LGBTQ+ Newcomers: Your Rights

Matthew Henry / Burst

The rights of LGBTQ+ persons* are very different from one country to another, so you might have lots of questions when you move to a new place. This article discusses the basic rights of LGBTQ+ persons in Canada, and in Quebec.

*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.

 

Do you have to declare your sexual orientation?

No Quebec law forces you to declare your sexual orientation, to

  • your employer,
  • your landlord, or
  • the government, such as immigration services.

Important: If you’re asking for refugee status because your sexual orientation puts your life in danger in your country, you might have to declare your sexual orientation. In this case, immigration services need to know why you’re asking for refugee status.

 

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Do you have to hide your sexual orientation?

In Quebec, sexual orientation is part of a person’s private life. You don’t have to tell anyone about it, or keep it a secret. It’s your decision whether to tell others.

Quebec laws can’t protect you from rejection by family members or your religious community, but it can protect you in some areas of your life, such as work and housing.  

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Are you protected against discrimination?

In Quebec, you’re not allowed to be treated differently because of your ethnic origin, sex, religion, language, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. These are called prohibited grounds of discrimination, and they’re listed in Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

For example, an employer can’t refuse to hire you because you’re gay. Also, your employer can’t fire you or harass you psychologically because you’re gay. And a landlord can’t refuse to rent you an apartment for this reason.  

These actions can be punished by law, and there are solutions for victims of discrimination who want to report what happened.

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Are you protected against violence?

Many provincial and federal laws protect individuals from violence. For example, the Criminal Code defines different crimes and their punishments. Hate propaganda, promoting genocide and inciting the public to hate an identifiable group are not allowed and are considered crimes.

An identifiable group is a group of people who can be distinguished based on ethnic origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

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To learn more about the rights of LGBTQ+ persons in Quebec, refer to our web guide.

Important !
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.