Last updated November 24, 2011

Rights

Trans Human Rights Campaign

Followup on BC Trans Inclusion petition

BC Women born women pharmacy

Club owner going to Rights Tribunal over transsexual case - Toronto Star

Ontario Human Rights Commissions Policy on Discrimination and Harassment because of Gender Identity

Canada's Best MP, Bill Siksay Introduces Bill To Add Gender Identity And Expression To Hate Provisions Of The Criminal Code

Manitoba Cuts SRS Funding

Manitoba rejects funding for trans surgeries - Xtra!

Alberta Cuts SRS Funding

Change of Name Drivers Licence Changes

Ontario Ministry of Transportation says: Full surgery is not required as a condition for sex designation changes on Ontario Drivers Licences.

Change of Name Act Changes

Bill 186

Tribunal Decision on Human Rights Case

Ontario Provincial Liberals refuse to fund SRS

Canadian Transexuals Fight For Rights Position on the May 16 Police Strip Search Ontario H.R. Tribunal Ruling

Nixon vs. BC Rape Relief Kimberly Nixon's supreme court of Canada appeal is denied Xtra! coverage

National Association of Women and the Law has a list of Internet Sites and Resources on Transgender Issues

Micheline Montreuil wins the right to use her name in Quebec finally!

Transsexual women into women's services and organizations' for the City of Toronto's Access, Equity and Human Rights Department's strategy.

New Human Rights Bill Hurts Those Who Need It Most

Surgery Available For Prisoners

Ontario Human Rights Commission have created a Discussion Paper toward a Commission Policy on Gender Identity. 

City of Toronto Human Rights and Harassment Policy

An Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton, ruled "the applicant's transsexuality, in itself, without further evidence, would not constitute a material change in circumstances, nor would it be considered a negative factor in custody determination."

Transman Wins Sex Change on Quebec Birth Certificate

Nurse Michelle Gauthier is launching a class-action lawsuit against Quebec Medicare for the cost of SRS

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Vancouver pharmacy - Lu's women-born-women policy - Xtra!

Vancouver's Women only pharmacy denies prescription to trans client

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In Alberta's Budget tabled on Tuesday, April 7 the Government announced Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) funding would be cut immediately. SRS is a medically necessary procedure recognized internationally, and access to health care should be a fundamental human right for vulnerable populations.

Sex Reassignment Surgery Funding Cut in Alberta Budget
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=85048933488

Trans Human Rights Campaign
www.transhumanrightscampaign.org
A Project of the Trans Health Lobby Group
A Committee of the Rainbow Health Network
www.rainbowhealthnetwork.ca

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A new regulation under the Change of Name Act, involving transgendered individuals. Currently, when an individual legally changes his or her name, the Office of the Registrar General (ORG) is usually required to publish the change in The Ontario Gazette. This provision of the Act is a way of notifying the public of the name change.

The Government of Ontario recognizes that a legal name change is a significant event for many transgendered individuals and that the publication of such name changes may have a potentially harmful impact on the privacy interests of some individuals. Therefore, as of July 3, 2007, transgendered individuals may seek exemption from publication of a legal name change in The Ontario Gazette.

A transgendered individual may request exemption by including a request form or letter with the individual's change of name application stating that he or she is transgendered and wishes to have the change of name notice excluded from publication. This form is available from the ORG by request. All other requirements of the change of name application remain the same. The current requirements under section 8 of the Change of Name Act to notify the appropriate authorities of name changes for persons with unsatisfied court orders, outstanding liens, undischarged bankruptcies, pending court proceedings and criminal convictions will be maintained.

The Office of the Registrar General can be reached toll free in North America at 1-800-461-2156, in Toronto at 416-325-8305 or visit the Ministry of Government Services website at www.ServiceOntario.ca for more information.

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Back on 18 April 2005, Cassandra submitted an Application for Reconsideration for her human rights case against the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.  The Ontario Human Rights Commission had previously determined that Cassie's case did not have sufficient merit to proceed to the Tribunal.  On 29 May 2007, the Commission, having reviewed Cassie's Application for Reconsideration, has reversed its decision.  The case will now go to the Tribunal.

September 2011: It's been 8-1/2 years since Cassie initiated her complaint against the province. Presently, the parties involved are completing the settlement process. The terms of the settlement are confidential. However, Cassie says the money in the settlement is less than she had hoped for but more than she had expected. The settlement brings closure to Cassie's fight for compensation.

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March 21, 2007, History was made for the Trans Community in Ontario and in Canada upon the introduction of Bill # 186 - An Act to Amend the (Ontario) Human Rights Code respecting Gender Identity.

This private member's bill by Cheri Di Novo MPP (NDP) seeks to gain a "visible" ground in the Human Rights Code for Transsexual people in Ontario.

Martine Stonehouse (CUPE) and Susan Gapka, both of the Trans Health Lobby Group were in attendance for this historic moment.

The Bill is also known as "Toby's Bill" in Honor of the late Toby Dancer a Transsexual who was one of Canada's great musicians who as a studio musician, produced albums for many artists including Ian Tyson.

