Budget 2017: Parliament’s first-ever LGBTQ2 Secretariat announced

Parliament’s first-ever special advisor on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two-spirit and queer issues will soon have money to help him promote equality, protect the rights of LGBTQ2 Canadians, and address both historic and current discrimination.

The federal government will spend $3.6 million over three years, starting in 2017, to establish an LGBTQ2 Secretariat within the Privy Council Office to support MP Randy Boissonnault in developing and coordinating government initiatives on LGBTQ2 issues. The funds were announced in the federal budget Wednesday.

Although great strides have been made to accept and include LGBTQ2 people, the community has a history of discrimination, harassment and violence, which has affected career opportunities, social inclusion and well-being.

A 2010 survey conducted by the Trans Pulse Project showed out of the 500 transgender respondents in Ontario, 13 per cent had been fired and 18 per cent were refused employment based on their transgender status.

Twenty per cent of respondents had been physically or sexually assaulted, but not all of those assaults were reported to police.

Although significant gaps in data remain, the government says it is “committed to better understanding these challenges and making meaningful progress in advancing the rights of LGBTQ2 individuals in Canada.”

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