Federal transgender inmates to be housed, addressed according to gender identity

OTTAWA — The federal prison system is changing the way it treats transgender inmates, who will now be placed in a men’s or women’s facility based on how they self-identify.

Correctional staff must also address transgender inmates by their preferred name and pronoun and offenders will be allowed to shop for both men’s or women’s items from the correctional service’s approved catalogue, regardless of their anatomy or the gender on their identification documents.

These changes come after the federal government added “gender identity and expression” to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act last June.

“We are overjoyed that (Correctional Service Canada) is making so many positive changes that recognize the human rights of trans people in the correctional system,” said Jennifer Metcalfe, executive director of Prisoners’ Legal Services.

“These changes will improve the safety and dignity of transgender federal offenders in Canada, affecting every aspect of their daily lives.”

Helen Kennedy, executive director of advocacy group Egale Canada, called the reforms a step in the right direction but warned that correctional staff are not properly equipped to accommodate transgender prisoners.

“Unless it’s implemented with the training that’s required for all of those frontline workers, then we could potentially be putting people in harm’s way,” she said.

Jeremy Dias of the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity applauded the government for following through on its earlier commitments but he said he too would like to see more done to keep transgender prisoners safe.

“This is only halfway there,” he said. “In 2018, we have to start thinking of trans and non-binary specific correctional facilities.”

While more needs to be done, it is worth celebrating the progress made in advocating for the rights of transgender people in general in recent history, Dias said.

“There was a time not so long ago where we didn’t think that these sorts of policies and initiatives were even possible.”

Just Posted

Updated: Man posing as U.S. Marine sentenced

Peter Toth pleaded guilty to unlawfully possessing military decorations and documents

Police: Maryland school shooter used his father’s handgun

GREAT MILLS, Md. — A teenager used his father’s legally-owned handgun in… Continue reading

Alberta judge wants changes to how peace officers handle unstable people

CALGARY — An Alberta judge is recommending changes to how peace officers… Continue reading

Art Battle Red Deer to support Women of Excellence Awards

Art Battle Red Deer will be April 6 at the Radisson Hotel

WATCH: Red Deerians can have a say about crime fighting

Municipality will poll citizens about policing priorities

Facebook crisis-management lesson: What not to do

NEW YORK — The crisis-management playbook is pretty simple: Get ahead of… Continue reading

Calgary remains interested in 2026 bid, but awaits word from feds, province

Calgary city council approved a slate of moves towards a possible bid… Continue reading

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to girl, 14, in Canada, police say

American authorities say a 14-year-old girl in Canada has been charged with… Continue reading

Comedian Mike MacDonald remembered for gut-busting mental health advocacy

If laughter is the best medicine, then standup veteran Mike MacDonald was… Continue reading

The Weeknd, Bruno Mars to headline Lollapalooza in Chicago

CHICAGO — The Weeknd, Bruno Mars, Jack White and Arctic Monkeys will… Continue reading

No rest for the retired: Opioid crisis fills empty nests as grandparents step up

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — She is a Newfoundland woman who worked hard… Continue reading

Duclos defends gender-neutral language amid criticism from opposition

MONTREAL — Families Minister Jean-Yves Duclos defended Service Canada’s decision to ask… Continue reading

Lawyer and negotiator: Thomas Molloy is new Saskatchewan lieutenant-governor

REGINA — Lawyer and negotiator Thomas Molloy has been sworn in as… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month