OTTAWA, June 26 ( – A review panel commissioned by Justice Minister Anne McLellan to review the Canadian Human Rights Act and the policies and practices of the Canadian Human Rights Commission released its report last week. The four-member panel submitted a 180-page report calling for an expansion of the role of the controversial human rights commission and tribunal.

The report, entitled Promoting Equality: A New Vision, makes 165 recommendations. One such demand is that the government introduce a new category of special rights – transvestites and those who have undergone sex change procedures. “We recommend that gender identity be added to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Act,” says recommendation #123. Another suggestion urged by the National Action Committee on the Status of Women and by Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere is to give the commission a much more pro-active role by having it address so-called “systemic discrimination” rather than limiting itself to individual cases of complaint.

“This new commission would concentrate more on policy development, rule making, special inquiries, employments equity, education and promotion,” said former Supreme Court Judge Mr.  Gerard La Forest. The National Post reports that the revamped commission would consist of three full-time commissioners and an advisory council of 12 members reflecting “diversity.”

The panel also recommended opening the Human Rights Act to review every five years to allow for the inclusion of other grounds for discrimination.


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