Current LGBTQ Rights in Canada

The constitution and law prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, social status, and sexual orientation. Provincial or territorial statutes in three provinces and one territory prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity. The government enforced these laws effectively.

The law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, and the criminal code provides penalties for crimes motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate based on personal characteristics, including sexual orientation. Manitoba and the Northwest Territories prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity, and Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. Birth certificates issued by provinces and territories provide the basis of identification for legal documents, and procedures vary for changing legal gender markers to match an individual’s outward appearance or chosen gender expression. Ontario permits individuals to change their gender designation on Ontario birth certificates with written confirmation from a physician that the applicant’s gender identity does not conform to his or her sex designation at birth. In April, British Columbia passed legislation to permit the change of legal gender markers with written confirmation from a physician that the birth registration does not correspond with the applicant’s gender identity and a declaration from the applicant of his or her intent to maintain the gender identity that corresponds with the desired sex designation. Other provinces and territories require one or more physicians to certify that the applicant has completed gender reassignment surgery before an applicant may change the legal gender marker.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organizations operated independently and without restriction. There was no official discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment and occupation, housing, statelessness, or access to education or health care.

There were occasions of violence and abuse against individuals based on sexual orientation, but the government generally implemented the law criminalizing such behavior effectively. NGOs reported that stigma or intimidation was a known or likely factor in the underreporting of incidents of abuse. Some police forces employed LGBT liaison officers, and Toronto police collaborated with community organizations to develop public awareness campaigns to encourage reporting of harassment and abuse. In 2012 the government’s statistical agency reported that 13 percent (185) of police-reported hate crime incidents nationally were motivated by sexual orientation.

Source: U.S. Department of State’s [2014] Human Rights Report


An abbreviation that originated in the 1990s and replaced what was formerly known as “the gay community.” The abbreviation (with many forms) was created to be more inclusive of diverse groups.

Variations of the abbreviation include the following terms:

  • Lesbian: an individual who identifies as female and who is attracted to other females.
  • Gay: an individual who identifies as male and who is attracted to other males. Bisexual: an individual who is attracted to both males and females.
  • Bixsexual: A person who is sexually attracted to both a Man and a Woman
  • Transgender: an umbrella term: in addition to including people whose gender identity is the opposite of their assigned sex (trans men and trans women), it may include people who are not exclusively masculine or feminine.
    • FTM/F2M: Term used to identify a person who was designated as female at birth but currently identifies as a male.
    • MTF/M2F: Term used to identify a person who was designated as male at birth but currently identifies as a female.
  • Queer: an individual who does not identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender but feels more comfortable identifying as ‘queer’, which is commonly thought of as a term that is fluid and inclusive of diverse sexual orientations and/or gender identities.
  • Questioning: an individual who is unsure about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • Pangender: A person who gender identity is comprised of many gender identities and/or expressions.
  • Pansexual: A sexual orientation signifying a person who has potential emotional, physical, and/or sexual attraction to any sex, gender or gender expression.
  • Intersex: A person who’s born with sex chromosomes, external genitalia and.or an internal reproductive system that is not considered “standard” or normative for either male or female sex. Peferred term to hermaphrodite.
  • Intergender: A person who’s gender identity is between genders or a combination of genders
  • Asexual: A person who does not experience sexual attraction or desire to partner for the purposes of sexual simulation.
  • Bigender: A person who identifies as both genders and/or to have a tendency to move between masculine and feminine gender type behavior depending on context.
  • Cisgender: A person who’s gender identity is aligned with what they were designated at birth. Closeted (In the Closet): A person who does not or can not disclose their identity to others

Coming Out:

The process by which one accepts one’s sexuality, gender identiy or intersex status. Designated Sex: The sex one is labeled at birth by a medical/birthing professional

Outing (being outed):

The process where someone discloses a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status without the concerned person’s permission.


An individual who is supportive of the LGBTQ community.

Sexual Orientation:

Is about being physically and emotionally attracted to a particular sex and/or gender, or to more than one.


A term that’s usually used to talk about how a person feels inside. For example, whether they feel like a girl, a boy, neither, both or somewhere in between. The way a person’s gender is expressed can involve things like the name or pronoun they use, the types of clothes they wear, and the activities they like to do.


A term that’s usually used to talk about a person’s biology, or the body they are born with. For example, whether they have male or female body parts.