Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Canada’s unions are pleased that the federal government is taking steps to end discrimination against the LGBTQ community with the move to repeal section 159 of the Criminal Code and the appointment of a Special Advisor on LGBTQ issues. 

Today Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould announced Bill C-32 which would repeal section 159 of the Criminal Code, a law which unfairly criminalizes anal intercourse in certain cases and is considered discriminatory to the LGBTQ community.

"Canada's unions have been working hard for decades on LGBTQ rights. This is a significant step towards ending historic discrimination and the criminalization of homosexuality,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff.

Canadian unions are also looking forward to working with the Prime Minister’s newly appointed Special Advisor on LGBTQ issues, MP Randy Boissonnault.

“What we expect from the government now is concrete action to address the harm caused by the persecution of LGBTQ workers in the public service, military and RCMP,” said Yussuff.

In its report submitted to the government earlier this year, Egale Canada highlighted some very specific actions needed to acknowledge the systemic history of discrimination against the LGBTQ community and to make significant changes – including changes to the criminal code – to eliminate this discrimination going forward.

“Many lives have been ruined as a result of this systemic inequity and we hope to see the next step be a remedial one to address those injustices,” said Yussuff.

Some of the specific steps recommended in Egale’s report that Canadian unions hope to see enacted in the near future include:

  • An apology for Canada’s history of LGBTQ persecution and compensation for unjust action taken against members of the LGBTQ community;
  • Reform of prosecutorial practices that currently discriminate against the LGBTQ community; and
  • Expungement of unjust convictions.