#Hamilton; #Ontario; #LGBTQ; #RedeemerUniversity; #BiblicalIntentions; #Christianity
Hamilton (Ontario), Aug 4 (Canadian-Media): Redeemer University, a private Christian school in the Hamilton area, is facing criticism its anti-LGBTQ policies from LGBTQ alumni who said that fear among LGBTQ attendees prevails, media reports said.
Redeemer University. Image credit: Twitter handle
Redeemer University based its school policy on the theory of "biblical intentions," and said disciplinary actions would be taken against the students who were found to engage in any sexual behaviour that occurs outside a heterosexual marriage.
"This covers a broad range of sexual behaviour by students when it falls outside biblical intentions and/or explicit guidelines. These include sexual intimacies which occur outside of a heterosexual marriage, including any type of intercourse or sexual relations or involvement with pornographic material," the policy says, reported by CBC News.
When asked by CBC News from a number of Redeemer students, past and present, some refused to speak for fear of retaliation from the university or as they had not publicly revealed their sexual orientation.
But all of them expressed concerns about the school's discriminatory policy against LGBTQ students.
The school justifies its policy and says it is part of the Reformed Christian tradition and does not discriminate.
Same-sex marriage became legal in Canada in 2005.
Human rights experts said that Redeemer's policy could lead to lawsuits and human rights complaints.
"They're not discriminating against [students] because they're Christian, they're discriminating against them because they're LGBTQ by this code of conduct," Susan Ursel, the Toronto lawyer who represented the Canadian Bar Association against Trinity Western, told CBC.
"You can discriminate on the basis of only wanting Christians, sure, but once you're inside your Christian community, you don't get to pick and choose whether you like people who are gay or straight. You take your community the way you find it and you serve it."
Personal accounts from students and alumni, many of whom identify within the LGBTQ community is contained in the the Rainbow Report, a 45-page document submitted to the university in 2019.
Many students said they did not feel safe on campus and some left school before graduation.
"The question for decision makers in our courts is, 'Can religion do anything it wants? Or in a decent, multicultural, diverse society, are there even limits on what religion can do?" Ursel said, reported by CBC.
#BC; #VancouverPride; #VirtualParade
British Columbia (B.C.), Aug 2 (Canadian-Media): B.C. Premier John Horgan has issued the following statement to mark Vancouver Pride, media reports said.
Vancouver Pride. Image credit: Twitter handle
“Pride began as a protest. And that work continues, as many LGBTQ2S+ people around the world still fight for basic rights that many people take for granted: equal marriage, access to adoption, legal protections for gender expression and gender identity.
“This time last year, Vancouver was getting ready to welcome over 650,000 people on its streets marching in support of the annual Pride parade. This year, Vancouver Pride Week has looked a bit different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I know that losing the opportunity to come together in person in recognition, celebration and solidarity has been incredibly difficult.
“Many people continue to be targeted with harassment and discrimination because of their gender or sexuality. Our government has taken some first steps to making our province more inclusive for LGBTQ and two-spirit people, including teaching sexual orientation and gender identity inclusive education, re-establishing the human rights commission and implementing a gender-X option for provincial identification.
“As we mark the Vancouver Pride parade virtually this year, I hope everyone takes this opportunity to learn more about LGTBQ2S+ history, celebrate how far we’ve come and recognize how far we have to go.
“Pride cannot be cancelled.
“Together, we will build a province where everyone can live without fear of violence or discrimination, where everyone can take pride in who they are.”
Ontario, Jul 25 (Canadian-Media): A lawsuit seeking $400,000 in damages against the Ontario Government, two identified Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers and a number of unknown officers was filed in Toronto on July 22, media reports said.
OPP. Image credit: Twitter handle
According to the lawsuit, OPP allegedly falsifying their notes to justify a racially influenced violent takedown of two First Nations brothers in the front yard and driveway of May's home in Orillia, Ont. and was captured in cellphone video that was obtained by CBC News .
