A new ground of discrimination: gender identity or expression

July 18, 2012

On June 19, 2012, Toby’s Act (Right to be Free from Discrimination and Harassment Because of Gender Identify or Gender Expression), 2012 received royal assent.  Toby’s Act amends the Ontario Human Rights Code to include “gender identify or gender expression” as a prohibited ground of discrimination in employment, services, goods, facilities, contracts,  and vocational associations.

Unfortunately, Toby’s Act did not define gender identify or gender expression.  However, it can be expected that in keeping with the spirit of the Code and its history of application at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, its meaning will be given broad interpretation.

Our views:

When receiving requests for accommodation, employers should be aware that gender identify and gender expression are now protected grounds under human rights law in Ontario.  It would be prudent to review your current policies and procedures to ensure that they are compliant with this new development.

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