This morning we received the decision in Oger v Whatcott, a case we started work on almost two years ago.
We are thrilled with the result. Not only is this a win for our client, it is a groundbreaking decision that exhaustively, clearly, and eloquently sets out the enshrinement of trans equality in law.
Here are some of our favourite passages:
 This is a significant time for trans and gender diverse people. Their long fight for equality is bearing some fruit, as society begins to adjust its traditionally static and binary understanding of gender, and its tolerance for people to identify and express their gender authentically. One indicator of this progress is the 2016 amendment to the Code that added the grounds of gender identity and expression.
 However, as this hearing made clear, the journey is far from over. Unlike other groups protected by the Code, transgender people often find their very existence the subject of public debate and condemnation. What flows from this existential denial is, naturally, a view that transpeople are less worthy of dignity, respect, and rights. In the hearing room for this complaint, we were witness to repeated, deliberate, and flagrant attacks on Ms. Oger based on nothing more than a belief that her very existence is an affront.
Those “repeated, deliberate, and flagrant attacks” on our client are described later in the decision. Suffice it to say the hearing was grueling, unpleasant, and sometimes unruly.
…This complaint thus arises in a context where Ms. Oger was seeking to enter a realm where people like her have long been shut out, to the detriment of Canada’s democratic aspirations. Her campaign was watched by transgender people across the province. In large part, the significance of her campaign was not whether or not she won the election, but whether in running she would be treated as a human being equally entitled to dignity and respect. At such a delicate moment, acts like Mr. Whatcott’s Flyer not only send a message to Ms. Oger, but to any other transgender people who may be considering a life in politics. They continue to push the doors of government closed against transgender people, at a time when Canada’s human rights laws, and its commitment to an enriched and diverse democracy, demand they be flung open.
In response to the argument that the hateful flyer contributed to a valuable public debate about the morality and even the reality of being transgender, the Tribunal said:
 I reject this proposition in the strongest possible terms. The question of whether transgender people exist and are entitled to dignity in this province is as valuable to ongoing public debate as whether one race is superior to another. …
 Indeed, the proposition that we should continue to debate and deny the existence of transpeople is at the root of the prejudice and stereotypes that continue to oppress them. It rests on the persistent belief, held by people like Mr. Whatcott, that a person’s genitals are the essential determinant of their sex and, therefore, gender. The result of this belief is to necessarily cast transgender people as either “deceivers or pretenders” … The outcome is to delegitimize transgender people and to cast them as authors of their own misfortune[.]
There is no legitimate public debate about transgender equality. This is a settled question. Transphobes cannot defend themselves by cover of “debate”.
In response to the argument that the hateful flyer engaged the legitimate question of Ms. Oger’s character as a candidate for public office, the Tribunal said:
 … A candidate’s qualification for public office – rightly the subject of open debate – is not measured by their gender identity, any more than it is measured by their race, religion, or disability. In fact, this is the very essence of substantive equality: the right to be measured on one’s true merits and not on qualities arbitrarily attributed to a person based on stereotype and connections with a protected group[.]
The excerpts from Morgane’s testimony about the impact of this discrimination on her are powerful. I won’t reproduce them in full here as they are long but they are at paragraphs 229, 232, 233, and 236. Read them.
One thing we appreciate very much about this decision is the care the Tribunal took to lay out extensive social facts about the discrimination and disadvantage that trans people, and trans women in particular, face in society. This decision sets the foundation for every other trans equality case that will come after it. We are proud to have been a part of making this happen, and very grateful to our client, Morgane, for her courage and tenacity in the face of bigotry and hatred.