Bill # 186 if passed would make Ontario the first province, and the second jurisdiction after the Northwest Territories to include a visible ground of Gender Identity in Human Rights Codes in Canada.

The Bill is also supported by Barbara Hall, the Human Rights Commissioner for Ontario.

A special thanks to the Ontario NDP and Cheri Di Novo for meeting with us, supporting the Transsexual Community, and introducing this historic Bill in the Ontario Legislature yesterday.

Read below for Bill # 186, and the Legislative speakers notes.

Thanks. - Martine Stonehouse - The Transactivist!


Bill 186 2007
An Act to amend the Human Rights Code respecting gender identity
Note: This Act amends the Human Rights Code. For the legislative history of the Act, see Public Statutes – Detailed Legislative History on www.e-Laws.gov.on.ca.
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:
1. Section 1 of the Human Rights Code is amended by adding “gender identity” after “sexual orientation”.
2. Subsection 2 (1) of the Act is amended by adding “gender identity” after “sexual orientation”.
3. Section 3 of the Act is amended by adding “gender identity” after “sexual orientation”.
4. Subsection 5 (1) of the Act is amended by adding “gender identity” after “sexual orientation”.
5. Section 6 of the Act is amended by adding “gender identity” after “sexual orientation”.
Commencement
6. This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.
Short title
7. The short title of this Act is Toby’s Act (Right to be Free from Discrimination Because of Gender Identity), 2007.
______________
EXPLANATORY NOTE
The Bill amends the Human Rights Code to specify that every person has a right to equal treatment without discrimination because of gender identity with respect to,
(a) services, goods and facilities (section 1 of the Code);
(b) accommodation (subsection 2 (1) of the Code);
(c) contracting (section 3 of the Code);
(d) employment (subsection 5 (1) of the Code); and
(e) membership in a trade union, trade or occupational association or self-governing profession (section 6 of the Code).

Legislative Assembly of Ontario
Official Records for March 21, 2007
The House met at 1330.
Prayers.

MEMBERS’ STATEMENTS
VISITOR

Ms. Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale–High Park): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I just want to introduce someone well known to many here who is in attendance today: Susan Gapka, who is one of our noted transactivists in the community. Welcome, Susan.

...

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
1350
TOBY’S ACT
(RIGHT TO BE FREE FROM DISCRIMINATION
BECAUSE OF GENDER IDENTITY), 2007 /
LOI TOBY DE 2007
SUR LE DROIT À L’ABSENCE
DE DISCRIMINATION
FONDÉE SUR L’IDENTITÉ DE GENRE
Ms. DiNovo moved first reading of the following bill:
Bill 186, An Act to amend the Human Rights Code respecting gender identity / Projet de loi 186, Loi modifiant le Code des droits de la personne en ce qui concerne l’identité de genre.
The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): Is it the pleasure of the House the motion carry? Carried.
The member may wish to make a brief statement.
Ms. Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale–High Park): Toby’s Act is named after one of Canada’s great musicians. Toby Dancer was a producer of Ian Tyson albums, a studio musician and a transsexual. This bill adds two words to the Human Rights Code, “gender identity,” so that people who are transsexual or transgender can be protected along with their lesbian, gay and bisexual brothers and sisters. Currently, as Barbara Hall has attested in the Toronto Star, this protection is not extended to them, despite the abuse, oppression and discrimination the trans community has faced. We want to change that and ask that this bill be made law by this government immediately, before another life in that community is lost. In honour of the life that was Toby Dancer’s.

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Ontario attorney general holds private talks on human rights changes

St. Catharines Standard (ON) Fri 09 Mar 2007 Page: A7 Section: Local Byline: MATTHEW VAN DONGEN
Source: Ontario's attorney general quietly visited St. Catharines Thursday to talk about upcoming changes to provincial human rights legislation.
Michael Bryant took questions on the Human Rights Code Amendment Act from about 40 people at a meeting closed to the media.

The act is meant to erase a backlog of human rights complaints currently before the Ontario Human Rights Commission and Tribunal.

"There's a lot of frustration about how the system has been working,"said Bryant after the meeting."There's too much process, too much red tape and legalese. It just takes too long, period." The meeting was off limits to the public so invited participants could talk freely about their own human rights complaints, said Maureen O'Neill, executive director of the Niagara Centre for Independent Living, which hosted the event. Right now, it can take years for a human rights complaint to be judged by the tribunal, said O'Neill. And even then, many complainants are overwhelmed by the complex legal process, she said."It's daunting," said O'Neill."Getting people some sort of assistance, some sort of representation as they go through the system, that would be a help."

That's a goal of the new act, scheduled to come into force sometime in the next year and a half, said Bryant. Under the planned changes, complaints will be filed directly to the tribunal and - ideally - dealt with more quickly. A new publically funded human rights legal support centre is also in the works."I'd like to see everything in place as soon as possible," said Bryant."But  we have to make sure we get it right."

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The Human Rights Commission of Ontario in conjunction with the one complainant who was denied coverage for surgery has elected to appeal the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario's decision against reinstating funding for reassignment surgery.  The appeal will be heard by the Divisional Court of Ontario.  This will take quite a bit of time before the case is heard and then likely quite a bit of time before the Court issues their own ruling. 

