Human Rights Code

Proposed Changes to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code Act

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By Melanie Hodges Neufeld

As noted on the Government of Saskatchewan news page, “the proposed Saskatchewan Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2014 will clarify that discrimination against transgender people is and has been against the law, as well as strengthen the rights of renters, regardless of sexual orientation”. While transgender people currently have protection under the Code, gender identity will be added as a prohibited ground of discrimination. The proposed Act will also repeal an exemption that allows landlord’s to refuse a renter based on their sexual orientation if renting a suite attached to the landlord’s own home.  Other changes include:

  • Raising the maximum damages the court can award from $10,000 to $20,000 where a person has wilfully or recklessly violated the Act or the person injured has suffered with respect to dignity;
  • Increasing the maximum fines payable by those convicted of an offence to $10,000 for a first offence and $25,000 for each subsequent offence;
  • Updating provisions that allow the Human Rights Commission to apply for court orders to produce information during an investigation;
  • Making it an offence to interfere with an investigation by the Human Rights Commission; and
  • Amending the Code’s hate speech provisions to remove wording the Supreme Court of Canada struck down.