The Newfoundland and Labrador government has committed to toughening the language in the Human Rights Act to ban discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression.

The changes are intended to ensure that transgender people are not discriminated against.

Justice Minister Darin King said the current version of the act is strong, but could nevertheless use improvement.

Gerry Rogers

St. John's Centre MHA Gerry Rogers has been campaigning for improvements in human rights legislation for two years. (CBC )

"I have every confidence that we have never discriminated based on the absence of this language in the Human Rights Act, but today I believe is a positive step forward in more clearly delineating for people who may be affected by this," King told the legislature Thursday.

St. John's Centre MHA Gerry Rogers has been campaigning for the change since she was elected two years ago.

"It was only last night that I met with two young transgender folks who were saying to me again, 'What can we do, we have to launch another campaign,' " the New Democrat told reporters.

"So this is absolutely wonderful."

In the legislature and speaking with reporters later, King credited Rogers for pushing the issue forward. He noted that other provinces have been making changes to strengthen the language in their human rights laws.

"I just felt it was an appropriate time to move forward with the change. I acknowledge the concerns Ms. Rogers brought forward, and I thank her for that," he said. 

King said he hopes to introduce the changes to the Human Rights Act in the next couple of weeks. 

With files from Peter Cowan