Fredericton, NB — Postsecondary students in the province are welcoming the successful passage of Bill C-16 through the Senate of Canada.
Similar to changes made to the New Brunswick Human Rights Act, the bill will amend both the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act to include protections against discrimination and hate crimes on the basis of gender and gender discrimination.
The New Brunswick Student Alliance had written public letters to the province’s senators in Ottawa, urging them to support Bill C-16. The bill now awaits Royal Assent to become law later this month.
“The adoption of Bill C-16 sends a powerful message to the youth of New Brunswick and, indeed, across the country,” said Sara Camus, Chair of the NBSA’s Board of Directors. “It also says to our members that even in the face of all the hate in this world, they are loved and valued and their dignity is inviolable and will be enshrined in law.”
Since last fall, the Alliance has also been talking to university administrations, along with the Human Rights Commission and the Government of New Brunswick on the need for more protections for students on the basis of gender. In its annual advocacy document, released in November 2016, the Alliance urged the Government to eliminate barriers for gender neutral bathrooms at postsecondary institutions.
Robert Burroughs, the Alliance’s executive director, added that, “Like other similar discussions in other jurisdictions, this is a fundamental access issue. Our institutions are public spaces and we expect that our members will have access to them and in a way that best serves their individual needs.”
The NBSA continues to seek the elimination of barriers to gender neutral bathrooms on campuses.