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A Word From Ray Blanchard:

To the Members of the former Service Advisory Committee for the CAMH Gender Identity Clinic:

        I recently obtained a copy of the Decision of the Human Rights Tribunal Of Ontario (HRTO) dated November 28, 2006. This decision concerns the Government of Ontario’s deletion of sex reassignment surgery as a benefit of the Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

        I was dismayed to see that in paragraph 85 of the Decision, the authors reproduce a long quote from Dr. Paul Fedoroff and misattribute that quote to me. The quote was taken from the following two-part document:

Fedoroff, J. P.  (2000). Part I: The case against publicly funded transsexual surgery. Psychiatry Rounds, 4, 1-3.

Blanchard, R. (2000). Part II: The case for publicly funded transsexual surgery. Psychiatry Rounds, 4, 4-6.

This document was a formal written debate in which, as the titles imply, I argued in favour of funding for sex reassignment and Dr. Fedoroff argued against it. In paragraph 85 of the HRTO Decision, the authors quote Dr. Fedoroff’s argument against sex reassignment verbatim and attribute this quote to me. Paragraphs 86 and 87 go on to cite me as an expert opposed to sex reassignment, which is, of course, the precise opposite of the position I took in the debate with Dr. Fedoroff.

        Since the HRTO Decision of November 28, 2006 is now available on-line, it is important to me that members of the transsexual community and its supporters understand that the Decision contains gross factual errors regarding my views, as they were expressed in 2000 and as they are now.

Sincerely,
Ray Blanchard, Ph.D.

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Transsexual Community Members Demand Equal Health Care Access


Today transsexual (Trans) community members gathered at Queen’s Park to express disappointment in a November 28 Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruling that public funding for Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) should be provided to only the three complainants who had been assessed at the Gender Identity Clinic when the procedure was delisted. The fourth complainant’s quest for coverage was dismissed because he was not a client of the Gender Identity Clinic when the service was de-listed on October 1, 1998. Community members urged the government to do the honourable thing by providing funding for SRS and related medical procedures.


Martine Stonehouse, one of the complainants stated, "I cannot begin to express my disappointment over this decision. Transsexuals must be recognized as equal persons in Ontario deserving of equal rights and equal access to healthcare and our medical needs.” Ms. Stonehouse presented a letter to Premier McGuinty which pleaded, “I appeal to you and so does the Transsexual community on humanitarian and compassionate grounds to relist Sex Reassignment Surgery.” Ms. Stonehouse vowed to fight on in support of publicly funded SRS.

Michelle Hogan, another complainant, could not attend. Her statement said, “The important thing now is to make contact with the appropriate medical officials to assist them in understanding that we indeed are experiencing a negative effect on our medical, emotional, social and economic needs and abilities due to the inability / unwillingness of the medical delivery system to respond to our needs.” Ms. Hogan added, “We ask that we be allowed to open dialog with the Health Ministry, the Ontario Medical Association and Ontario Hospital Insurance Program to explain the needs of our small, but marginalized community.”

Greta Bauer, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario said, “Findings from the Trans PULSE Project’s preliminary studies in Ontario echo those of prior studies; they have identified health care access as a primary concern, and an area where trans people experience social exclusion in a way that impacts their well-being to the core.” The Trans PULSE Project is a community-based research project which is exploring the impact of social exclusion on the health of Ontario's Trans communities. Dr. Bauer added, “For the small group of people who require sex reassignment surgeries, these services represent a medical need absolutely central to physical and mental health.”

Susan Gapka, Chair of the Trans Health Lobby Group (THLG) announced, “We are disappointed with the decision and will continue to advocate for equal health care access for trans people in Ontario. Trans people experience barriers to health care access and have been rendered invisible within the public policy process. We aim to achieve community empowerment and political agency by advocating for our specialised health care needs.” The THGH organised the media conference and is a committee of the Rainbow Health Network, a Reference Group of the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario.
On October 1, 1998 the Provincial government removed funding for Sex Reassignment Surgery without consultation with medical professionals or the transsexual community. On Tuesday, April 19, 2005 an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal Hearing concluded its lengthy proceedings on whether cutting funding was discriminatory. SRS is a medically necessary procedure to complete the transition process from one sex to another and to improve the quality of life for transsexual persons.

Supported by Rainbow Health Network (Reference Group of the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights
in Ontario), Canadian Union of Public Employees, and the Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario.

For more information:

Susan Gapka; 647 882 2776; gapka_gp@yahoo.com; www.rainbowhealthnetwork.ca
Greta Bauer; 519 661 2111, # 86262; greta.bauer@schulich.uwo.ca
Michelle Hogan; melynh@hotmail.com

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A Message from Rosalyn: Here is part of what was sent to me by Brian Smith, council for the Commission.

