Libby introduced two bills in the House of Commons to change the Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to prohibit discrimination against a person based on their social condition.
Canadian Human Rights Act
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-559, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act (social condition).
This bill would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of social condition. In doing so it would protect from discrimination people who are experiencing social or economic disadvantage, such as adequate housing, homelessness, source of income, occupation, level of education, poverty, or any similar circumstance. As the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation and many other organizations have pointed out, a person’s standing in society is often determined by his or her occupation, income, education level or family background.
As legislators, we know that we must be aware that tools are very much needed to promote and protect the economic and social rights of Canadians. This bill would send an important message to the public that people who are disadvantaged because of their social condition are equally deserving of dignity and protection from discrimination.
I hope that all members of the House will support this bill.
Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-558, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (social condition).
She said: Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to rise in the House today to present this bill. I would like to thank the member for Vancouver Kingsway for seconding this bill.
This bill is very important because it amends provisions of the Criminal Code to establish principles related to sentencing and describe the aggravating circumstances that require increased sentences to be imposed.
The bill requires an increased sentence where there is evidence that the offence was motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate based on social condition of the victim.
This bill is the companion to another bill that I will be introducing on social condition. It is done in recognition that there are people in our society who are disadvantaged because of social condition, because of poverty, homelessness, education and background and that they do face prejudice and discrimination. It is very important that we have the tools to address the reality they face in their daily lives.
I hope that all members will support this bill. This issue has been before the House many times. In fact, there have been many studies on the issue of social condition and how people do not have protection. This bill is aimed at addressing that to ensure there is dignity and respect for people based on social condition.