It alleges that the two officers, acting on a report that a "Native male" had fallen off a bicycle, illegally assaulted Randall May, 57, of Nipissing First Nation, and Aaron Keeshig, 50, of Neyaashiinigmiing First Nation.
According to the statement of claim, the lawsuit also alleged that an OPP officer, assigned to investigate a complaint over the incident filed by May, offered to have May's charges dropped if he abandoned the complaint.
"In order to justify the illegal assault, detention and arrest, the police falsified police notes, falsely accused both brothers of offences they did not commit and wrongly charged Mr. May of assaulting police," said the statement of claim, filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. "Mr. May and Mr. Keeshig, who are both First Nations men, assert that the illegal, violent and entirely unjustified treatment they suffered was the result of racial profiling, racial bias and discrimination."
The OPP said in a statement that the OPP's professional standards bureau investigated the complaint filed by May in February 2019, at the direction of the police watchdog, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) and that the internal investigation concluded that the allegations were "unsubstantiated" and that the findings were relayed by the OIPRD to May.
The file was closed in May 2019, the OPP's statement said.
May told CBC News he doesn't remember ever receiving the results of the investigation from the OIPRD. The lawsuit claims he suffered the worst during the takedown. He was not only thrown to the ground and punched but also repeatedly Tasered to the point where he lost control of his bodily functions, according to the statement of claim.
"I could hear myself screaming," May said in an interview with CBC News outside his home, at the spot where the incident occurred on Sept. 15, 2018.
The statement of claim alleges that the officers "illegally" detained May and Keeshig, not informing them the reason for their arrest. The document said the brothers were the victims of "assault and battery" at the hands of the officers.
The legal action takes place at a time of awareness of racial profiling by the police against Black and Indigenous people and amid worldwide protests over recent high-profile incidents of police brutality. Two Indigenous people in Canada were shot and killed by police in New Brunswick within a span of eight days in June. Chantal Moore, 26, was killed by police in Edmundston during a wellness check at her home, while the RCMP fatally shot Rodney Levi, 48, of Metepenagiag First Nation.
#Ottawa;#IndigenousPeople; #IGPP; #Sustainability; #Biodiversity; #EcosystemConservation
Ottawa, Jul 22 (Canadian-Media): Government of Canada announced July 22 $600,000 in funding for 10 new projects across the country for the period 2020–2021 in the First Nations tier 1 stream under the Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program ( IGPP), media reports said.
Jonathan Wilkinson. Image credit: Twitter handle
A joint working group of First Nations experts and federal representatives selected 10 successful projects out of more than 100 proposals against rigorous criteria for their benefit to Indigenous communities and sustainability.
Being leaders in environmental stewardship, sustainable development, and natural resource management, Indigenous-led work would be advanced by IGPP to protect and conserve ecosystems, develop and maintain sustainable economies, and reinforce cultural connection to the land.
"Indigenous Peoples have protected nature since time immemorial, which is why we are pleased to support their leadership in safeguarding our natural environment—for now and for generations to come,” Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada's Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
Indigenous Environment Network. Image credit: Twitter handle
"It means...more lands and waters will be managed for the benefit of all, ” Valérie Courtois, Director of Indigenous Leadership Initiative.
This would also result in creation of both seasonal and full-time employment opportunities for the indigenous people as their territories contain as much as 80 percent of the world’s remaining forest biodiversity.
#UN; #WHO; #Covid19; #IndigenousAmericans;
New York, Jul 21 (Canadian-Media): With the Americas still the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact on the region’s indigenous people is of deep concern, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
The Bogotá Ministry of Health have sent a Muisca nurse to Suba, in the north of Bogotá, Colombia, to check on the local indigenous population.
Image credit: PAHO/Karen González Abril
More than 70,000 cases and over 2,000 deaths were reported among this population as of 6 July, according to the UN agency.
There have been at least six cases among the Nahua people, who live in the Peruvian Amazon, latest information has revealed.
A vulnerable population
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained that because indigenous people are among the world’s poorest and most vulnerable groups, they are especially at risk of contracting the disease.
