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Ontario – Backgrounder – Talking about gender identity and gender expression

In 2012, Ontario added the grounds “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the Human Rights Code. The OHRC then moved to update its Policy on discrimination and harassment because of gender identity. In 2012-13, the OHRC did a literature review revealing a wealth of information on how gender identity and human rights is understood from a variety of perspectives. At the same time, human rights law in Canada and internationally has continued to advance understanding and protection of legal rights for trans people.

In 2013, the OHRC hosted an online public consultation survey on policy issues related to gender identity, including use of terminology, types of discrimination trans people experience, and how the OHRC can help organizations understand their Code responsibilities related to these grounds. We received more than 750 responses to the survey from members of the public as well as community services organizations, educators, unions and employers.

OHRC staff also conducted one-on-one interviews with a range of individuals and organizations to explore issues in depth and to identify individuals and groups who could take part in future outreach and education activity.

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