As was the case with the Interim Decision that I set you in November of 2005, there is some disagreement between the Tribunal members. This is why you will find two decisions: one from the majority of Two Tribunal members: and one from the minority of one Tribunal member. Only the majority decision is enforceable. Although we are still reviewing the reasons, the majority seems to say that delisting of SRS only had discriminatory impact on complaints who (i) had already started the process of transition at the Gender Identity Clinic before October 1 1998, and (ii) received a recommendation for surgery from the Clinic within six years of the date which they started their real life test as assessed by the Clinic. The majority finds there is no discrimination against one of the complainants who started the process at the Clinic after October 1, 1998. As the very lengthily Decision was just released yesterday, we are still in the process of reading and thinking about it. Among other things, the Commission and the other parties may be thinking about the possibility of filing a notice of appeal to the Ontario Divisional Court with in the 30 day time period set out by the Code. We will of course be looking to see what impact the terms of the decision could have for your particular complaint. You will remember that the Tribunal told us that we were to get back to it within 60 days of receiving the decision in the Hogan et al Case. This was designed to allow the parties to that case time to decide whether to file a notice of appeal. So in short everyone, the interim decision is what ruled the day and only people who began prior to delisting are safe, grandfathered somewhat, anyone after is SOL. This fight and others like it are still able to happen, at least until the Government scraps the Human Rights Commission. When that happens just imagine all the groups that they will be able to play with, and no one will be able to do a thing about it.

Rosalyn

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A Message from Michelle Hogan: Well the decision is out and it is what I call a "lame duck cop out." Two of the three panelists have awarded 3 of the 4 complainants with what we feel are small monetary compensations and they advise that they have no ability to demand that the Ministry of Health reinstate coverage for sex reassignment surgery, even though it is part and parcel of a valid medical Standard of Care. The third panel member has given a dissenting view and would have given a very different, conciliatory decision. The reasons given are more in tune with the testimony given. For the next several weeks, the lawyers for the three represented complainants, the lawyers for the Human Rights Commission and myself, will be reviewing the 164 page document to determine our alternatives.

Many Blessings, Michelle Hogan

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A Message from Martine Stonehouse: We have a decision by the Tribunal in the Ontario Human Rights Case on the Government's delisting of Sex Reassignment Surgery on Oct 1, 1998. The Tribunal hearings ended on April 19th 2005, with an interim decision handed down on Nov 9, 2005 which allowed three of the four complainants funding for their SRS. We have been waiting for over a year and a half for the Tribunal to bring down its final decision. Basically, the final decision is the same as the interim decision which means the fourth complainant's claim is not addressed and it does not request the Ontario Government to relist SRS. In reviewing the decision, it is a badly flawed document and the other complainants, myself, the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and our lawyer will be looking further into this matter and will probably meet soon to discuss our strategy, we do have the right to an appeal. I cannot comment further on the decision at this time as we do not want to compromise our positions, however I will keep all of you informed of any further progress that we make as soon as I can. This case is NOT over yet, and we will NOT go away!  "It always looks glum throughout the darkness of the storm, but soon the skies will clear and we will see a rainbow of hope appear, it may take some time but don't give up hope as our community will soon be shining!"  

 

Martine Stonehouse - The Transactivist!  

HAYLEY MICK
CANADIAN PRESS

Four transsexuals who say the Ontario government's decision to stop funding sex change operations in 1998 left them trapped halfway between the sexes will have their case heard this month.

Martine Stonehouse, a support worker with the Toronto school board, said she couldn't afford to finish her transition from male to female after the province removed sex-reassignment surgery from the list of procedures covered by medicare five years ago.

Now she and three other transsexuals will go before the Ontario Human Rights Commission to try to force the government to fund and finalize their sexual transformations.

"To leave any patient halfway through a recognized medically necessary procedure is medically and morally unethical no matter what the condition is," said Stonehouse, who prefers to be referred to as a female.

The Ontario government stopped funding sex-reassignment surgery — which reconstructs the genitalia — on Oct. 1, 1998.

Prior to that date, Ontarians could have their surgery paid for provided they went through a standardized two-year program that included: psychological assessments, hormone treatment, and a "real life test" in which patients had to live as the other gender, full time, for one year.

The Gender Identity Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto would then approve patients for the government-funded surgery.

Between 1980 and Sept. 30, 1998, about six or seven surgeries were recommended by the clinic each year, at a combined annual cost to taxpayers of about $122,000.

When the government stopped funding the operation, a limited clause gave coverage to those who had been approved by the clinic, but hadn't undergone surgery.

"People who we had written letters of approval for prior to that date did get their surgeries covered but that was a limited number," said Maxine Petersen, a psychological associate at the clinic.

"There were a lot of people who were in the process and hadn't reached that point of approval, but were certainly headed in that direction."

Stonehouse was caught in that awkward position. She began living full time as a woman in 1987 and started hormone treatments, which caused her breasts to grow, voice to raise, and sex drive to drop about ten years later.

She wasn't approved by the clinic before the funding was dropped, and said she can't afford the surgery — which can cost up to $20,000 — on her own.

Stonehouse said the government should pay for the surgery since it is a medically recommended solution for her condition, which makes her feel like she's a woman trapped in a man's body.