“Like other vulnerable groups, indigenous peoples face many challenges. This includes a lack of political representation, economic marginalization and lack of access to health, education and social services”, he said, speaking from Geneva during the regular crisis update.
“Indigenous peoples often have a high burden of poverty, unemployment, malnutrition and both communicable and non-communicable diseases, making them more vulnerable to COVID-19 and its severe outcomes.”
Stepping up action
WHO’s Regional Office for the Americas recently published recommendations for preventing and responding to COVID-19 among indigenous peoples.
The agency also is working with the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin, to step up the fight against the disease.
Lessons learned from Ebola
WHO also used the briefing to underline the importance of contact tracing to suppress COVID-19 transmission among indigenous communities and the population at large.
The process is essential as more countries begin to re-open after lifting lockdown measures.
“One of the lessons from the recent Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was declared over the last month, is that contact tracing can be done even in the most difficult circumstances, with security problems”, Tedros told journalists.
Dr Ibrahima Socé Fall, WHO Assistant Director-General for Emergency Response, said contact tracing helps break further transmission of COVID-19, thus reducing its caseload and impact.
“What we need to understand is that contact tracing is not an isolated practice. It is part of the best practices for epidemiology,” he said, speaking in French.
Experimental vaccine ‘good news’WHO has welcomed promising news about a potential vaccine against COVID-19, as research into treatments in multiple countries, continues.
An experimental vaccine developed by Oxford University and the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, appears safe and triggers an immune response, according to a study published in the medical journal The Lancet.
“It is good news”, said Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, though he cautioned that “the data is very new”.
Dr. Ryan said the vaccine was given to 1,000 healthy adults aged 18 to 55 years. None appeared to suffer any serious adverse effects, other than chills, muscle aches and headaches, which were expected.
“But again, there is a long way to go”, he said. “These are phase one studies. We now need to move into large-scale, real-world trials, but it is good to see more data and more products moving into this very important phase of vaccine discovery.”
Dr. Ryan reported that 23 COVID-19 candidate vaccines are currently in clinical development.
#UN: #UNOCHA; #Columbia; #Amazon Trapeze; #Covid19Pandemic; #Indigenous; #INGO
Columbia/UNOCHA, Jul 19 (Canadian-Media): The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the weaknesses of health systems and the plight of particularly vulnerable groups around the world, UNOCH reports said.
The city of Leticia, Colombia. Image Credit: UNICEF/Diego López
Indigenous peoples, including those in Latin America, are facing several challenges that threaten their very survival. People living in remote areas along the Amazon river have witnessed the highest transmission rates in the country, partially due to their insufficient access to basic health and sanitation services.
“It’s worrying to see the vulnerability of these populations, mainly indigenous, in a region where there is limited institutional presence and significant logistical challenges,” says Claudia Rodriguez Burrell, the head of OCHA in Colombia. “The needs assessment mission, we were able to deploy in the Amazonas department in May, evidenced the multiple needs and challenges communities in the region are facing. We are pleased a first joint UN and INGO response was rapidly mobilized, but much more needs to be done.”
The OCHA/Mecanismo Intersectorial de Respuesta en Emergencias (MIRE) Consortium evaluation mission in some rural areas of the so-called Amazon Trapeze, which has registered the highest infection rates in Latin America, found that more than 21,000 people from 54 communities had compounded multisectoral needs related to access to sanitation, health and food. Among these, 19 communities along the Amazon river lacked access to health services and clean water. Urban centres, where many people from the area – including from neighbouring countries – seek access to basic services, also require humanitarian action.
#Alberta; #IHCP; IndigenousCommunities; #reconciliation, #inclusion, #opportunity
Alberta, Jul 17 (Canadian-Media): An investment of $32 million will be made by the Alberta government over three years in development of the Indigenous Housing Capital Program (IHCP) to increase the supply of affordable off-reserve, off-settlement and on-settlement housing for Indigenous communities, media reports said.
Alberta Government. Image credit: Twitter Handle
Indigenous governments and organizations would be prioritized for funding by IHCP.
