The Government of Canada is working to address issues that impact Canadians, including federal public servants, who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit (LGBTQ2). This work includes new initiatives to support LGBTQ2 communities and to promote greater diversity and inclusion.
Anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality
The Commemorate Canada program provides funding to national initiatives that are specifically designed to commemorate and celebrate historical figures, places, events, and accomplishments of national significance.
One of these accomplishments is the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1969. In recognition of the national significance of this milestone, the Government of Canada will support the commemoration of its 50th anniversary in 2019 by providing funding for initiatives that increase awareness of the people, actions, and struggles that led to the decriminalization of homosexuality.
Under this program, more than $770,000 will be provided to Egale Canada Human Rights Trust (Egale), a not-for-profit organization that works to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and two-spirit people in Canada and around the world. The funding will be used to support the Legalizing Love: The Road to June 27, 1969 project that will involve a travelling exhibit showcased in 10 cities across Canada, which will highlight queer Canadian history with a focus on pre-colonization to legalization. A bilingual 60-minute documentary – to premier on June 27, 2019 – will also be produced to increase awareness of the people, actions, and struggles that led to the decriminalization of homosexuality.
The Canadian Armed Forces’ Positive Space initiative
The principles of equality and dignity apply to all Canadian Armed Forces personnel, including those who identify as members of LGBTQ2 communities.
In January 2018, the Canadian Armed Forces will launch the Positive Space initiative to promote a safe and inclusive work environment for all, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. It will be a volunteer and peer-based support group for members of the LGBTQ2 communities and allies, allowing them to create networks and seek information and assistance from Positive Space ambassadors.
The Positive Space initiative is another step to reaffirm the Canadian Armed Forces’ commitment to diversity and inclusion. Other steps include the unveiling of the Defence Policy Strong Secure Engaged in June 2017, which includes such initiatives as the appointment of a Diversity Champion, the integration of Gender-Based Analysis Plus in all defence activities, and a new focus on recruiting and retaining diverse populations.
The Canadian Armed Forces also launched its diversity strategy in May 2016, which established a vision, principles, strategic goals, and supportive objectives to create an organization that is operationally effective, diverse, respectful, and inclusive. The strategy includes activities designed to support the organisational changes necessary to integrate diversity in to the Canadian Armed Forces’ core values.
Support for members who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces or the RCMP
The Government of Canada’s campaign of oppression against employees who were members, or suspected members, of LGBTQ2 communities directly impacted military and RCMP personnel who dedicated their lives to defend Canadian values of peace and freedom.
With this formal apology, the Government of Canada understands that members who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces or the RCMP with service-related injuries who identify as members of LGBTQ2 communities will need information about services and supports available to them.
To respond to their needs, we have set up a toll-free number (1-800-487-7797) and a specialized unit to respond to inquiries and expedite any claims for services and supports. The specialized unit will counsel people on the services to which they may be entitled, provide support throughout the application process, and provide referrals to other benefits as applicable.
Support for LGBTQ2 communities
Recognizing the harmful impacts of homophobia, transphobia and biphobia, the Government of Canada is providing $250,000 in funding for projects that will support the anticipated increase in demand for services from LGBTQ2 individuals. Projects can include:
- LGBTQ2 peer conversations about the lived experience of homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia and how to build resiliency within LGBTQ2 communities
- Peer-led crisis support for LGBTQ2 communities
- Community education sessions on the impacts of homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia and how to address them collectively
- Other activities that provide support, information and awareness on LGBTQ2 issues
The funding for these projects will be made available through the Social Development Partnership Program. This program works in partnership with not-for-profit and other organizations to help improve life outcomes for people with disabilities, children and families and other vulnerable populations.