Last week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a formal apology to ‘individuals harmed by federal legislation, policies, and practices that led to the oppression of and discrimination against LGBTQ2S people in Canada.’
The government also introduced legislation that will expunge criminal records of people who were convicted of having same-sex partners and will be putting $100 million to compensate members of federal agencies whose careers were ended as part of the ‘gay purge.’
This apology and compensation is long overdue, but we still must look at how we as Canadians can support our LGBTQ2S allies in the workplace.
In a recent survey by the Jasmin Roy Foundation three-quarters of respondents said they had been victims of bullying and discrimination and the majority of it happened at work.
Unions have a long history of supporting LGBTQ2S rights and continue to do so both inside and outside of the workplace.
The Teamsters union is proud to have an LGBTQ Caucus with a goal to unify, educate and empower Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the workforce at large, ‘to ensure equality in the workplace and to enhance workers’ power at the bargaining table, in organizing campaigns, and in the political arena.’
Teamsters Local 362 intends on implementing committees of rank and file members to represent the five key equity groups recognized by the Canadian Labour Congress including workers of colour, workers with disabilities, women, Indigenous workers and LGBTQ2S.
Employers must also take steps in the workplace by developing company-wide policies that promote inclusion, educate employees about how to support LGBTQ2S employees that they work with and implement anti-discrimination and harassment policies.
Together we can make sure Canada supports workplace inclusion that prevents anything like the ‘gay-purge’ from ever happening again.