LGBTQ+ persons* sometimes face discrimination or harassment because of stereotypes and prejudice against them. Quebec law doesn’t allow these unlawful acts, and there are ways to report them.
*Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer. The “+” refers to other groups sometimes added to the end of the LGBTQ acronym. To better understand the various LGBTQ+ terms, refer to the Egale Canada Human Rights Trust website.
Discrimination means preventing a person from having the same rights or access to the same services as other people because of a personal characteristic like sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
These personal characteristics are called prohibited grounds of discrimination. They can't be used to justify limiting a person’s rights, whether the discrimination comes from another person, a company or the government.
The law also prohibits other grounds of discrimination, such as social condition, ethnic origin, race, age, language and disability.
Harassment is behaviour that threatens another person’s dignity or physical or psychological well-being, such as repeated words or actions that are offensive or hostile toward a person.
Sometimes just one event is considered harassment if it is serious enough to threaten the dignity or health of the victim. Similar actions can also be considered bullying.
Discriminatory harassment is harassment toward another person based on prohibited grounds of discrimination. This behaviour is not allowed, no matter what the situation.
Examples of discrimination and prohibited practices
Work: An employer can’t refuse to hire or promote someone because of personal characteristics, such as the person’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Housing: An owner can’t refuse to sign a lease with a person because of the person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Also, an owner can’t end a lease, discriminate against or harass a tenant for these reasons.
Access to services, transportation and public places: No one can refuse to provide someone with goods or services that are generally available to the public because of the person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Also, discrimination isn’t allowed in how the services are provided.
Similarly, no one can refuse giving someone access to public transit or public places, such as businesses, restaurants, parks, churches, schools and theatres for discriminatory reasons.
Solutions for harassment or discrimination
If you’re the victim of discrimination or discriminatory harassment, there are solutions.
To learn more about the prohibited grounds of discrimination, discriminatory harassment or to file a complaint, visit the website of the Commission des droits de la personne et de la jeunesse [Quebec human rights commission].
For situations involving the federal government or an organization regulated by the federal government (for example, a bank, post office, airline or telecommunications company), you must file your complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.