Gender-neutral washrooms recommended for businesses
Education campaign on transgendered issues needed, says Human Rights Commission
P.E.I. businesses are being asked to make sure they aren't discriminating against gender expression.
The P.E.I. Human Rights Commission is launching an education campaign about the right to gender expression. A few months ago gender expression was added to the Human Rights Act as grounds for discrimination.
"Discrimination doesn't happen because of people intending to be malicious or intending to discriminate. It happens because of a lack of understanding," said Brenda Picard, executive director of the P.E.I. Human Rights Commission.
"By educating and encouraging people to learn about these issues, then hopefully some of that discrimination that happens as a result of just lack of knowledge can be reduced."
One example is gendered washrooms, where someone who is transgendered may feel uncomfortable using a male or female washroom. That means a business with gendered washrooms, could face a discrimination complaint.
"This is going to be a bit of a learning curve for all of us," said Kathy Hambly, executive director of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce.
"If you do have a public washroom within your facility, then the idea would be to make that accessible for people who have specific privacy needs."
Hambly said the chamber's online human resources toolkit is being changed to reflect the addition to the Human Rights Act, and the chamber is also speaking with the business community about gender rights.