After more than a decade of opposition and delays, a bill to protect transgender Canadians was passed on Thursday in the Senate.

Bill C-16 prohibits discrimination against transgender people based on their gender identity and expression.

"No one should be refused a job, disadvantaged in the work place, be unable to access services or be the target of harassment and violence," says federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Ànja Morse was involved in one of the consultation sessions for Bill C-16. Morse says the decision is worth celebrating, but there are still a number of issues facing transgendered people in Nova Scotia.

"Right now we only have access on provincial identification here limited to m's or f's on your driver’s licence or birth certificate, and that's a problem because it doesn't represent everybody," says Morse.

The bill adds gender identity to the Canadian Human Rights Act, meaning it is now a hate crime to discriminate against a Canadian based on their gender.

In 2012, Kate Shewan helped push for legislation to have transgender Nova Scotians recognized under the province's Human Rights Act.

"Since 2012 we've had that protection in Nova Scotia, but I think having that federal recognition will really raise the visibility and awareness of trans issues," says Shewan.

Bill C-16 must still receive royal assent before becoming law.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Allan April.