Workplace Health and Safety

Canada’s unions call for urgent action to address hate crimes against 2SLGBTQI people

May 17, 2021

Canada’s unions are marking the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) by urging the federal government to address the rise in hate crimes against 2SLGBTQI communities in Canada.

“There is no place for homophobic, transphobic or biphobic violence in our communities,” said Larry Rousseau, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). “Two Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people face disproportionately high levels of violence in our workplaces and in our communities. The federal government must act immediately to address this alarming trend.”

The most recent Statistics Canada report on police reported hate crimes highlights a record high rate of hate crimes targeting individuals in the 2SLGBTQI community. Although members of the 2SLGBTQI community are less likely to report violent incidents to the police than other Canadians, the data indicates a 41% increase in hate crimes against 2SLGBTQI reported to the police, between 2018 and 2019. Over half of those reported crimes were violent.

Canada’s unions will join other organizations across the country in providing input to help shape Canada’s LGBTQ2 Action Plan. The CLC also created a new Workers in Transition handbook to help combat transphobia in the workplace.

“We are always recommitting ourselves to eradicating all forms of discrimination and harassment, whether it is on the shop floor, at the union meeting or at a community event,” said Rousseau. “We want to set an example for workers around the world, that inclusion is necessary for true worker solidarity.”

Canada’s unions continue to organize and fight for anti-harassment policies and awareness initiatives at work that ensure safer workplaces and unions for everyone. Even in the midst of a pandemic, unions are continuing to lead the way in advocating for every worker’s right to safety in the workplace. This includes a national survey on harassment and violence at work in Canada launched late last year.

The International Day Against Homophobia was first created in 2003 in Quebec, and was later amended in 2009 and 2015 to include transphobia and biphobia respectively. You can learn more about the history of IDAHOTB here.

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