts on various groups of women and men.


In order to understand more about the background to Bill C-16, an Access to Information Request was sent to Justice Canada requesting all background information for Bill C-16. Once received, this ATIP request had redacted the entire section on the GBA based on s. 69 of the Access to Information Act, which refers to Cabinet confidences. A Cabinet confidence is when a document is discussed at the PM’s Cabinet meetings and is then considered Secret and will not be released for at least 20 years. The PM can choose to release this information, but he has declined to do so.


The changes to the Canadian Human Rights Act would be the very reason why this GBA should be made public, but Trudeau has refused to release it, without giving any explanation for his decision.

Although Canadians might assume that all laws introduced to parliament must undergo a thorough analysis against the entire Charter of Rights and Freedoms to ensure they comply, that is not the case.


The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is entrenched in the Constitution of Canada, and provides Canadians with a wide range of rights, including basic freedoms, democratic rights, legal rights, language rights and equality rights.


On the other hand, the Canadian Human Rights Act is federal legislation that deals with equality rights, in particular, the right not to be discriminated against. It is not a part of the Canadian constitution.


Whereas complaints of violations of Charter rights are adjudicated strictly though Canada’s court system, human rights complaints are generally dealt with through a special human rights commission system.


Interestingly, even though the Prime Minister claimed to be a feminist, and the Minister of Justice, Jody Wilson-Raybould, was the first Indigenous female to hold that position, it didn’t seem to occur to either one of them to ensure that the Department of Justice conducted a review of Bill C-16 against section 15 of the Charter which guarantees Canadian women our sex-based rights.

The ATIP I referred to earlier also indicated that the Department of Justice only reviewed Bill C-16 against some sections of the Charter and only listed 3 potential impacts – (non exhaustive list)


  1. Promoting Charter values

  2. Freedom of expression (s. 2(b) of the Charter)

  3. The right to liberty (s. 7 of the Charter)

Bill C-16 passed in 2017 and is now federal law.


As it currently stands in Canada, people are able to self ID to change their gender information on their birth certificates, driver’s licenses and health cards. Here’s an example of what the Province of Ontario says about self ID.


The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) website indicates, “International human rights principles are clear that every person has the right to define their own gender identity. A person’s self-defined gender identity is one of the most basic aspects of self-determination, dignity and freedom. For legal and social purposes, a person whose gender identity is different from their birth-assigned sex should be treated according to their lived gender identity”.


Due to this ability to self ID, women must now allow any male who ‘identifies’ as a woman into their single sex spaces (prisons, change rooms, bathrooms, rape crisis centres and sports) whether he looks like a woman or not.


Trudeau’s government has also been busy updating federal policies to the extent that most federal websites now define a woman as:


Women: All people who identify as women, whether they are cisgender or transgender women.


Most biological women prefer the dictionary definition of women as “adult human females.”


Once the CHRA and Criminal Code were changed, policies across the federal government started changing. Notably, the federal agency formerly called Status of Women was renamed to Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) in 2018, six months after becoming a full-fledged department with a brand-new mandate.


“Women and Gender Equality Canada works to advance equality with respect to sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression through the inclusion of people of all genders, including women, in Canada’s economic, social, and political life”.


It has been under the watch of WAGE that the definition of woman has changed to being an identity that anyone can claim, merely by saying so (self ID) instead of a biological reality.

WAGE has also reframed violence against women as ‘gender-based violence’ or ‘intimate partner violence’ to be politically correct. With the erasure of sex categories (despite the Charter of Rights and Freedoms) women have lost the ability to name sex oppression or to ask for protections from it. So much for the advancements of women in Canada.


Please go to the Resistance Column and look at all the Federal policies that have been updated based on Bill C-16.


You can find out more about "How bills become laws in Canada" by clicking here.

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