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Human rights

Gender identity or expression: prohibited ground of discrimination and harassment | CDPDJ

Gender identity or expression

Gender identity or expression

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You believe you have been a victim of discrimination or harassment based on this ground?

Gender identity or expression is a prohibited ground of discrimination and harassment. This means that you cannot be treated differently because of your gender identity or your gender expression. As well, you cannot be the target of offensive and repeated remarks or behaviour because of your age. These situations are contrary to the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window..

For example, a doctor cannot refuse to examine you or provide you with health care due to your gender identity because you are a trans person.

Nor, can anyone harass or insult you due to how you express your gender by choosing, for example, to wear certain clothes, hairstyle or make-up.


Kim is a member of a fitness club with two locker rooms, one for women and the other for men. The director has forbidden Kim, who is a trans woman, to use the women's locker room because she says she wants to respect the privacy of other women. Instead, the director should have worked with Kim to find a solution that respects her gender identity.

The Charter has always protected trans people, even before gender identity or expression was added to its prohibited grounds of discrimination. The ground of discrimination in these cases was sex, as stated by this judgment of the Human Rights Tribunal.

Please note: These answers are to be used for information purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice.

  1. I am a trans man and my identity papers do not match my appearance. I just signed up for a gym and one of the employees still calls me "miss" and uses my female name in front of other clients. This situation makes me uncomfortable and I asked him to stop. He replied that he had the right to do so since he used the name on my identity papers. Is he right?

    No. The employee must respect the way a person self-identifies, whether gender identity or gender expression. You can inform the gym of your transidentity so that your file mentions that your appearance differs from that of your identity papers.

  2. I am beginning the transition process to be a woman. My employer told me that if I continue this transition, he would fire me. He says he does not want to affect the company’ image. According to him, clients would not trust a representative who is changing his physical appearance. Does he have the right to do that?

    No, This would be a discriminatory dismissal. The employer must, on the contrary, support and accompany the employee during a transition by developing a transition plan, for example.

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This video is not accessible with a reading device

This video presents the advocacy work of Annie Pullen Sansfaçon and her daughter, Olie, for the rights of trans in Québec (French only) Cet hyperlien vous mène vers un site externe qui pourrait présenter des obstacles à l'accessibilité..


Did you know?

Gender identity or expression is the latest prohibited ground of discrimination to be added to the section 10 of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. It came into force on July 10th 2016, when Bill 103: An Act to stenghthen the fight against transphobia and improve the situation of transgender minors in particular  This link will redirect you to an external website which may present barriers to accessibility. was adopted unanimously by the Québec National Assembly.


Related links

See our pages on the following prohibited grounds of discrimination: sex, and sexual orientation and our page on sexual harassment.