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Canada is not safe from anti-trans hate. When I sent out an opinion article to the Toronto Star, knowing that the status quo is becoming worse, I wasn’t expecting things to go down so quickly. Since I began tracking anti-trans policy and legislation in Canada back in September, things have gone even further south: nationwide anti-trans protests have shaken up the political landscape in this country, forcing politicians to align themselves either as allies, or enemies. People from abroad — including the United States — have written to me, asking me where would it be safest for them to move. Numerous concerned citizens have asked me, dreaming of the safety they, their kids, and their loved ones deserve, what do I do about all of this?

That’s why I’ve decided to follow Erin Reed’s footsteps, and have created (and am maintaining!) an anti-trans legislative and policy risk map for Canada. Without further ado, here you go: 


Some trends can be easily seen here. At the provincial and territorial levels, having a left-leaning government is strongly correlated with a lower risk level, and vice versa. New Brunswick stands out as the only jurisdiction with anti-trans legislation active as of the writing of the October update to this map, but Saskatchewan is quickly catching up with its intention to urgently use the notwithstanding clause.

Before jumping in depth into every province, it’s very important to note that the powers of Canadian provinces are divided between the federal government and provincial governments. For example, criminal law falls solely under federal jurisdiction, while name and gender marker changes, schooling, healthcare, and human rights protections all are of provincial jurisdiction. This has implications, whereas a federal government may freely mow over trans rights by banning gender-affirming care for minors, or even adults; while no matter how hard a province tries, a provincial gender-affirming care ban would be struck down as ultra vires (unconstitutional). 

You might ask me — what about human rights law? What about our Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms? Sure, it will protect us, but there are two major caveats. First, courthouse delays and lack of access to justice for trans people in Canada means that anti-trans policies and laws can stand unchallenged for months, if not years. Affected trans kids, adults, and elders will suffer in the meantime. Second, the Charter can be overridden: a notwithstanding clause can enable a government to storm forwards regardless of human rights concerns. This is exactly why Quebec’s hijab ban (Bill 21) still stands to this day. As such, no Canadian is spared from anti-trans hate until the day it is eradicated. 

In the meantime, let’s look over each Canadian province, one at a time. 


High risk provinces 

Five out of thirteen Canadian jurisdictions, and eleven I have sufficient data on, are ones I’d consider ‘high risk’. This is because of a variety of actions taken by their respective provincial cabinets and prime ministers which all suggest the potential of further harm towards trans people down the line. These are as follows: 

  • Alberta 
  • Manitoba 
  • New Brunswick (anti-trans policy active)
  • Ontario 
  • Saskatchewan (anti-trans law with notwithstanding clause active)

Saskatchewan is by far the worst offender in this list. Its premier, Scott Moe, has invoked the notwithstanding clause, a provision in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that legislatures may invoke to override fundamental human rights, to adopt legislation attacking trans youth’s civil rights. Its legislation, consisting of provisions within its Education Act, bans schools, teachers, and even school mental health professionals (such as psychologists and social workers) from correctly gendering a student, and using a student’s chosen name, without their parent(s)’ consent. The bill which modified the Education Act, Bill 137 (misleadingly named the “Parents’ Bill of Rights”, as if this move confers any rights to parents beyond giving them permission to harm their youth if they turn out to be trans) also grants Saskatchewan’s government immunity from prosecution for any harms which forced misgendering and deadnaming may cause, giving parents the “right” to opt their kids out of sexual education, as well as banning flags from being flown atop of Saskatchewan public schools (albeit mandating the use of Canada and Saskatchewan flags). This move, which has also been used in other Canadian provinces to ban hijab-wearing individuals from teaching at school and to attempt to union-bust, has been widely condemned not only by 2SLGBTQ+ organizations and individuals, but also human rights organizations across the country. By doing so, he and the Saskatchewan Party are going against the whims of parents, experts, the Saskatchewan Children’s Advocate, courts, and of course, trans youth themselves. Considering that, and how quickly (and how with clear malicious intent) the ‘pronoun policy’ was drafted up at the urging of anti-trans groups, it goes without saying that Saskatchewan has the most trans-hostile government in Canada.

New Brunswick remains in this category for obvious reasons: it still has an active policy inhibiting trans youth’s ability to be recognized as who they are in school, without parental consent. Its policy is currently being challenged in court by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, but no injunctive relief has been granted thus far. Don’t expect an injunction before December.

Close behind, Ontario’s Education Minister has announced, during a recent press conference, that parents “must be fully involved” if their child chooses to use a different pronoun at school. The current Ontario government, led by a P.C. majority, is equally responsible for gutting the province’s sexual education curriculum in 2018, and has refused to stand up for trans and non-binary people’s best interests on numerous occasions; they’ve also previously attempted to union-bust using the notwithstanding clause. It’s quite likely that Ontario will follow suit in N.B. and Sask.’s governments’ footsteps in codifying anti-trans policies, and potentially legislation, down the line. For now though, nothing has changed yet.

