Queer Ontario Outlines Provincial Government Election LGBTQ Issues

March 24th, 2018 Comments off

Queer Ontario – Pre-Provincial Election – March 26, 2018

News Release                                                                                               March 26, 2018

Queer Ontario Outlines Provincial Government Election LGBTQ Issues

Toronto:  The provincial Liberal government, led by out lesbian Premier Kathleen Wynne, can do much to address LGBTQ issues affecting these communities prior to the next provincial election.  Queer Ontario highlights seven (7) issues, non-prioritized that the Liberal government can work on before the next election.

  1. Defunding of the Catholic School Board System:

While the provincial government is planning to close 121 schools and is faced with up to $15 billion in repair backlogs, it is not equitable to have a publicly funded separate Catholic School Board system in this secular province.  Estimated costs of publicly funding the Catholic school system are between $1.5 – $2 billion a year.  Apart from transition costs, savings will still be had by eliminating a school system that to this day flagrantly ignores legislation protecting LGBTQ students.

  1. Further Updating Policies on Blood Donations for Gay Men:

Current policy issued by Canadian Blood Services and Health Canada now requires one year of abstinence, which remains out of touch with current science regarding men who engage in sex with other men donating blood.  The provincial Liberals are urged to pressure their federal cousins to update this policy by completely removing the one (1) year deferral.

  1. Decriminalization of HIV Non Disclosures:

Recently, the Ontario Attorney General and Minister of Health announced ending prosecution of people living with HIV who have suppressed viral loads for six months for nondisclosure.  The provincial government needs to broaden and deepen its reforms to align with those of the federal government.  The province should outline sexual activities that do not pose significant risk of transmission, and limit criminal prosecutions to cases of actual, intentional transmission of HIV.

  1. Special Investigations Unit (SIU):

We call on the provincial Attorney General to implement all 129 recommendations of the Independent Police Oversight Review led by Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Michael H. Tulloch.  We also urge that the names of officers under investigation be released and include under Recommendation 11.1 that demographic data collected by oversight agencies also include sexual orientation and gender identity and/or expression.

  1. Gender Pay Gap:

The gender pay gap in Ontario between women and men has stagnated at 30% over the past three (3) decades.  Lesbian and bisexual women can be particularly impacted and trans women are even further challenged by the gender binary in work settings.  Greater enforcement of pay equity laws is required, along with a broader, more inclusive understanding of gender variance. The proposed ‘transparency legislation’ falls short as it only captures medium to large-size employers, whereas 95% of Ontario employers are small businesses, many of which employ women in low-wage positions without benefits.

  1. Reinstating Employment Equity Legislation:

The short-lived Ontario Employment Equity Act under the provincial NDP government, repealed in 1995 by the provincial Conservative government is long overdue for reinstatement.  In addition to the four targeted groups (women, Indigenous, visible minorities and the disabled) in federal employment equity legislation, provincially this should be extended to gender and sexually diverse groups.

 

  1. Ontario Basic Income Pilot:

Queer Ontario supports a basic income in principle.  Nevertheless, care must be taken to ensure sustainability of universal programs and a social service support system to assist those who may require specified and/or ongoing supports.

About Us:  Queer Ontario is a provincial network of gender and sexually diverse individuals – and their allies – who are committed to questioning, challenging, and reforming the laws, institutional practices, and social norms that regulate queer people.

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Interviews:

Nick Mulé

Queer Ontario Spokesperson

nickjmule@gmail.com

416.979.2783

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Catholic School Board’s Funding Withdrawal Latest Example of LGBTQ Suppression

February 11th, 2018 Comments off

News Release                                                                                                  February 11, 2018

Queer Ontario

Catholic School Board’s Funding Withdrawal Latest Example of LGBTQ Suppression

Toronto:  Initially, both the London Catholic District School Board (LCDSB) and the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) decided to withdraw funds of $15,000 each to a production of “Prom Queen,” which depicts the Marc Hall story regarding the high school student who fought his Catholic school board to be able to take his boyfriend to the prom, at the Grand Theatre.  Both these school boards have traditionally provided funding of $30,000 combined to an annual production.  This year’s production of “Prom Queen” that looks at a historical battle between LGBTQs and a Catholic school board, was almost suppressed by LCDSB and TVDSB’s defunding.  It has since more than surpassed the $30,000 in funding due to a public fundraising campaign.  Recently TVDSB restored its funding of $15,000.

This is but the latest example of how Bill 13, Accepting Schools Act, which protects LGBTQ students, staff and teachers from discrimination within all Ontario school boards is not being adequately implemented.  When a Catholic school board attempts to suppress (and arguably censor) an historical event that would be of educational value for all students, both school board trustees and administrators need to be held to account.  Fortunately, the public has demonstrated its openness to such a production possibly influencing TVDSB’s reversal, yet at the expense of separate school board tax dollars being withdrawn from such an initiative.

Why are Ontario’s tax dollars being wasted supporting an institution that not only defies provincial human rights protections within its walls, but also endeavours to project that attitude beyond?

Queer Ontario is a provincial network of gender and sexually diverse individuals – and their allies – who are committed to questioning, challenging, and reforming the laws, institutional practices, and social norms that regulate queer people.

Queer Ontario – Grand Theatre News Release

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Queer Ontario Newsletter Fall 2017

November 20th, 2017 Comments off
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