N.B. introduces changes to Human Rights Act

Discrimination against family status, gender identity or expression will soon become illegal in New Brunswick.

It's among several proposed changes to the Human Rights Act the province says will modernize the act.

Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault said the changes will better reflect today's realities.

"These amendments will help the most vulnerable New Brunswickers have equal opportunities to participate in society and contribute to our economy," Arseneault said in a statement.

Nathalie Chiasson, who chairs the province's Human Rights Commission, also applauded the proposed changes.

"Our society is constantly evolving, and the modernization of New Brunswick’s Human Rights Act is significant for the Human Rights Commission," said Chiasson. "These new measures will enable us to better help New Brunswickers access our services."

Other proposed amendments include:

  • prohibiting discrimination by any person in the workplace;
  • modernizing the definition of mental disability;
  • correcting inconsistencies between English and French versions of the act;
  • providing the commission with additional authority to dismiss a complaint in certain cases;
  • improving the commission's ability to investigate and settle complaints; and
  • aiming to improve the experience of all parties involved in a complaint.

New Brunswick's Human Rights Act has not undergone an extensive review in 25 years.