This article was published on September 1st, 2022
The Canadian federal government recently announced its new plan to support LGBTQ, two-spirit, and intersex communities across Canada. The plan dubbed “Canada’s first federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan,” has been praised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a historic first.
The plan is described as an initiative to fight discrimination and support diversity in Canada. It includes $100 million in funding over five years for targeted programs and services related to LGBTQ people, two-spirit people and intersex people.
“This will guide our ongoing work to fight discrimination, break down barriers, to advance rights, and to build a future where everyone in Canada is truly free to be who they are and love whom they love,” Trudeau said on Sunday.
The government’s new plan is an investment in community-based organizations. It will give 75 per cent of its money to groups that help LGBTQ2S+ people, with the remainder focused on awareness and research projects. Pre-existing funding streams—such as grants for hiring staff or improving record collection—will also be used to develop these initiatives.
The Liberals see the plan as a historic investment, with the highest rates of direct federal funding to community groups than ever before. This will allow for a more sustainable flow of resources which keep their programs and initiatives up and running.
The government intends to reveal more information about which groups would be receiving funding—including details about the projects themselves—in the future. However, funding will be prioritized towards groups that work with LGBTQ2S+ Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) as well as other demographics in the community who experience additional layers of marginalization such as people with disabilities, seniors, youth, and those who don’t live in major urban centres.
The Action Plan for the LGBTQ2S+ Community includes five key commitments, each of which is addressed by specific actions: Prioritizing action on issues related to community-based organizations; advancing rights in Canada and abroad; supporting Indigenous communities; fostering an inclusive future; increasing data and evidence-based policymaking; and seeing the federal government embed LGBTQ2S+ issues into its work.
The plan commits $5.6 million to launch an awareness campaign that will be aimed at breaking down “underlying and longstanding stigma and discrimination” faced by LGBTQ2S+ communities.
The scheme also reveals plans to reform how the government handles, considers, and responds to LGBTQ2S+ issues. The centrepiece of this portion of the plan is a commitment to begin using the acronym 2SLGBTQI+ rather than the currently used LGBTQ2 acronym.
The government plans to spend $11.7 million to support its existing secretariat, which will oversee implementation of the promises within the action plan.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signalled the government would look at “further protections and support” for people who survived conversion therapy, which he called “a cruel and dangerous practice.” The ban criminalized earlier this year in Canada was seen as one of the most important steps taken by any Western country to protect LGBTQ+ youth.
Minister of Women and Gender Equality, Marci Ien, welcomed the action plan saying that the funds would help “all of those people who are fighting to be heard and accepted.”
“This is for the people who were discarded by their family and friends after they came out, to everybody trying to live their truth in rural communities where they feel isolated,” Ien remarked. “This is for Black queer people who are fighting every day to justify their place in this country, and the trans women who are afraid sometimes to walk home alone in the dark, this is for you.”