Non-Indigenous housing management bodies and other operators, will only be eligible for funding if they apply with an Indigenous partner.
Since indigenous housing providers will have more autonomy to manage their assets, public and private developers are being encouraged by this redesign of housing market to partner with Indigenous governments and organizations to create economic opportunity and support.
IHCP's guiding principle to support housing designed, delivered and owned by, and for, Indigenous communities would serve to maintain a partnership with Alberta’s Indigenous Peoples in pursuit of reconciliation, inclusion and opportunity, said Josephine Pon, Minister of Seniors and Housing in a news release.
Josephine Pon. Image credit: Twitter handle
“We all know that Indigenous people are grossly overrepresented...in those experiencing homelessness. Everyone deserves a safe, affordable and accessible home...achieving that goal for many,” Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations said in a news release.
“Housing is a basic need and there is a significant gap in access to this need in our nation. Through our Métis Urban Housing and Métis Capital Housing corporations, the Métis Nation of Alberta strives to provide safe, clean and affordable housing to our citizens most in need,’’Aaron Barner, senior executive officer, Métis Nation of Alberta and the Métis Capital Housing Corporation said in the news release.
Paul First Nation worked with the government of Alberta’s Seniors and Housing and the private sector during the last 18 months with a commitment to develop an off-reserve housing strategy to provide access to safe, secure, adequate and affordable housing and would be "going forward on this excellent opportunity and working with the Alberta government,’’ Cynthia Rain, off-reserve housing project manager, Paul First Nation said in a news release.
#CityOfToronto; #PrideAtWorkCanada; #LGBTQ2S+ CouncilAdvisoryBody;
Toronto, Jun 26, (Canadian-Media): The City of Toronto is proud to announce that it has joined Pride at Work Canada, a leading national non-profit organization that promotes workplace inclusion on the grounds of gender expression, gender identity and sexual orientation. The City will now have access to resources and supports that can help create more inclusive spaces and contribute to deepening inclusion of Toronto’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2S+) communities.
Pride at Work Canada. Image credit: Twitter handle
“The City of Toronto’s motto is ‘Diversity Our Strength’ and I am proud that the City is a new member of Pride at Work Canada. This membership, alongside the City’s numerous initiatives existing and new initiatives, further demonstrates our commitment to making the City an organization that proactively seeks to fully engage the talents, expertise, and contribution of our LGBTQ2S+ employees and residents to further improve our workplace culture for everyone and create equitable outcomes for all of Toronto,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory.
This is one of the City’s many initiatives in recent years to promote equity and inclusion both within its workplace and in the city of Toronto.
Earlier this month, the City proclaimed June as Pride Month and raised the Pride and Transgender flags at City Hall. Traditionally the Toronto Public Service (TPS) has participated in the Pride Parade and the City is encouraging the public and employees to participate in Pride Toronto’s virtual Pride Festival Weekend.
In December 2019, City Council approved the establishment of an LGBTQ2S+ Council Advisory Body to bring government, policy and community leaders together to focus on both service level barriers as well as structural and systemic challenges faced by LGBTQ2S+ communities. Applications for the Council Advisory Body opened on June 25 and will remain open until August 7. Toronto residents who are interested in providing advice on priority issues to support the elimination of barriers and inequities experienced by LGBTQ2S+ communities in accessing City of Toronto programs and services are welcome to apply at toronto.ca/ServeYourCity.
The City continues to support a workplace culture that recognizes LGBTQ2S+ employees as an important part of a diverse and effective workforce. Since 2004, City employees began organizing events and formally established the TPS Pride Network in 2010 to foster an inclusive workplace for LGBTQ2S+ members.
The City is launching a new Understanding Gender and Sexual Orientation e-learning for City staff, which outlines each employee’s role in building an inclusive workforce and offers practical tips to be an LGBTQ2S+ ally in daily life.
In addition, the City is also launching a new Accommodation Framework for Transitioning Employees, which is a new management tool that will support employees who are transitioning. This is accompanied by the City’s existing guidelines for accommodating gender identity and gender expression.
