1. Prime Minister's Office, Government of Canada, "Prime Minister Announced Special Advisor for LGBTQ2S Issues" (15 November 2016).
2. Ministry of Justice, Government of Canada "Section 159 of the Criminal Code" (15 November 2016)
"How many people lost their jobs as a result of the programs is unclear. A report by the Egale Canada Human Rights Trust, a sexual minority rights group, concluded that the government suspected that about 9,000 public servants were gay. A number of former public servants and members of the military are currently suing the government for compensation."
Following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s expressed intention to review past cases where gay men were convicted of “gross indecency” Egale Canada Human Rights Trust is releasing its Just Society Committee report, reviewing Canada’s criminal justice system and providing recommendations on provisions to the Criminal Code that have a discriminatory effect on LGBTQ2SI Canadians.
The committee asks Prime Minister Trudeau to implement a three stage course of action, to acknowledge the Report’s recommendations by Pride Day on July 3rd with proposed facilitator Frank Iacobucci to identify immediate possible recompenses that could be made to past victims, and to pursue a 12 month plan to rectify LGBTG2SI discriminations embedded within the Criminal Code. There are many different groups affected by discrimination in the Criminal Code, so community consultation is intended to be held at the highest level of importance during this process.
Egale Executive Director Helen Kennedy and constitutional lawyer Douglas Elliott are releasing the report, expressing the critical need for this review. Others directly affected by these persecutions are present to support Kennedy and Elliott in their call for action. Countless Canadians suffered criminal persecution, job-loss, ineligibility for pension, and dishonorable discharge from the military under “gross indecency” charges before homosexual acts were decriminalized in the late 1960s. The Egale Just Society Committee seeks to prevent further injustice from taking place due to human rights infractions against LGBTQ2SI that are inherent within the Canadian Criminal Code.
November 15, 2016 – Ottawa, ON – Department of Justice Canada
Our Government is committed to upholding the right of every individual in Canada to equal protection and equal benefit of the law, without discrimination. This right is guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
As such, today the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould, introduced legislation that would ensure respect for equality rights by repealing section 159 of the Criminal Code.
Under this provision, the age of consent for unmarried persons to engage in anal intercourse is 18 years. The age of consent for any other form of non-exploitive sexual activity is 16. Section 159 makes an exception for consensual anal intercourse between married spouses under the age of 18 if they are of the opposite sex, but not if they are of the same sex.
Several appellate courts have found the provision violates equality rights guaranteed by section 15 of the Charter because consensual anal sex is treated differently than other forms of consensual sexual activity.
Repealing section 159 would prevent charges being laid against persons who engage in non-exploitive, consensual anal intercourse.