#Toronto; #TorontoPrideparade2020; #VirtualParade; #NPPC
Toronto, Jun 29 (Canadian-Media): Toronto’s weekend Pride parade 2020 was held online June 28 for the first time after several decades due to COVID-19 pandemic, media reports said.
Toronto Pride Parade 2020. Image credit: Facebook page
The inauguration of the parade was done with a ceremonial dance, followed by a greeting from Indigenous elder Laureen-Blu Waters.
The 90-minute-long event was hosted by Toronto comedian Brandon Ash-Mohammed, with an introduction of a history of Pride, featuring archival news footage of marches and protests from Toronto’s recent past.
Members of the community delivered various testimonials, and with an applause to the two main charities of Pride.
Cameos from Halsey and Alanis Morissette, Cozmic Cat, a Toronto-based DJ, Jully Black, and more was featured in the event.
Halsey and Alanis Morissette. Image credit: Video grab
This year's celebration of Sunday afternoon's Pride Toronto parade, a North American standout, not deterred by either a global pandemic or by local tech issues like occasional technical glitches, proved to be a successful substitute for the real parade.
The event was celebrated with mix of dancing, live performances, and montages with the spirit of freedom and inclusion the parade represents.
Women’s College Hospital was well represented with pictures and messages including health-care workers and hospitals.
A welcome speech was presented by Toronto's Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and said that it was her infant son’s first Pride and that the day would come when the celebrations would be able to return to the streets.
There were Zoom flashes of sponsors, supporters and advertisers wishing participants a happy Pride.
The broadcast included people from every walk of life with many references to Black Lives Matter.
A rally at Nathan Phillips Square, known as “teach-in” event was organized by the No Pride in Policing Coalition, a group of trans people, which supported Black Lives Matter Toronto demanding half the Toronto Police Services (TPS) budget cut so that more funds can go to Black, Indigenous and other marginalized communities.
This rally was “a teachable moment for all of us, and the beginning of a larger global change to support the Black and BIPOC communities,” said Pride Toronto on its event page.
The start time of the parade was moved so as not to overlap with the “teach-in” event being held on Sunday at Nathan Phillips Square beginning at 2 p.m.
According to Pride Toronto’s annual report, around 150,000 people attended the parade last year, which made it the biggest on record.
Virtual attendance this year was less than a tenth of that: the Facebook stream of the event peaked at around 500 people, while the livestream, on twitch.tv, had around 800 viewers.
Canadian singer-songwriter Jully Black's surprise performance wrapped up the Pride parade for 2020.
When Sunday’s parade events wrapped up, Ash-Mohammed invited viewers to continue watching to witness the rally for defunding the police at Nathan Phillips Square organized by the No Pride in Policing Coalition (NPPC).
#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.
Canada; #Indigenous; #SixtiesScoopsurvivors; #Covid19; #Compensation; #reconciliation
Ottawa, Jun 13 (Canadian-Media): Carolyn Bennett, Canada's Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, confirmed on June 13 regarding the commencement of the flow of compensation to Sixties Scoop survivors as part of the Sixties Scoop settlement agreement, media reports said.
Carolyn Bennett. Image credit: Facebook page
Included in the settlement is a $50 million investment for the establishment of an independent, charitable Foundation open to all Indigenous peoples to support healing, wellness, education, language, culture and commemoration.
Sixties Scoop survivors are status Indian, Inuit who were removed or “scooped” from their families and communities by child welfare services between the 1960s and the 1980s, and placed in long-term care with non-Indigenous families.
Working together to bring a meaningful resolution to its painful legacy in Canada’s history is an important step in the journey of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
Image credit: Twitter handle
The Sixties Scoop settlement agreement combines individual compensation with forward-looking investments to support Sixties Scoop survivors in their journey toward healing.
In response to delays caused by COVID-19, a motion was brought before the Courts by class counsel with Canada’s support to allow interim payments to be made to eligible class members immediately.
The Federal Court granted this order on June 1st followed by Ontario Superior Court of Justice's order on June 2nd.
Despite the deadline, the claims for interim payment are being processed by the claims administrators diligently.
This settlement represents only the first step in Canada’s efforts to address the harm done by the Sixties Scoop. Outstanding claims with other Indigenous people affected by the Sixties Scoop, including Métis and non-status Indians are also being resolved.
The claims process is being administered by Collectiva, an independent firm, outside of the Government.
Bennett said that compensation alone cannot heal the past and much work remains to be done to heal pain caused to the Sixties Scoop.
"We will continue to work with Indigenous partners so that we can foster the healing needed by survivors, families and communities,” said Bennett.
#Diversity; #Inclusion; #PrideSeasonInCanada; #LGBTQ2Canadians
Gatineau, Jun 13 (Canadian-Media): A statement was issued by Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth to welcome the Pride season in Canada, Media reports said.
Bardish Chagger. Image credit: Twitter handle
Welcoming the beginning of Pride season in Canada, Chagger said this is the right time to celebrate the resilience, spirit, and presence of LGBTQ2 people in communities across this nation.
Canadians will celebrate Pride throughout the summer in new ways through virtual events from coast to coast to coast, "to celebrate and share the values of perseverance and solidarity that have been intrinsic to LGBTQ2 movements since the first Canadian LGBTQ2 rights protests in 1971," said Chagger.
