The Public Service Alliance of Canada welcomes the government’s apology and redress for Canadians who were fired from their job or criminally charged for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, two-spirit or trans.
“This apology is well overdue,” says PSAC National President Robyn Benson. “Far too many federal public service workers have been persecuted in the workplace due to their sexual orientation or identity. This is a necessary step in creating a safe, respectful and inclusive work environment for our LGBTQ2 members.”
Historically, the federal public service has been a hostile place for LGBTQ2 people. In the 1960s, the RCMP developed a list of 9,000 “presumed homosexuals” in the National Capital Region alone.
Until the 1990s, the federal government actively discriminated against people who were perceived to be gay. The RCMP spied on people, followed them, interrogated them, and the government fired them if they thought they were gay.
“The Liberal government must show true leadership and commitment in its apology to LGBTQ2 Canadians,” said Benson. “PSAC expects the government to fairly compensate all LGBTQ2 workers who faced persecution in the military or public service because of their sexual orientation or gender expression.”
The PSAC represents 180,000 workers, mostly employed in the federal public service. As a staunch ally of the LGBTQ2 community PSAC has called for an apology to all public service workers, past and present, who have been harmed by systemic discrimination and prejudice for years. Today, we welcome the government’s statement.
To move forward and deliver justice for LGBTQ2 communities, the government’s words must be accompanied by action. We call on the federal government to:
- Include LGBTQ2 workers in employment equity protections;
- Incorporate education about gender identity and gender expression in diversity, equity, and human rights training programs;
- Reinstate legal requirements for employment equity for federal contractors and restore pre-2012 program reporting and application;
- End the ban on blood, bone marrow and organ donation for men who have had sex with men within the past year;
- Require police and justice workers to receive human rights training with an emphasis on the treatment of LGBTQ2 people;
- Adopt procedures to protect the dignity of Canada’s trans and intersex people living within the prison system.