Prime Minister Justin Trudeau intends to introduce legislation by the end of year which will erase the convictions of those who were punished in Canada for sexual activity with a same-sex partner.
Trudeau made the announcement on Parliament Hill at a ceremony where the Pride, Transgender Pride and Canada 150 flags were raised.
“Our government believes in equality and equal treatment for all Canadians,” Trudeau said. “That is why we are moving forward on legislation that makes it possible to erase the convictions of Canadians who were unjustly convicted of a crime – simply for who they were, or who they loved.”
Trudeau said his government also intends to apologize for the historical wrongs committed against gay, lesbian and transgendered Canadians.
The initiative is one of several the Liberal government has made in order to address LGBTQ rights.
Bill C-16 is currently under review in the Senate. The bill would add gender identity and gender expression to the national Human Rights Act and Criminal Code of Canada.
In March, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould proposed legislation to repeal Section 159 of the Criminal Code which “unfairly discriminated against the LGBTQ community.”
MP Randy Boissonnault, Trudeau’s special advisor on LGBTQ issues, said in April the federal government will issue an apology to gay and lesbian Canadians purged from the military and public service because of their sexuality.
“It’s certainly something that’s going to happen in this mandate,” Boissonnault told Global News in an interview. “I know the community is impatient.”
Researchers with the “We Demand an Apology” network estimate thousands of LGBTQ Canadians were kicked out of the military and other national security agencies beginning in the 1950s because their homosexuality was seen as a weakness that could make them vulnerable to the “enemy.”