The outcome of the hearing will likely hinge on whether or not sex-reassignment surgery is deemed a "medically necessary" procedure — a designation that makes a procedure fundable under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

"I would say `medically necessary' would probably be the main criteria that led to (the surgery's) de-listing," said Health Ministry spokesman John Letherby, adding that the decision would have been made by an "adequate and fair cross-section" of medical professionals who are hired annually to make those kind of recommendations.

But lawyer Susan Ursel, who will represent three of the complainants when the hearing begins on Sept. 23, said the government's decision was "inhumane" because her clients suffer from a medically recognized disorder.

"They've taken a stance that doesn't seem to be supported by the majority of medical professionals in the field," said Ursel.

"These people have been diagnosed with a gender identity disorder. They have a profound disjuncture between the gender identity (that) society may have assigned them and who they feel they really are," she said.

"So expecting them to conform . . . comes about only through extreme personal sacrifice by them."

Petersen, who has been working at the Gender Identity Clinic for the last 20 years, agrees.

"Nobody would choose this as a preferred way of living if they had the choice," she said. "This would not be it, because there are too many painful, painful losses."

Petersen said that may be why the clinic's active case load — about 250 to 300 people at any given time — didn't drop even after the surgery was de-listed.

Canadian provinces that cover the costs of the surgery include Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Newfoundland.

Status of Cassie's (from Torchlight) human rights case (7 October 2005)

Cassie's human rights case against the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has been disallowed. Reason given was the lack of approval by Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and by OHIP.

On 18 April 2005, Cassie submitted the "Application for Reconsideration" for her case. As of 7 October 2005, the Application is still waiting to be considered by the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

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Sad news to report.

After a twelve-year, four-hearing battle, Kimberly Nixon's case for trans rights has been stopped in its tracks.
Kimberly Nixon is a post-operative transsexual woman who was expelled from Rape Relief, a Vancouver women's service and shelter, because she was not
"born a woman".

She won a Rape Relief challenge which argued that trans women had no rights under the 'gender' section of the human rights code. And she won the largest amount of money ever awarded by the BC Human Rights Tribunal at the time.

But she lost when Rape Relief took judicial review (a form of appeal) of the human rights tribunal decision. Nixon lost again when we appealed to the B.C. Court of Appeal.

Because the Court of Appeal decision was 3-0 against Kimberly, we had to request permission to take our case to the Supreme Court of Canada. That court, which heard only ten cases in its winter term from across the country, decides which few of the cases in which an appeal is requested it can hear.

And today they refused to hear Kimberly Nixon's.

What is the result?

The legal result is that in B.C. at least, the Court of Appeal judgement stands. That in turn means that any group organized on the basis of disability, on the basis of religion, etc, and that provides services, can REFUSE to provide those services to anyone in the group that they don't like. They are free to discriminate.

Queers are particularly vulnerable to such discrimination. Disability groups have historically excluded people with HIV for example. Many religious groups exclude queers. There was a case this week in which a Victoria archibishop fired a priest and an administrator in the parish. The reason? The administrator had admitted to a parishoner that he was gay; the parishoner spoke to the bishop. The bishop told the priest to get rid of the admnistrator; the priest refused. So the priest was also terminated.

Under the Nixon decision, that is perfectly legal.

But there is another result. Kimberly's case, though technically a loss, is a victory for trans people because it is through her courageous pursuit of this case over many years, and the profile that this case has had, that the Canadian women's movement and in particular Canadian women's shelters have had to come to grips with the issue of service to trans women. Happily, almost all women-only services across the country have developed policies inclusive of trans women.

Trans people will continue to use the courts as one strategy to achieve legal and social equality in this country.

Where to from here?

This case, though 'persuasive' to courts in other provinces, applies only in British Columbia. So anyone with a similar issue in another province can (and should) file a complaint. And people anywhere in Canada can file human rights complaints if they are discriminated against by anyone except a women-only service.

Costs

The Supreme Court of Canada ordered costs against Kimberly for the application for leave to appeal. It is our expectation that Rape Relief will content itself with its victory rather than to be so unkind as to go after Kimberly for money she does not have. Nixon, who is currently employed doing award-winning historical restorations in Vancouver, was on social assistance for nine years.

I am sure Kimberly would appreciate hearing from people. It is a lonely place that she is in right now. You can send mail to me at the address below; or email me at this address, and I will pass everything along to her.

Questions

If you have any questions please let me know.

barbara findlay
Counsel for Kimberly Nixon

The Law Office of barbara findlay QC
635-1033 Davie St.
Vancouver BC V6E 1M7
604 251-4356
F 604 251-4373

Egale's statement: BC Court of Appeals allows exclusion of Trans women - Nixon Case

barbara findlay wrote:
Hello everyone
Here is the *real* story about Kimberly's case:

The court below said (a) that Rape Relief did not discriminate when they expelled Kimberly from their volunteer training program because she was trans. The court said that Kimberly had suffered no “injury to her dignity” when she was expelled, because “any reasonable transsexual” would know that she shouldn’t go to RR. The court ALSO said that even if they did discriminate, they have a defence because they are a women-only group and groups such as that are allowed to discriminate.

