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Celebrating Canada's 2SLGBTQI+ Communities

How Businesses Are Becoming More Inclusive With “Rainbow Registered”

Learn more about the national Rainbow Registration accreditation program, which will help 2SLGBTQI+ Canadians and allies find a business that supports the community…

By Courtney Hardwick

A lot goes into running a successful business. In addition to managing finances and day-to-day operations, keeping customers coming back is all about building and marketing a brand that people want to support. Part of that is having a plan for how to handle a wide range of situations, including some that may be unique to customers and employees who belong to the 2SLGBTQI+ community. 

Rainbow Registered is a national accreditation from Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) designed to let 2SLGBTQI+ customers know that a business has gone the extra mile to make sure they feel safe, welcomed and accepted. When a business earns a Rainbow Registered accreditation, it means it has met a stringent set of standards that assess how a business deals with negative customer experiences, welcomes 2SLGBTQI+ employees and customers, conducts staff training, maintains inclusive leadership practices and fosters an overall culture of inclusivity. 

Many businesses are building out their diversity and inclusion efforts internally, or may even have an unwritten set of standards that aren’t necessarily available to the public. But as customers become more discerning about the businesses they choose to support, an official accreditation like Rainbow Registered can provide proof that a business not only talks the talk but also walks the walk when it comes to prioritizing the needs of the 2SLGBTQI+ community. 

Rainbow Registered has developed a robust assessment process to determine whether a business qualifies for the prestigious designation. Assessors are looking for evidence that a business respects the fundamental rights and dignities of all people, fosters greater diversity and inclusion in Canada’s economy, and conducts operations with honesty, integrity and fairness. 

In order to fairly and thoroughly assess all types of businesses, big and small, research goes beyond formal documentation. Assessors will also consider media articles, customer reviews and statements from community partners, and conduct in-depth interviews with the owners, managers and employees, to get a clear picture. For applicants, the key is being able to demonstrate how inclusivity policies come to life and impact the 2SLGBTQI+ community in real time. Since no two businesses are alike, the assessment process aims to be flexible and open-minded. 

Once accredited, businesses can continue the process and deepen their inclusivity practices with guidelines from CGLCC on how to ensure 2SLGBTQI+ customers feel welcome and accepted. As inclusivity best practices evolve, businesses will have the support they need to adjust their practices and maintain the standards customers deserve. Rainbow Registered designation lasts three years, with annual update requirements to ensure businesses are always keeping up with their journey towards inclusion for all customers and employees.

In a tight community, reputation is everything, so the businesses that put in the work to hold themselves to the highest standards can set a positive example for other businesses to follow in their footsteps. As the world continues to make strides towards inclusivity and acceptance for all, every business has an opportunity to do its part.

Rainbow Registered allows businesses to market themselves as safe destinations for the 2SLGBTQI+ community. And with that comes a clear shout-out to consumers: no matter your gender identity, sexuality, or how you choose to express them, you’re safe here. 

For more information on the national accreditation program, and to find Rainbow Registered businesses in your area, visit

For more information on Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce, visit

COURTNEY HARDWICK is a Toronto-based freelance writer. Her work has appeared online at AmongMen, Complex Canada, Elle Canada and TheBolde.

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