Finally, even though Alberta’s government itself has not yet dabbled with restricting trans youth’s ability to thrive in schools, it would be a contender for such policies or legislation. Its United Conservative Party’s membership is currently considering some of the worst policies, which include pronoun policies (à la Saskatchewan), throwing trans women into men’s jails (where they are at disproportionately high risk of violence, in particular sexual violence), eliminating all EDI offices from universities and public education institutions, banning affirmative action from public universities, and implementing book bans against a variety of books in schools (which can amount to a de facto 2SLGBTQ+ book ban). Equally, Premier Danielle Smith has been photographed posing beside someone wearing a ‘straight pride’ T-Shirt at an anti-trans protest, has donated at least $60,000 to the far-right Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (Canada’s equivalent of the Alliance Defending Freedom and other far-right ‘legal defense’ groups abroad), and is leading a party whose candidate once compared trans youth to feces in food. No explicitly anti-trans policies nor legislation has been introduced there yet, but the risk remains very much present, especially following the announcement of a policy review regarding 2SLGBTQ+ rights.

Whether  these provinces will attempt to further curtail trans and non-binary youth and adults’ civil liberties beyond schooling remains to be seen. However, with the current climate of imported transphobia from the U.S., U.K., and abroad, it would not be surprising to me if the situation gets worse very quickly. 


Medium-risk province: Québec 

Québec is a particular case. After fending off Quebec Bill 2 two years ago — a bill which initially contained regressive provisions concerning legal gender recognition in its initial form — trans rights were reinforced in the province. This bill was likely the way it was because of the influence of anti-trans ‘feminist’ groups in the province, such as Pour les droits des femmes du Québec (a government-funded non-profit primarily advocating for Bill 21, who the government frequently consults). However, since September, things have soured, as after an unprecedented anti-trans protest, the government has announced the creation of a committee — not necessarily of experts — to discuss gender identity-related issues, despite concern from community members and popular desire not to do so. Quebec premier François Legault’s ‘two sides’ discourse is equally of concern, especially in the face of exponentially increasing hate in said province.

On top of all this, Québec remains particularly regressive in some respects though (notably by being the only Canadian province not having access to X gender markers on provincial ID, and having fought relentlessly in court to prevent X gender marker recognition).

As there’s been no clearly malicious intent to roll back the rights of trans and non-binary people, or obvious buy-in into anti-trans discourse from the Coalition avenir Québec — Quebec’s current majority political party — its risk level shall be maintained at ‘medium’. However, visible risk signs of anti-trans hate in Quebec have definitely increased since September. Its situation will need to be monitored closely.

I would also note that Montréal is known to be safer than the rest of the province for trans people, although it is beginning to change in some other parts of the province. Regional centres, as well as suburban and rural areas, tend to be quite a bit behind policy-wise.

Need help with a name change in Quebec? Check out my Trans ID Clinic! 


Medium-low risk provinces 

Three Canadian provinces can be classified as ‘medium-low risk’ — which, for me, is a neutral rating.

  • Nova Scotia
  • Prince Edward Island 

Nova Scotia isn’t exactly easy to evaluate. There has been positive advances, such as a recent Gender-Affirming Care policy, complete with increased funding for accessing said care. Its premier, Tim Houston, has also reiterated its support for 2SLGBTQI+ communities; its Education Minister has said the same, stating that there’s no intention to . However, the fact that the ruling party — the Progressive Conservative Association of Nova Scotia — has failed to take a decisive stance on trans issues, combined with the fact that they have a crushing lead in polls, prevents me from excluding the risk of a ‘sudden pivot’ towards anti-trans rhetoric, the same way low-risk provinces have done so as of late — preventing me from lowering its risk to ‘low’.

Prince Edward Island has nothing notable rooting for or against it. Recently, its premier made harmful comments on trans issues, but quickly apologized for them after they were made public. Otherwise, nothing of note can be said, hence this neutral rating. It remains to be seen how the PEI PCs will adapt to rising hate, and what direction said party will take.


