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Change room complaints spark review of Vernon policies

Mayor Victor Cumming brought up the topic at the Monday, Feb. 12 council meeting

A review of the federal policy for washrooms at Vernon recreation facilities is being reviewed.

City staff will bring a report to council for the next meeting, which will address the impact of Bill C-16, after Mayor Victor Cumming discussed the topic during council inquiries.

Bill C-16 is a law that added gender expression and gender identity as protected grounds to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“I’m wondering if staff can bring back a report to us on what’s happening to our facilities as we have had some complaints about change rooms and washrooms.”

The complaints that Cumming mentioned stem from an alleged incident where young women were exposed to male genitalia in the change room at the Vernon Recreation Centre.

Councillor Kari Gares asked what Recreation Services are specifically doing to address Cummings request.

“Currently, Rec Services has instituted universal change rooms and bathrooms, and the specific aquatic areas have implemented privacy change spaces within the aquatic and gender change rooms,” said Jason Blood, the director of rec services with the city. “Non-gendered bathroom areas within the recreation center lobby have also been created, all to be in compliance with both Bill 27 for the B.C. Humans Rights Act and Bill C-16.”

A report regarding the review of these federal policies will be put forth at the Monday, Feb. 26 council meeting.

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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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