Seeking Justice and Belonging: The Complexity of Identity

AuthorColleen Sheppard
Seeking Juice and Belonging:
The Complexity of Identity
   emerge in a social vacuum. Legal protections are
usually the product of signif‌icant social struggles by groups that have
been wronged and are seeking legal redress for those wrongs. In the
Canadian context, the f‌irst anti-discrimination laws were aimed at
prohibiting overt exclusions based on race, national or ethnic origin,
sex, and religion in employment, education, and housing. But laws
crafted to address specif‌ic problems of discrimination may not be
capable of responding to new or previously unacknowledged forms
of discrimination. Therefore, a second wave of anti-discrimination
reform was necessary to add new grounds, such as sexual orientation,
disability, family status, and pregnancy, as well as explicit prohibi-
tions of grounds-based harassment.1 A few jurisdictions have added
the grounds of social condition and being in receipt of social assist-
ance to address poverty and economic disadvantage.2 Most recently,
gender identity and expression and genetic-based discrimination
have been the focus of human rights reform.3 Accordingly, one of the
most important and dynamic developments in anti-discrimination
law has been the expansion of anti-discrimination protections to
recognize additional grounds of discrimination.

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