#Ottawa, #Canada; #IndigenousPeople; #ResourcePage; #Covid19
Ottawa, Jun 26 (Canadian-Media): A special page devoted to indigenous resources, including posters, videos and culturally specific guidance for Indigenous people with questions about COVID-19 has been created by Ottawa Public Health (OPH), media reports said.
Indigenous in Canada. Image credit: Facebook page
Known as The resource page, it accumulates information created by provincial and territorial governments, as well as material already assembled by Indigenous organizations in Ottawa.
"We heard from the community that the communications and services needed to be adapted," explained Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa's medical officer of health, who added her agency did not yet have data breaking down infection rates by cultural background.
2016 census revealed that the population of about 38,115 Indigenous people in Ottawa and Gatineau, make up 2.9 percent of the capital region's population.
The Inuit population in the region accounts for about 1,300, already the largest outside of the North, though it is estimated by some organizations that it's at least 3,700 and possibly as large as 6,000.
The Resource page is devoted to such specific topics as handwashing where running water is in short supply, and how healthy residents can assist elders who are isolating by leaving groceries outside on their porch.
Information prepared by Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team in Ottawa covers the risks of tobacco use, whether ceremonial or recreational, during COVID-19.
OPH's resources page also covers grocery shopping and cooking, mental health, pregnancy and parenting, how to wear a mask and information about self-isolating.
Many of the posters and information sheets have been translated into Cree, Inuktitut, Michif, Algonquin, Mi'kmaq, Ojibwe, Oji-Cree and Stoney.
Owing to a large number of medical visitors to Ottawa coming from Grise Fiord, Resolute Bay, Pangnirtung, Clyde River, Arctic Bay and their remote satellite communities, Lynn Kilabuk, president of the facility education about the prevention of transmission of COVID-19 was needed.
#LGBTCommunity; #SexualOrientation; #HumanRights; #EqualRights;
Geneva, Jun 17 (Canadian-Media): A UN expert on Wednesday hailed an historic judgement issued by the United States Supreme Court on 15 June that firing a person on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is unlawful, UN reports said.
A Pride parade takes place in Marseille, France in 2018. Image credit: Unsplash/ Tristan Billet
Victor Madrigal-Borloz, UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, called the ruling a “very significant step towards breaking the cycle of discrimination that often condemns lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender-diverse persons to social exclusion, and ultimately, to poverty”.
The ruling clarifies that Title VII of the United States Civil Rights Act of 1964 – which bans discrimination based on sex – is applicable to sexual orientation and gender identity.
The court’s decision was issued in relation to three cases: Gerald Bostock, who was fired from a county job in the United States state of Georgia after he joined a gay softball team; Donald Zarda, a skydiving instructor who was fired after disclosing he was gay to a client; and Aimée Stephens, who was fired from her job at a Michigan funeral home two weeks after telling her boss she intended to live full-time as a woman.
In most UN Member States, national laws do not provide adequate protection from employment-related discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, Mr. Madrigal-Borloz said. In the absence of such laws, employers may fire or refuse to hire or promote people, simply because they are – or thought to be – gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans or gender-diverse.
The UN Independent Expert has been outspoken about the need for policy makers to collect more data in efforts to understand the causes of violence routinely directed at LGBT communities across the world.
“The judgement will have an extremely positive impact in addressing stigma, promoting sociocultural and economic inclusion, and furthering legal recognition of gender identity – all of which have been identified by my mandate as fundamental to address the root causes of violence and discrimination,” Madrigal-Borloz said.
The case also illustrates the vital role that victims can play in furthering justice. “It is sad to note that two of the victims in these cases did not live to see the outcome of their struggle, but uplifting to know that their resolve, their resilience and their determination will now benefit millions of LGBT persons,” he added.
Victor Madrigal-Borloz (Costa Rica) assumed the role of UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity on 1 January 2018, for a three-year term. He is a senior visiting researcher at the Harvard Law School Human Rights Programme.
The Independent Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.