The judgement of the Court of Appeal came down yesterday. They overruled the lower court in one of the two areas. They said that RR DID discriminate against Kimberly (hurrah!!!!). But, they said, as a women’s group RR has the right to discriminate among women. So, for example, they could say ‘we don’t allow native women to work here’ and they would be permitted to do so.

Nixon is requesting leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

 

A Rachel Geise column in the Toronto Star on  Jan. 24 is about the decision released January 17th, when the British Columbia Human Rights tribunal awarded Kimberly Nixon $7,500 in damages, the province's highest award ever for injury to dignity, for being ejected from the training program offered by Rape Relief, a woman's crisis shelter, because she had once been treated as male.  Vancouver Rape Relief has successfully appealed this decision.

December 20, 2003

"There have always been setbacks on the road to equality," said Kimberly Nixon, commenting on Friday's decision by the B.C. Supreme Court that Rape Relief is not required to permit transsexual women to volunteer with their organization. "We will of course appeal, and we expect to be successful at the end of the day."

This decision is the third in a saga which began when Nixon filed a human rights complaint against Rape Relief in 1995. Though the organization had prescreened Nixon and invited her to participate in their volunteer training course, she was later expelled from the training because of the facilitators' prejudice against transsexual women.

Rape Relief went to B.C. Supreme Court to argue that transgendered people have no human rights in B.C. because protection from discrimination on the basis of 'sex' was intended only to protect women from discrimination by men. In ruling against them, the court said, "human rights legislation is intended to preclude and rectify the wrongful oppression of the weak by the strong and of the disadvantaged by the advantaged in society", and referred the matter for hearing by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

In upholding Nixon's complaint and making the highest damages award in B.C. history, the tribunal noted that Rape Relief's own expert had conceded that some transsexual women would be appropriate as peer counselors in women's centres. The point of human rights legislation is to require that a person be assessed on her own merits, rather on the basis of stereotypes, the tribunal held.

Rape Relief then initiated another judicial review. In its decision released December 19, the court accepted Rape Relief's argument that the law which applies to human rights cases has been changed. Instead of being able to prove a 'prima facie' case of discrimination, after which the burden to disprove discrimination shifts to the appellant, the court held that a complainant must prove all of the elements of discrimination.

Said barbara findlay, Nixon's lawyer, "The effect of the judgement is to eviscerate human rights protections across the country, for all peoples. Applicants who are discriminated against in hiring, for example, do not have the ability to prove that the employer chose someone less qualified". Findlay noted that the consequences of the decision are especially grave in light of the elimination last year of the B.C. Human Rights Commission, a body whose role had been to investigate the facts of a complaint. "Everyone who is discriminated against is affected by this decision," said findlay. "We are appealing the decision to the Court of Appeal, and we have already been contacted by concerned human rights groups wanting to intervene."

Because Nixon will have to pay thousands of dollars to pay for transcripts to go to the Court of Appeal, a Kimberly Nixon Defence Fund has been established. Send donations c/o The Law Office of barbara findlay, QC 635-1033 Davie, Vancouver BC V6E 1M7, made out to "Kimberly Nixon Defence Fund".

Full decision available at: www.barbarafindlay.com then click news.

 

Paul Gallant wrote a piece in the Xtra! of July 24th about Micheline Montreuil's case against the National Bank of Canada where she was denied employment will be heard by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on Aug. 18th. The National Bank lawyers are trying to use the fact that Micheline is not surgery track to claim she shouldn't be protected.

Micheline Montreuil wins the right to use her name in Quebec finally!

On Thursday, November 7, 2002, a date that will stay in the memory of all transgenders, transexuals and transvestite of the Province of Quebec, on the battlefields of Quebec city, has fallen down the Dictator of civil status when the Court of Appeal has ruled in my (Micheline's) favor and has ordered to the Registrar of civil status to add the first name of "Micheline" on my birth certificate. It is the end of a long battle of 5 years and two months that forced me to go up to the Supreme Court of Canada and now, it is over.

Now, the principle is firmly established that it is possible for a transgender or a transvestite to change her name or his name just by using it on a certain period of time without having a sex change surgery. I think that this is also the end of the Dictator of civil status who will be now only the Registrar of civil status. It is the return of the law and of justice So, from now, I am officially Micheline Montreuil and nobody will be able to strip me the name of Micheline.

Now, I will continue my other battles. . . . I have updated my website http://www.micheline.ca/. However, if you are able to read French, the French part is more interesting because the judgment has been written in French and you have a direct acces to these judgment in clicking on the number of the case.

Thank you again for your support.

Micheline micheline@micheline.ca

Surgery Available For Prisoners

After a Canadian Human Rights Commission tribunal, the B.C. Corrections Service listens to doctors about the appropriate treatments for transsexuality.  A Toronto transsexual, now serving time in British Columbia for murdering another transsexual, has been granted a sex change operation and relocation into a woman's prison.

Ontario Human Rights Commission have created a Discussion Paper  toward a Commission Policy on Gender Identity.  Because of this, right wing Toronto Sun columnist Michael Coren penned this cruel little article on October 24th, 1999.  It got a lot of letters to the editor, but none better than the Letter of the Day, from Keith C. Norton, Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, also in  the Toronto Sun, Friday, October 29, 1999.

