(Last updated on 5 Sep 2021)
Ongoing research projects that strive to be curated, non-partisan resources for Canadians to navigate our political institutions. Your suggestions and support are very much appreciated in helping us improve our understanding of the matters explored in these e-toolkits.
Research and video production: Sakib Mohammed
Source: Election Canada
How does Canada measure up among countries as a safe place for queer people to be? Let’s consider how Canada’s protections for the queer community compare to those of a country the head of Equality and Non-Discrimination at the UN’s Human Rights Office said in 2017 represented the “gold standard” in the field: Malta.
Malta is a small set of islands in the Mediterranean Sea, with Sicily to the north and Tunisia and Libya to the south. The established religion has been Roman Catholicism for some time, and the reforms passed by previous governments have occasionally brought them into conflict with the church establishment. Before independence, Malta was also subject to British colonial laws that made homosexuality criminal. In the last few decades, however, reformism has overcome the deep streak of traditionalism in Maltese culture and government and the island has become a noteworthy example of modern legal rights and protections for most everyone under the queer umbrella.
Travel journalists Asher and Lyric ranked Canada number one on their list of the safest places for queer travelers to visit in 2022, with Malta checking in at fourth on that list. We’ll see what makes recent reforms in both these countries so significant. But first let’s quickly have a look at the points of comparison.
Note that both countries lag behind in some areas of protection, and neither society is free from queerphobia, discrimination or even violence. Pride should always be a reminder that these gains are fragile, and there’s still much more work to do.
Act No. LV of 2016: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression Act. Third Reading (Parlament ta’ Malta), December 5 2016. https://www.parlament.mt/en/12th-leg/acts-12th/act-lv-of-2016/
ACT No. XI of 2015: Gender Identity, GenderExpression and Sex Characteristics Act, 2015. Presidential Assent (Parlament ta’ Malta), April 14, 2015. https://legislation.mt/eli/act/2015/11/eng/pdf
Arena, J. (2019, September 13). Gay men will be allowed to donate blood as of next week. Times of Malta. https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/gay-men-will-be-allowed-to-donate-blood-as-of-next-week.735101
Assisted Human Reproduction Act (S.C. 2004, c. 2). https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/A-13.4/
Bill C-4: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy). Royal Assent December 8 2021, 44th Parliament, 1st Session. https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/44-1/bill/C-4/royal-assent
Bill C-16: An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code. Royal Assent June 19 2017, 42nd Parliament, 2nd Session. https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/bill/C-16/royal-assent
Canadian Civil Liberties Association. (2015, May 19). Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Change of Name for Trans Persons. Talk Rights. https://ccla.org/get-informed/talk-rights/frequently-asked-questions-regarding-change-of-name-for-trans-persons/
Canadian Civil Liberties Association. (2015, May 19). Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Change of Sex Designation for Trans Persons. Talk Rights. https://ccla.org/get-informed/talk-rights/frequently-asked-questions-regarding-change-of-sex-designation-for-trans-persons/
Douglas v. Canada,  1 F.C. 264. https://web.archive.org/web/20050413142345/http://reports.fja.gc.ca/fc/1993/pub/v1/1993fca0430.html
Fergusson, A., and Fergusson, L. (2022, May 18). The 203 Worst (& Safest) Countries for LGBTQ+ Travel in 2022. Asher and Lyric. https://www.asherfergusson.com/lgbtq-travel-safety/
Government of Malta. (2021). Hormone Therapy. Ministry for Health. https://deputyprimeministercms.gov.mt/en/CMO/transgender-health/Pages/transgender-care/hormone-therapy.aspx
Government of Malta. (2021). Pathology? Ministry for Health. https://deputyprimeministercms.gov.mt/en/CMO/transgender-health/Pages/transgender-care/pathology.aspx
Government of Malta. (2021). Surgery for Trans Men and Non-binary People Assigned Female at Birth. Ministry for Health. https://deputyprimeministercms.gov.mt/en/CMO/transgender-health/Pages/transgender-care/surgery-for-trans-men-and-non-binary-people-assigned-female-at-birth.aspx
Government of Malta. (2021). Surgery for Trans Women and Non-binary People Assigned Male at Birth. Ministry for Health. https://deputyprimeministercms.gov.mt/en/CMO/transgender-health/Pages/transgender-care/surgery-for-trans-women-and-non-binary-people-assigned-male-at-birth.aspx
Government of Yukon. (2021, December 3). New health care policy supports transgender community. https://yukon.ca/en/news/new-health-care-policy-supports-transgender-community
Health Canada. (2022, April 28). Health Canada authorizes Canadian Blood Services’ submission to eliminate donor deferral period for men who have sex with men. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/news/2022/04/health-canada-authorizes-canadian-blood-services-submission-to-eliminate-donor-deferral-period-for-men-who-have-sex-with-men.html
Hurley, M. C. (2003, September 2). Sexual Orientation and Legal Rights. Law and Government Division, Government of Canada Publications. https://publications.gc.ca/collections/Collection-R/LoPBdP/CIR/921-e.htm
Malta Independent. (2010, February 9). AFM denies discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Malta Independent. https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2010-02-09/local-news/AFM-Denies-discrimination-on-basis-of-sexual-orientation-270106
Martin, I. (2017, September 27). Watch: Malta is the 'gold standard' of LGBT reform, says UN equality boss. Times of Malta. https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/malta-is-the-gold-standard-of-lgbt-reform-un-equality-boss.659017
Understanding Statutory Holidays across Canada
Three researchers and Canadian politics super nerds. One meeting. Six hours. And still not entirely sure who gets which days off where. Welcome to our ongoing quest to understand statutory holidays and their observance across Canada.
Federal statutory holidays are pretty clear, and it's well-publicised what holidays are observed for all public employees at the federal, provincial and territorial levels. Other holidays are less obvious, though, as some are observed in some provinces and not others, some are observed on the day itself whereas others cause a long weekend if falling on a weekend, and still others are observed or not based on your collective agreement with your employer or the laws in your jurisdiction. And for part-time employees, especially in retail employment, the situation can be entirely different. Overall, it's a patchwork. We are still trying to put together a streamlined guide so people across the country can know for sure what days they should have off, but it turns out there's no easy answers here. Nonetheless, we'll even find the difficult answers!