Thunder Bay, ON / Fort Frances, ON
For immediate release: April 8, 2022
Rainbow Collective of Thunder Bay and Borderland Pride welcome the historic investment of $100 million dollars over 5 years to support the implementation of the forthcoming LGBTQ2+ Action Plan. Budget 2022 signals that this long-awaited federal strategy is on the horizon, and with it a historic investment to support implementation. At the same time, the budget contains limited detail about how specific challenges and struggles of 2SLGBTQIA+ people will be addressed.
Recent Federal Engagement
Recently, Rainbow Collective met with the office of the Minister of Women and Gender Equality and Youth to advocate for increased low-barrier access to funding for grassroots organizations to support building capacity and ensure they have the needed funding opportunities to grow and thrive in their communities across Canada.
Rainbow Collective also engaged with the local pre-budget meetings with the Hon. Patty Hajdu, MP for Thunder Bay—Superior North, and Marcus Powlowski, MP for Thunder Bay—Rainy River, on the needed supports and calls to action from Enchanté Network, of which Rainbow Collective is a member.
Those calls to action were to:
Continue the government’s commitment to 2SLGBQIA+ capacity building;
Conduct a feasibility analysis for a national 2SLGBTQAI+ endowment in Canada; and
Establish permanent funding for the LGBTQ2 Secretariat.
Along with these calls to action, Rainbow Collective spoke to the need for specific funding for enhanced tourism experiences. Pride festivals are an important component of a diverse and robust tourism economy. As tourism recovers, with the return of in-person events and programs and reopened borders, organizations need the financial supports to help them rebuild capacity and resume their contribution to local economic growth and sustainable operations.
Where the Budget Falls Short
While much was accomplished for 2SLGBTQIA+ people in the previous Parliaments, there remains more work to do to secure equal opportunity, safety, equity, and inclusion for 2SLGBTQIA+ people, and especially those living in rural and remote communities with more limited supports on the ground. We identify four shortcomings in the new budget:
First, while the government’s new funding commitment is welcomed and important, the budget itself does not provide clear direction on how it will address addressing hate and discrimination of transgender, queer, and Two-Spirit people – marginalized groups seeing a rise in hate speech and find themselves at risk of violence. This must be a key plank of the forthcoming plan.
Second, we remain concerned that the federal government is not adequately prioritizing the fight against homophobia and transphobia, especially in rural and northern communities. It is unclear if there is a plan to address these issues, or to support queer and trans health issues and poverty struggles which impact members of the 2SLBGTQIA+ communities.
Third, we are saddened not to see permanent funding for the federal LGBTQ2 Secretariat, which has been a key enabler of progress for our communities. The work this office does is important to providing a sustained voice and strategy in government to support 2SLGBTQIA+ projects and organizations. This office’s outreach supports the development of grassroots organizations like Rainbow Collective and Borderland Pride in ensuring we have a voice within the government to speak on our behalf.
Finally, there remain important issues like unrestricted access to preventative sexual health medication, such as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), and making affordable HIV/AIDS medication, and trans health and support on which federal leadership is required. International assistance for 2SLGBTQIA+ people continues to fall short as well. Canada can do more for the global 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
“While the investment of $100 million over 5 years is truly historic and significant, this budget falls short of the asks of many organizations, including our own. The time is now to begin addressing social disparity of Queer, Trans and Two-Spirit people in Canada, so that they have a truly fair chance to succeed without continued hate and discrimination directed their way at every turn. I value the investment but it doesn’t go far enough.”
– Jason Veltri (he/him), President, Rainbow Collective of Thunder Bay
“We look forward to continuing our engagement with government to make sure that 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion, health, and safety issues remain a federal priority and that 2SLGBTQIA+ community supports, programs, and strategies are impactful in communities of all sizes and need.”
– Douglas Judson (he/him), Co-Chair, Borderland Pride
Jason Veltri (he/him)
Rainbow Collective of Thunder Bay
Douglas Judson (he/him)