Also on the Ontario Human Rights Commission website is their Policy on Discrimination and Harassment because of Gender Identity.  

City of Toronto includes Gender Identity in the City of Toronto Human Rights and Harassment Policy and the Task Force on Community Access and Equity's policy advisory committees include Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Issues.

For information or complaints about Human Rights issues within the City of Toronto contact: City of Toronto Human Rights Office Grace Shore (416) 392-8383 Monica Edwards (416) 392-8827 or Dale Dreher (416) 392-5137 Fax (416) 392-3920.

Back in February 2001, a  National Post story reports that you might not lose your child due to your sex change! An Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton, ruled "the applicant's transsexuality, in itself, without further evidence, would not constitute a material change in circumstances, nor would it be considered a negative factor in custody determination."

Soon after that story, CFRB's Randy Taylor radio program was so offensive as to warrant a CRTC complaint. Click here to read about it as told by the people involved.  Contrary to an article in Xtra!, the manager of the radio station did not apologize, he was sorry the comments weren't taken the "right way", they admitted no responsibility nor did they take it seriously.  Shame on them.

Transman Wins Sex Change on Quebec Birth Certificate.  After a long legal battle, on March 3rd, the Director of Civil Status finally allowed the change of designation of sex for female to males who have had hormonal therapy, mastectomy, and a complete hysterectomy.  Previously, the Name Change Bureau said that a vaginectomy would be required before a gender change could be legally recognized. Several experts and surgeons in the field of transsexuality intervened, and the Bureau withdrew this demand - only to insist upon the need for the « construction of male sex organs » a full ten months later!  Currently the more reasonable requests of hormones, mastectomy and hysterectomy are all that is needed.

Nurse Michelle Gauthier is launching a class-action lawsuit against Quebec Medicare for the cost of sex-change operations on behalf of 1,000 Quebecois rejected for publicly financed surgery.

Canadian Transexuals Fight For Rights Position on the May 16 Police Strip Search Ontario H.R. Tribunal Ruling

CTFFR believes there was never a doubt that the police, in this case, would be found guilty of discrimination.

However pleased we might be that the Peel Police Force acknowledged wrong doing by discriminating against another, we feel concern, regarding the wording of the decision, is warranted.

Transex and intersex people are amongst the highest of discriminated people in Canada and slowly those communities are gaining basic human rights through court cases, such as the Region of Peel case and others, as well as through workshops used to help educate people and organizations.

It is unfortunate that Vice Chair Ross Hendricks felt it fair to allow police to interrogate intersex and transex detainees by way of very personal questions, which we feel no other minority or person with a medical condition would be forced to answer. One such question asks for the name of the person's doctor and what credentials that doctor has. We wonder, is there a right answer to these questions, does a person not retain the right to remain silent and not answer questions when arreasted?

Ross Hendriks allows the police force to continue refusing that transex or intersex detainee the dignity and respect to be searched in the manner according to their core gender identity by using the wording, "Where the officer continues to have serious reason to doubt the detainee's self identification, the officer shall defer to the Officer-in-Charge of the Division for final determination." That is in contradiction to several expert witnesses who testified, not to mention the Commission's own policy against discrimination due to Gender Identity. http://www.ohrc.on.ca/english/news/e_pr_gender.shtml

We are also concerned this could also mean an intersex or transex person could be confronted, as they exit a public washroom, and also be required to answer the same questions or fear arrest and further humiliation and abuse.

We have learned much, about the process and workings of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and Tribunal system, we hope the greater human community will also begin their learning process on intersex and transex peoples.


Maureen Somers / Media Contact
Canadian Transexuals Fight For Rights
www.ctffr.org

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Commission Wins An Important Victory For Transsexual Persons In Ontario

Toronto – A decision concerning the treatment of transsexual persons detained by police was issued by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario on Tuesday, May 16, 2006. The complainant’s case was referred and argued by the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

The complaint centered on the treatment of a transsexual woman who was strip-searched by Peel Police on several separate occasions. The complainant, a pre-operative transsexual woman, alleged that she repeatedly asked to have female officers conduct these searches, but that her requests were denied. Peel Police policy at the time required a male officer be involved in the search because the complainant had not yet had sex reassignment surgery.

Finding the previous policy discriminatory, the Tribunal ordered that a transsexual detainee who is going to be strip-searched must be given three options: the use of male officers only; the use of female officers only; or a split search involving both.

The Tribunal provided direction on how such searches should be conducted, including a requirement that the officer-in-charge be informed and authorize the strip search. Direction was also given on how to resolve the situation where an officer has serious reason to doubt a detainee’s self-identification as a transsexual person. The Tribunal order states that officers are not allowed to “opt out” of performing strip-searches of a transsexual person except in limited circumstances where the officer has significant Human Rights Code or Charter of Rights and Freedoms interests of his or her own to protect. Finally, the order requires Peel Police to produce a training video on transsexuality for all members of its force, in conjunction with experts, and with input from the transsexual community. The Commission must approve the video prior to its release.

