Lawmakers in the Canadian province of Ontario voted to protect people from discrimination on the grounds of gender identity this week.

The amendment to the Human Rights Code is the first since anti-gay discrimination was implemented in the 1980s, Canadian Press reports.

“Gender identity” and “gender expression” were added to the list of protected characteristics, making it illegal to discriminate against someone in employment, housing or public services because they are transgender.

The move was driveb by New Democrat Cheri DiNovo, who had previously attempted to change the law three times to include transgender protections.

Ms DiNovo told the press: “A long time coming, but it’s a very good day.

“There’s a whole host of things that will be opened up for trans people because of this, and really this recognizes them simply as humans, with all the rights of every other human in Ontario.”

Liberal Yasir Naqvi told the province legislature: “We thought at that time that by just adding ‘sexual orientation’ we were covering all kinds of people, but we recognized soon after that was not the case, that we had excluded members of the trans community.

“Today, we’re taking that very important historic step forward by adding gender identity and gender expression … so that no human being is left outside the scope, the protection, of the Ontario Human Rights Code.”

The province of Manitoba was expected to extend protections to include gender identity this week.

Ontario passed an anti-bullying bill this month which mandates that students will be allowed to form Gay-Straight Alliances in all schools, including those run by the Catholic Church.