HALIFAX, Nov. 21, 2012 ( – As Canada’s Parliament debates what pro-family organizations have dubbed the ‘Bathroom Bill’, Nova Scotia’s government has proposed its own version of the controversial legislation that would institute human rights protections for people struggling with “gender identity” issues.

Bill 140 seeks to add “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act. It was introduced on Tuesday by Ross Landry, Justice Minister for Premier Darrell Dexter’s New Democratic Party.

The measure is likely to pass as the New Democrats hold a majority, with 31 of the 52 seats in the NS House of Assembly. However, an election is expected to be called sometime in the next 18 months.


Pro-family leaders have warned that such bills have unpredictable and potentially disastrous effects. In particular they say that it risks increasing the likelihood of bathroom attacks against women and children because it will make it easier for men to use women’s washrooms so long as they say they are women.

They have also expressed concern that the bill normalizes gender confusion, which many experts recognize as a mental illness, and would make it harder for both children and adults who struggle with gender identity disorder to obtain treatment.

If it passes, Nova Scotia would be the fourth Canadian jurisdiction to institute such protections. As it stands, similar bills have passed in Ontario, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories. A federal version to amend the Canada Human Rights Act passed the House of Commons in 2011 with Conservative support, but died in the Senate when the May 2011 election was called. Another one is currently undergoing second reading.

Landry says the bill is essential to promote respect for transgendered people.

“We’ve heard stories about people of transgender going in and trying to get an apartment or get a place to live and have been shunned away. It’s negative, hurtful and shameful in a society in which that occurs,” said Landry.

In Nova Scotia, the bill was promoted by the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project (NSRAP), which presented a petition of 1,700 signatures to the provincial government on Nov. 15th.

NSRAP’s chair Kevin Kindred says passing the bill would largely have symbolic value because issues related to “gender identity” have already been handled as sexual discrimination at Nova Scotia’s Human Rights Commission.

“It’s not necessarily creating new rights, but it’s creating a new understanding that discrimination against transgender people is covered by the Act,” Kindred said, according to the Canadian Press.

Pro-family groups have also pointed out that under such legislation government could be required to pay for sex-change operations, and businesses could be obliged to hire transsexuals or install washrooms to accommodate cross-dressers.

Additionally, they say these bills bolster efforts by homosexual activist groups to discuss “gender identity” issues in grades as young as kindergarten.

Contact information:

Justice Minister Ross Landry
Phone: (902) 752-7677
Fax: (902) 752-7922
E-mail: [email protected]

Premier Darrell Dexter
Telephone: 902-424-6600
Fax: 902-424-7648
Toll-free Message Line: 1-800-267-1993
E-mail Address: [email protected]

Stephen McNeil, Liberal Leader
Phone: (902) 825-2093
Toll Free: 1-800-317-8533
Fax: 825-6306
E-mail: [email protected]

Jamie Baillie, Progressive Conservative Leader
Phone: (902) 597-1998
E-mail: [email protected]

Find contact information for all Members of the Legislative Assembly.