During the 2021 federal election, 2SLGBTQ+ communities are keen to hear from federal political parties and party leaders to better understand where they stand on key issues of human rights, equity, and safety for 2SLGBTQ+ people. We, as a national group of fourteen 2SLGBTQ+ and allied organizations, write to you today soliciting your response on 20 key questions pertinent to 2SLGBTQ+ communities and our human rights during Election 2021.
Why do you believe you are the best candidate for Prime Minister? Why should 2SLGBTQ+ people vote for you?
Specific commitments on 2SLGBTQ+ issues are crucial to continued progress on human rights for our communities. What are your party’s platform commitments on 2SLGBTQ+ issues for the 2021 federal election
How many openly 2SLGBTQ+ candidates are running for office on behalf of your party this election? If possible, please disaggregate your response, to reflect both gender and sexual diversity, as well as racial identity and region.
Electing more 2SLGBTQ+ people to office is important. What measures have you and your party taken to support 2SLGBTQ+ candidates running office on behalf of for your party?
A ban on conversion practices died in the Senate, failing to pass prior to this election. What will your party do to end conversion practices for all ages and to realize 2SLGBTQ+ children’s right to protection? What measures will your party take to support survivors of conversion practices?”
Affordable housing and homelessness prevention are essential issues for 2SLGBTQ+ communities. 20-40% of homeless youth are 2SLGBTQ+, and 50% of transgender and gender diverse people in Canada make under $30,000 a year. How will you address both the homelessness crisis and the affordable housing crisis? How will your strategies respond to the unique needs and root causes of increased homelessness and poverty in 2SLGBTQ+ communities?
If elected, will you work with provinces and territories –using such mechanisms available to you, including but not limited to utilizing federal convening power, or fiscal incentivization within the Canada Health Transfer — to ensure consistent coverage of medically necessary gender-affirming healthcare services, as established by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) across Canada?
2SLGBTQ+ community organizations have faced decades of underfunding despite the essential services they provide, including building community, promoting human rights, and responding to the crises of homelessness, street harassment and poverty in our communities. Will your party commit to continuing the LGBTQ2 Capacity Fund introduced under the previous government and, how much annual funding will you dedicated specifically to 2SLGBTQ+ community organizations through said fund?
The LGBTQ2+ Secretariat was created in 2017 to support greater federal engagement, inclusion, and consultation with 2SLGBTQ+ communities and on 2SLGBTQ+ issues, but it does not currently have permanent funding. The Secretariat plays a crucial role supporting meaningful engagement with 2SLGBTQ+ communities and organizations. Will you commit to permanent funding for the LGBTQ2+ Secretariat?
Prior to the election, the federal government was developing the first national 2SLGBTQ+ action plan – an essential plan to guide federal efforts on 2SLGBTQ+ issues. Will you commit to continuing the process of developing and implementing a national, comprehensive 2SLGBTQ+ Action Plan with well-defined targets, dedicated funding and key performance indicators?
2 Spirit and Indigiqueer communities face particular barriers as a result of the intersection of colonialism, white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of oppression. What specific measures will you take, in consultation with 2 Spirit and Indigiqueer communities, to support truth, justice and reconciliation for 2 Spirit, Indigiqueer people
People living with HIV currently face a maximum penalty of lifetime imprisonment for aggravated sexual assault — one of the most serious criminal offences in the Criminal Code — and a lifetime designation as a sex offender for not disclosing their HIV status to sexual partners, even in cases where there is little or no risk of transmission. Law reform is necessary to end unjust prosecutions and remove HIV non-disclosure from the law of sexual assault.
Does your party commit to: a) reform the Criminal Code in consultation with the HIV sector (including removing HIV non-disclosure from the reach of sexual assault laws, as was recommended by the House of Commons Standing Committee of Justice and Human Rights in its report released in June 2019); and b) engage with provincial counterparts to develop improved, and consistent, prosecutorial policy across the country?
Hate-motivated violence is on the rise in Canada, including those targeting members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and particularly trans, gender diverse, poor, Black, racialized and/or Indigenous 2SLGBTQ+ people. What specific measures will you take to combat anti-2SLGBTQ+ hatred, violence and bigotry in Canada, including online hate-based acts?
Sex worker rights are human rights and should be acknowledged as such. Criminalization of sex work isolates sex workers from supports, makes sex workers more vulnerable to poor working conditions, and contributes to targeted violence directed at sex workers. Will your party support the repeal of all sex work–specific criminal laws, including the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, and consult with sex workers to develop a holistic vision of law reform that will improve their health and safety?
Criminal Code legislation includes an exemption in clause 268(3) that permits medically unnecessary and traumatic surgeries on intersex children. These practices have been described as torturous by the United Nations and constitute a violation of both 2SLGBTQ+ rights and children’s rights. Do you and your party commit to repealing section 268(3) of the Criminal Code in consultation with Intersex communities and human rights organizations?
Many LGBTQI+ people are forced to flee their homes, families, and countries due to persecution. While Canada has taken steps to support LGBTQI+ refugees, these have been far from sufficient, and our immigration and refugee systems are rife with barriers.
What steps will your party take to 1) increase the total number of LGBTQI+ refugees settling in Canada through both public and private sponsorship and 2) strengthen services and supports for LGBTQI+ refugees and newcomers in Canada?
In 2019, the House of Commons Standing Committee for the Study of Health published a report with 23 recommendations for improving 2SLGBTQ+ health in Canada. Will you commit to implementing all 23 recommendations within your first mandate, should your party form government?
2SLGBTQ+ communities face significant barriers to employment, are more likely to be poor, and experience significant rates of employment discrimination. Will your party commit to including 2SLGBTQ+ communities as an equity group in the Employment Equity Act? And, what other steps will your party take to support fulsome and fair employment of 2SLGBTQ+ people in Canada?
Many trans and gender diverse people face discrimination due to legal documents that do not reflect their gender identity. Gender documentation on legal documents, including birth certificates, is an unnecessary barrier for trans and gender diverse communities. Does your party support the removal of legal sex designation on Canadian birth certificates?
Canada has an important role to play in promoting LGBTQI+ rights around the world. How will your government champion LGBTQI+ issues abroad if elected as Prime Minister? How would your party ensure that protecting the human rights of LGBTQI+ people is part of Canadian foreign policy?
We kindly ask to receive your response by Wednesday, September 15th, so that we might publish them ahead of the election and give 2SLGBTQ+ communities sufficient time to consider your commitments. Please submit your responses to Wisdom2Action’s Executive Director, Fae Johnstone, at firstname.lastname@example.org. All responses received by September 15th will be published at www.wisdom2action.org/queerquestionnaire on September 16th. Responses submitted after September 15th will be added as they are received.
Thank you for your time and consideration,