Low-risk jurisdictions 

Three Canadian jurisdictions can safely be classified as ‘low-risk’. This entails either multipartisan, supermajority support for trans people, or strong political backing in favor of them, to the point where the possibility of any civil rights rollbacks in the medium term is slim to none. These jurisdictions are:

  • British Columbia 
  • Manitoba (risk level decreased)
  • Newfoundland
  • Yukon 

British Columbia (hereinafter B.C.) has been at the political forefront of trans rights in Canada in many respects. Recently, it moved to remove gendered phrasing from its legislation — a Canadian first! — and has removed medical requirements from its name and gender marker change process. Its premier, David Eby, has denounced various instances of anti-trans hate, including one at a track-and-field meet in Kelowna, and one at its Legislative Assembly when the right-wing, 2-seat B.C. Conservative Party MLAs attempted to force open a debate about the teaching of gender identity and sexual orientation in schools. Opposition party B.C. United has too espoused some anti-trans rhetoric, but to a much lesser extent — for example, its leader Kevin Falcon seemed to have turned back on his initial ‘legitimate concerns’ comments regarding the 1 Million March anti-trans protests. Considering the B.C. NDP’s significant lead over opposition B.C. United. it is safe to say that B.C. is safe, at least at the provincial level, for trans people.

As a footnote, I do want to note that Vancouver and Vancouver Island are, generally speaking, safer than the rest of the province for trans people, although housing costs and other systemic factors may preclude that.

Manitoba was classified as ‘high risk’ until the recent elections, where the NDP decisively won, with a majority, over the incumbent Progressive Conservatives. The Manitoba NDP has since shown its commitment towards trans people, Wab Kinew having proven himself regarding his party’s stance on trans rights. It still remains though that Manitoba is the least friendly of all four ‘safe’ provinces in practice for trans people, but in the short to medium term, I don’t expect anything anti-trans to pass at the legislature.

Newfoundland sets itself apart through strong multipartisan support for queer and trans issues. Its opposition conservative party, the Newfoundland and Labrador Progressive Conservatives, have, alongside the N.L. Liberals, denounced the 1 Million March anti-trans protests, and shown solidarity towards 2SLGBTQI+ people. Even though one of the PCs’ leadership hopefuls has openly espoused anti-trans views, this isn’t of concern, since the possibility of a socially conservative majority is, as of the latest update of this article, slim to none — hence this blue rating. I would note that St. John’s is known to be safer than the rest of the province for trans people.

Yukon, as the only territory on this list, stands out for its unmatched publicly insured gender-affirming care coverage. There are many case reports of trans and non-binary Canadians moving to Whitehorse, in part to access said coverage. Yukon equally stands out for its mandate that schools shall have 2SLGBTQI+ safe spaces and/or activities. Overall, it is a relatively safe territory to live in.

Note that I do not have enough data to compile on the Northwest Territories and Nunavut to make a judgment call on them.


Federal law 

With the recent Consercative Party of Canada’s convention, where grassroots motions proposing the criminalization of gender-affirming care and the redefinition of ‘woman’ to exclude trans women were adopted with a supermajority, Canada is unfortunately no longer safe, at the federal level.

The Conservative Party currently is on track to obtain a majority, if there was an election tomorrow. Federal elections will likely occur in mid-to-late 2025, when the four-year electoral cycle begins again. As such, it is a civic duty for all of us to put an end to this hate. The Conservatives could try to introduce and adopt anti-trans legislation, the same way they did for anti-abortion legislation back in the 1990s. We have to watch out, and act: and a good first step would be to tell your close ones to reconsider their votes — that is, at least until the day its party membership rolls back its anti-trans stances (if that ever occurs). After all, no one’s lives and well-being should ever be put on the line for the sake of lower taxes!

To cite Hannah Hodson, ex-Conservative staffer and party candidate: “To all the CPC people who have told me they love me, support me, and would fight for me, and who are now telling me to calm down and just go along with this. Or worse, telling me to stay quiet. I see you and I will not forget.”



A variety of factors, mostly qualitative, have been taken into account in elaborating this map. Any and all anti-trans legislation, policies, and statements are assessed. Risk is also determined according to the party in power in each jurisdiction, opposition parties, said parties’ policy statements regarding trans people and analogous topics (e.g. reproductive justice, sex education), as well as federal and provincial electoral polls. Intention to introduce anti-trans policies or legislation which has a high likelihood of passing legislative scrutiny — for example, a draft policy introduced by a political party holding a majority in provincial parliament — automatically bumps a jurisdiction’s risk to ‘high’, owing to the strong possibility that this leads to further anti-trans government action.

Currently, owing to the broader anti-trans climate in Canada, volatility concerning public and conservative ‘opinions’ on trans people, and a relative lack of concrete anti-trans policies and bills (only two having been introduced so far), it’s harder for me to assess risk quantitatively, or rather with a more formal scoring system. As I become increasingly connected with local activists in every Canadian jurisdiction, and as inevitably more policies and legislation end up being introduced, this map will progressively refine itself.

As a note, the scale I use is different from Erin Reed’s scale for U.S. anti-trans risk. I am trying to assess the risk of regressions for trans people’s civil liberties, both youth and adults’, and not necessarily the risk for a particular type of legislation or policy, or the likelihood that someone ends up being forced to move owing to these.