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Stay the adoption of Bill C-16

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Stay the adoption of Bill C-16

The notion of gender encompasses a set of stereotypes assigned to women and men by society. Legalizing this definition of “gender” is to give up on fighting stereotypes and to hinder the progression for women’s equality.

The idea that gender is something internal, innate, or chosen — expressed through superficial and stereotypical means like hairstyles, clothing, or body language — is deeply regressive.”  (Meghan Murphy, National Observer, 25 October 2016)

Protections for women are at risk due to these proposed changes. It is the Government’s responsibility to safeguard these rights and protections.

This is why we are asking the Government of Canada and the House of Commons to stay the study and adoption of Bill C-16.


•     The House of Commons is studying Bill C-16, an Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code,

•     The Government intends to insert the notion of “gender identity" and "gender expression" into the Criminal Code,

•     The Act  will add a new identifiable group to the Criminal Code, described as “distinguished by gender identity or expression”,

•     There is no definition of  either "gender expression" or "gender identity,"

•     The words “gender” and “sex” are conflated,

•     It is impossible to verify a gender identity, as it is considered simply a feeling,

•     Feminist research has demonstrated that gender is a social construct founded on stereotypes of what it means to be a girl, a boy, a woman, or a man,

•     There have been no sex-differentiated studies of the  consequences of adopting this concept of gender identity,

•     The recognition of gender identity dissolves all recognition of rights and protections put in place on the basis of sex and sex-based discrimination, such as battered women’s shelters, prisons and other detention facilities, and programs encouraging fair access to sport teams and equipment.


•     this law will have further negative impacts on freedom of speech, as Canadians do not fully understand the distinction between gender identity and gender expression and biological sex, and have not engaged in a productive or thorough debate,

•     many feminists and progressives have already been censored and seen a loss of freedom of speech,

•     the government was previously committed to protecting women’s rights, in matters of equality and security, based on the understanding that women are discriminated against due to their biological sex, not their gender identity or expression,

•     there are different consequences for both sexes in recognizing and legislating around gender identity,

We the undersigned ask that the Government of Canada and the House of Commons, in accordance with these institutions’ commitments to this matter, stay the readings and adoption of this Act until Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) studies have assessed the impacts of such legislative changes.

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