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TORONTO, ON – Members and leaders of Ontario’s largest union will participate in tomorrow’s Trans March in Toronto to push for an end to discrimination against transgender and intersex persons.

“This year we have a big reason to celebrate, with the passing of Toby’s Act. I’m proud of our members and the work they continue to do to end discrimination,” said Fred Hahn, President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario, who will march alongside CUPE members tomorrow. “Our members have been very supportive of Trans rights and as a union we back that conviction with real action.”

Last month all three parties in the legislature finally came together in a historic vote to pass Toby’s Act. The new law amends the Ontario Human Rights Code to include gender identity and gender expression, and makes Ontario the first major jurisdiction in North America to provide human rights protection for transgendered people. It took New Democrat MPP Cheri DiNovo four attempts since 2007 to get this bill passed.

“This historic legislation means future generations of Ontarians will grow up knowing they are protected from discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression,” said Hahn. “It is an important first step to ensuring that all transgender members of our community have equal access to good jobs, housing and protection from harassment. We must continue to build on this success and make sure transgender and intersex people are not only protected by law, but are treated as full and equal members of our communities every day.”

CUPE Ontario has a history of strong support for transgender rights. The union supported member Martine Stonehouse, along with three other transgendered activists, when she took the Ministry of Health to the Human Rights Commission over the delisting of sex-reassignment surgery from OHIP. The tribunal found that their human rights had been violated, and the government was ordered to make restitution to the complainants in different ways, with Stonehouse winning the cost of her surgery.

The union also bargained transition leave for members who transition in the workplace and was the first union to develop a kit of bargaining proposals and tools to assist Locals with support for transgender members.

CUPE Ontario is the province’s largest union. It represents more than 230,000 workers in five main sectors: health care, school boards, municipalities, social services and universities.

WHO: CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn and CUPE members
WHAT: Trans Rally and March
WHERE: Norman Jewison Park, just east of Yonge & Gloucester, Toronto
WHEN: Rally 6:00 p.m.; March 7:30 p.m., Friday, June 29


For more information, please contact:

Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications, 416-576-7316