Canada’s unions stand with trans workers

November 20, 2018

November 20 is the Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR). Communities around the world hold vigils, rallies and other memorial events on this day to honor two spirit, trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people who have been murdered because of their gender identity.

“Trans people face disproportionately high levels of violence and harassment. Ensuring respect and fair treatment for trans workers is a key priority for Canada’s unions,” said CLC Executive Vice-President, Larry Rousseau. “Our workplaces must lead the way in being inclusive spaces for all workers, no matter their gender identity and expression.”

Studies compiled by Egale Canada show that 90 percent of transgender and gender diverse employees report experiencing workplace harassment and/or violence based on their gender identity and expression. Trans people, and in particular trans women of colour, continue to be disproportionately targeted by sexual harassment and violence.

Canada’s unions have long stood with trans people in Canada. We supported private members’ bills and Bill C-16, which amended human rights legislation and the Criminal Code to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination. While almost all provinces and territories have made trans protection explicit in their human rights legislation, more remains to be done.

Unions continue to improve conditions for trans workers through collective bargaining, by securing rights to access to safe washrooms and change rooms and health benefit coverage for medical transition and hormone therapy. Our education programs and resources help build awareness to support a safer environment for workers to transition. The CLC has collaborated with Our Times labour magazine on a new to-do list for trans inclusion in the workplace. We will also be releasing an updated Workers in Transition guide in early 2019.

“We all have a role to play in promoting fairness, equality, and freedom from violence for trans people in our workplaces and in our communities,” said Rousseau.

Visit the official TDOR website to learn more about the origin and history of the campaign here.

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