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A bill introduced in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario would prohibit acts of intimidation against LGBTQ+ people within 100 meters, or 328 feet, of temporarily designated safety zones.
Unless the bill becomes a legislative priority for the Progressive Conservative Party, the majority party that controls the agenda, it is unlikely to pass before the legislative session ends.
Lawmakers in Canada recently introduced a bill to bolster protections around LGBTQ+ community spaces, particularly drag performances. But some social media users have exaggerated the legislation’s scope.
An April 5 Facebook post shared a 30-second clip of Kristyn Wong-Tam, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, talking about the bill. Text above the post read: "Canada just made it illegal to protest against the LGBT!"
The post’s caption said, "America will become this very soon if we continue to let woke agendas win."
This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
A bill addressing LGBTQ+ protests in Ontario, Canada, has not been enacted into law and would not affect all of Canada, as the Facebook post suggests. It was introduced April 4 in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. The bill is in the legislative process’s first stage, so it has not been debated, reviewed by a committee or voted on, as of April 12.
If passed, the bill would establish temporary community safety zones for LGBTQ+ people. The bill, titled "Keeping 2SLGBTQI+ Communities Safe Act," refers to people who are two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex or other sexual or gender minorities. Two-spirit, as defined by GLAAD, is used by some Indigenous or First Nations people to refer to people who are not straight or cisgender. GLAAD, formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, is a nonprofit group working to counter discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in the media.
"Acts of intimidation" would be prohibited within 100 meters, or 328 feet, of a designated safety zone, such as a drag show venue.
"Acts of intimidation," according to the bill text, include threats, homophobic or transphobic demonstrations or distribution of hate propaganda. The bill would not prevent peaceful protests.
The bills’ sponsors said they introduced the measure to protect people against hate crimes in Canada. The number of police-reported hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation rose to 423 incidents in 2021, up 64% from the previous year, Statistics Canada, a government agency, reported.
If the Ontario bill became law, violators could be fined up to $25,000.
However, Canadian politics and law experts said the bill is unlikely to pass.
Wong-Tam and three other members of the New Democratic Party put forth the bill as a private member’s public bill, meaning it was introduced on behalf of the members, and not the government.
Most private members’ public bills do not become law, experts told PolitiFact.
Similarly to the legislative process in the U.S., legislation in Canada proceeds through stages: first reading, second reading, review by committee, third reading and final approval by the lieutenant governor.
"It requires agenda control to get a bill through all these stages. Unless a bill is given sufficient priority, it can ‘die on the floor’ at the end of a parliamentary session, even if the government party doesn’t vote against it," said Christopher Cochrane, an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto.
The New Democratic Party is a minority party in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. The Progressive Conservative Party holds a considerable majority and controls the legislative agenda. Unless the bill becomes a legislative priority for the majority, it is unlikely to pass before the legislative session ends.
A Facebook post claimed that "Canada just made it illegal to protest against the LGBT!"
If passed, the bill in question would prohibit acts of intimidation within 100 meters of temporarily designated safety zones for LGBTQ+ people in Ontario. The bill would not prevent peaceful protests.
The bill was recently introduced in the Ontario legislature and has not advanced past the first legislative stage. Experts also said the measure is unlikely to pass because the sponsors are in the minority party.
We rate this claim False.
Facebook post, April 5, 2023
Email interview with Christopher Cochrane, associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto, April 11, 2023
Email interview with Eric Merkley, assistant professor of political science at the University of Toronto, April 11, 2023
Email interview with Brenda Cossman, law professor at the University of Toronto, April 11, 2023
Legislative Assembly of Ontario, "Bill 94, Keeping 2SLGBTQI+ Communities Safe Act, 2023," accessed April 11, 2023
New Democratic Party of Ontario, "Drag artists support Wong-Tam's legislation to protect 2SLGBTQI+ communities from rising hate crimes," April 4, 2023
Legislative Assembly of Ontario, "Party Members," accessed April 11, 2023
Legislative Assembly of Ontario, "How an Ontario Bill Becomes Law," June 2022
Government of Canada, "2SLGBTQI+ terminology – Glossary and common acronyms," Aug. 28, 2022
Statistics Canada, "Police-reported hate crime, 2021," March 22, 2023
GLAAD, "Glossary of Terms: LGBTQ," accessed April 12, 2023
FactCheck.org, "Posts Make Misleading Claims About Bill to Protect LGBTQ+ Events in Ontario," April 10, 2023
The Associated Press, "Posts distort proposed LGBTQ ‘safety zone’ bill in Canada," April 10, 2023
CBC, "Ontario NDP urges legal protections for drag shows," April 4, 2023
CTV News, "Ontario NDP urges legal protections for drag performances," April 4, 2023
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