Thursday, June 9, 2016

Pride season is upon us and Canadian unions are proud to have been a part of the effort for LGBTQ equality and justice for many years.

Canada’s unions have fought for inclusive language in collective agreements in diverse workplaces across Canada to promote equality and protect and empower workers. And some of the very first legislation in Canada around same-sex benefits was enacted, thanks in part to our support and advocacy.

“Unions have a long history of fighting in support of the LGBTQ community, and together we have accomplished many great things. But we still have lots of work ahead of us,” said CLC president Hassan Yussuff.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Trudeau raised the pride flag on Parliament Hill to mark the beginning of Pride season. This is the first time a pride flag has ever been officially raised on Parliament Hill, an important sign of the progress the LGBTQ community has made. This followed the introduction in May of Bill C-16 which will amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to ban discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression. The legislation will also amend Canada’s Criminal Code to protect transgender people from hate propaganda. This is the third attempt to pass this legislation and the CLC is looking for its swift adoption.

Still, much remains to challenge homophobia and transphobia at home and abroad. The CLC endorses the Dignity Initiative, a coalition of LGBTQ activists whose goal is to connect existing human rights organizations in Canada in an effort to expand support for the global LGBTQ community. It was formed after the 2014 World Pride conference in Toronto.

“Canada is establishing itself as a leader on LGBTQ issues. Working with organizations like the Dignity Initiative, we will continue to make change that will improve the lives of LGBTQ people not just at home, but around the world,” added Yussuff.

The CLC has created many resources including an Allies Booklet and Workers in Transition, a guide about gender transition for union representatives.