Federal government invests $100 million to support queer communities…
By Jumol Royes
The Government of Canada is committing to help improve the lives of LGBTQ2+ Canadians with the launch of what it calls a historic action plan to support LGBTQ2+ communities.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled Canada’s first 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan at a news conference in Ottawa last week alongside Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth.
“Canada gets a little bit stronger every day that we choose to embrace and to celebrate who we are, in all our uniqueness,” said Trudeau in a press release issued by his office. “Let us celebrate all the communities that make Canada such a diverse country, and work together to build a better future, with pride.”
The action plan aims to “advance rights” and “improve social, economic and health outcomes” for LGBTQ2+ Canadians by focusing on six priority areas: Prioritize and sustain LGBTQ2+ community action, continue to advance and strengthen LGBTQ2+ rights at home and abroad, support Indigenous LGBTQ2+ resilience and resurgence, engage everyone in Canada in fostering a more inclusive future, strengthen LGBTQ2+ data and evidence-based policy making and embed LGBTQ2+ issues in the work of the Government of Canada.
The plan outlines the federal government’s strategy for spending a five-year, $100 million budget allocation that was previously announced earlier this year.
Up to $75 million is earmarked to support organizations serving diverse LGBTQ2+ communities across the country including: Black, racialized, and Indigenous communities; people with disabilities; seniors; youth; official language minority communities; and rural communities.
The implementation of the action plan will be overseen by the 2SLGBTQI+ Secretariat at a price tag of $11.7 million, while $7.7 million will be used for data collection and community-led policy research to support federal action on LGBTQ2+ issues. An additional $5.6 million will go towards creating a public awareness campaign.
The plan is the result of extensive consultations and research with LGBTQ2+ communities that included a national survey in 2020-2021 that received 25,636 responses.
“Founded on the hard work of community members, organizations, and allies, this action plan will set an example for generations to follow. I can assure you that the work does not end here — we will continue to partner with 2SLGBTQI+ communities and leaders to make sure we’re building a Canada that serves everyone,” pledged Ien.
The government is also adopting and encouraging the use of the 2SLGBTQI+ acronym, “which is more inclusive and places the experiences of Indigenous 2SLGBTQI+ communities at the foreground as the first 2SLGBTQI+ peoples in North America.”
JUMOL ROYES is IN Magazine’s director of communications and community engagement, a GTA-based storyteller and glass-half-full kinda guy. He writes about compassion, community, identity and belonging. His guilty pleasure is watching the Real Housewives. Follow him on Twitter @Jumol and on Instagram @jumolroyes.