“This precedent-setting decision recognizes that transsexual individuals are full and equal members of society who must be accorded respect, dignity and freedom from discrimination,” remarked Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall.

In cases where a complaint has been filed and no settlement is reached, the Ontario Human Rights Commission makes a decision based on its investigation and written submissions from the parties. When there is sufficient evidence to warrant a hearing it will refer complaints to the Human Rights Tribunal. For the year ending March 31, 2006, the Commission referred 143 complaints to the Tribunal. The Commission sent an additional 27 cases to the Tribunal after reconsideration of a previous decision.

Afroze Edwards
Sr. Communications Officer
Policy and Education Branch
(416) 314-4528


Jeff Poirier
Manager, Communications
Policy and Education Branch
(416) 314-4539

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Rosalyn, the brave trans woman who wouldn't put up with this tells us about the results:

 

Last week I received a copy of the Tribunal Ruling of Vice Chair Ross Hendriks, in the Peel Police Case.

Now many will say I should be happy with the ruling because it does indeed say I was discriminated against and that the police need to change their policy.
Here is why I am not so happy.

As many of you know last year the police created a proposed policy for the care and control of transex and intersex persons.
In their policy the police mention that they wanted to add as part of their policy personal questions that the transex or intersex individual would have to answer in order to be treated as the gender they know themselves to be.
These questions were suppose to rule out those who are not transex or intersex that just wanted to play with the system. You will recall I mentioned their example of the 6 foot 5 biker who now says he is a woman just to have a woman do the search.

In the closing submissions I, both wrote and spoke, about why such questions should not be asked.
I pointed out that many other groups, and used the Peel Police Forces own policy on the care and control of Sheiks, are not forced to answer similar questions in order to be treated as such.
I also pointed out that one's medical information, such as doctor, was privileged information and even if one did tell the police who their doctor was a doctor would never confirm either way if that was the case.

In the end the chair decided on the allowing of certain questions, if " the officer has serious reason to doubt a detainee's self identification......"

Those questions are:

What name appears on your identity papers?

What is your gender identity?

Have you disclosed your G.I. to family and or friends?

What steps are you taking to live full time in a manner consistent with you G.I.? How can you demonstrate that you are living full time in your G.I. ?

Have you sought or are you seeking medical or professional guidance from a qualified professional? If so, can you give the name/s of these people and their professional designations?

What medical steps, if any, have you taken to help your body match your G.I.?

And at the end should the cop still not believe the person the cop in charge then gets to make the call on if you are or are not.

The only part, some of you might remember, that was also of concern that the chair agreed with is the cops can not do is to opt out of the process, as the police union and force had requested. In other words the cop, once the person has allocated who they wish to do the search, can not ask to be excused from doing so.

The questions are problematic in for many reasons, some being;

Many transex and intersex people have not as of yet had their documents corrected for various reasons, some of those reasons being financial or just personal( one has not come out at work or to family/friends) still others may never intend to change their name, maybe their name is neutral.

Now I think the question about what is one's G.I. ( gender identity) is a moot question and makes no sense being there since the person is now being asked those questions because of disclosure.

I find myself wondering whose business it is whether one has come out to family, friends or work. This is one of those questions that now gives the cops new leverage over a person not yet out to everyone. What are the cops going to do call and confirm this?

What steps....... Once again it's a misleading question which then the person is required to give personal information about one's life that seemly no one else would have to do in order to be respected. I will remind you here that I have seen the policy and have a copy of the Sheik policy. How does a gay person answer what steps have you taken? Is reading up enough for the cops, or do they want more?
Then they ask how you can demonstrate it for them. The answer might be yes, if you follow me around in my life for a day or a week.

What professional are you seeing? If a person with HIV enters and tells them they are HIV positive, I some how suspect they won't ask them to prove it.
If a person says they are diabetic, again they won't be made to prove it on the spot. The person will be taken at face value and, as is already within the cell sheet, asked what medications they are on?
I'm also concerned about asking the professional designation of whoever is seeing you. That suggest the police could then create a list of professionals that would be the right answer. A highly knowledgeable M.D.
might not cut it as far as they are concerned.
And how does asking prove anything since the person could say any doctor, that doctor would never answer the police one way or another.

The medical steps also concerns me in the same way. In our community we have people called non ops, or people who will not be having surgery for whatever reason, be it medical, religious or just their personal preference.
The same goes for medications. But lets say the person is planning on medication, that does not happen right away, as such if you happen to end up in their hands at the wrong time.......

Now as I mentioned before, the Ruling says even after, that person might be out of luck. The cop might not like the answers as such they pass it on to the cop in charge and usually it's a rubber stamp, you're screwed process.

No where in the ruling does it require the cop to write up why they felt the need to ask these questions. No where does it say what did not satisfy the cop or the cop in charge.

The ruling, though a long time coming where a policy was made to be put in place, leaves too many openings for the bigoted cops I know are out there still working to squirm through.

There is much more in the Ruling I have questions about, and I am concerned about but that is a basic highlight at this moment.

Once again I thank very much those people who helped me in various ways, through this case.

Rosalyn