Solidarity has always been essential to making progress across communities on protecting, human rights, said Chagger.
Advancement of LGBTQ2 rights is the work that began with the courage of Black and racialized trans women, who triggered the Stonewall Riots in 1969.
This movement was followed by many others to sustain anti-oppression movements, including individuals in small towns, Two-Spirit elders, gay and lesbian baby boomers, and youth, who infuse the movement with new visions for equality.
COVID-19's impact on LGBTQ2 communities have made them face heightened challenges due to unwelcoming or unsafe home settings, insecure employment, and barriers to accessing mental and physical health services.
With its commitment to better serving LGBTQ2 Canadians, government of Canada is building a society where everyone has equal rights and opportunities for success.
"As Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, and on behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, I encourages Canadians to take part in virtual celebrations this Pride season to honour and reflect upon the contributions and visibility of LGBTQ2 communities in all aspects of Canadian society, and recognize that diversity and inclusion strengthen our country, making it more vibrant and compassionate, said Chagger.
#NIHM; #IndigenousCulture; #IndigenousHistory; #IndigenousReads
Ottawa, Jun 2 (Canadian-Media): The following statement on National Indigenous History Month (NIHM) and Indigenous Reads was issued Jun 1 by Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, and Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, media reports said.
Image credit: Twitter handle of TASSC
"June is National Indigenous History Month, a time for celebrating Indigenous traditions, values, and cultures, as well as the strength of Indigenous Nations and communities. It is a time for learning about, appreciating and acknowledging the contributions First Nations, Inuit and Métis people have made in shaping Canada.
We recognize the importance and sacred nature of cultural ceremonies and celebrations that usually occur during this time. While celebrations and events for National Indigenous History Month may be different this year than those in past years, we can share and learn from stories, traditions and culture in new ways that still keep us together and connected.
Indigenous peoples on this land have relied on oral traditions - stories, lessons and knowledge - to maintain a historical record and sustain their cultures and identities from one generation to the next. This year, the technologies we now rely upon can provide even more opportunities for us to learn and communicate.
Through the month of June, we will be sharing our recommendations of stories about Indigenous issues, cultures and history as part of #IndigenousReads. Sharing a variety of works by Indigenous authors and helping to empower their voices is a critical part of reconciliation.
Many of the recommendations are available in e-book, audio format online, or available for online ordering and pick up from your local bookstore. Let others know what books you've chosen by sharing the titles on social media using #IndigenousReads.
We all play a role in healing the relationship between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous Canadians, which requires each of us to be action-oriented and address misinformation and racism. Understanding, empathy, compassion, education and action can help break down racism, and stories are a remarkable tool. That's why it's so important for all Canadians to learn about Canada's colonial history and issues including residential schools. Understanding the spirit and intent and the history of the Treaties, as well as Indigenous peoples' contributions to Canada as it is today is an opportunity to take part in those difficult conversations on our path to reconciliation. It's an opportunity to build a renewed relationship based on affirmation of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership with Indigenous peoples.
We encourage all Canadians to celebrate National Indigenous History Month by participating in the #IndigenousReads Campaign, among other initiatives that will be available to you online through our website and social media platforms. This month you will be able to watch an online stream of a concert, or play, or film. Tour a virtual exhibit from one of Canada's many museums. Learn about Indigenous languages, crafts, cooking and relationship with the natural world. Support an Indigenous community event or institution.
Make this a month for learning about the history of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people. As the historical backbone of our nation, the First Peoples of Canada, will provide a leadership role in its development and future."
#Ontario; #IndigenousWomen; #NationalIndigenousHistoryMonthinCanada; #PeacefulLife
Toronto, Jun 1 (Canadian-Media): An announcement regarding the establishment of a new Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council was made June 1, on the first day of National Indigenous History Month in Canada by the Ontario government, media reports said.
Government of Ontario. Image credit: Twitter handle
Indigenous women in Canada between the ages of 15-24 are reported to be over three times more likely to experience violence than non-Indigenous women and are two-and-a-half times more likely to experience spousal violence.
The Council would provide culturally-relevant advice on violence prevention, help indigenous communities to confront and eliminate the root causes of violence so that indigenous women and girls may lead a safe and secure life both today and for generations to come.
Co-chaired by Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, and a future member of the Council, the Council will focus on serious issues like human trafficking, child, youth and family healing and well-being, and Ontario’s response to the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Dunlop said there is an immediate need to actively work in partnership with Indigenous leaders and community to deal with violence in a culturally-relevant way.
The Council comprising of approximately 11 First Nations, Métis, Inuit and LGBTQ2S leaders and experts in violence prevention will meet twice annually.
An Elder/Traditional Knowledge Keeper will be invited to guide and support the Council.
Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs said he is proud of the important step taken by the province in establishing this Council.
Due to the absence of a dedicated provincial forum for Indigenous women and LGBTQ2S leaders to deal with violence prevention issues, the Council, with its expertise and knowledge, will be the Indigenous women’s voices guide on Ontario’s priorities on a range of critical issues.
#Ontario; #NationalIndigenousHistoryMonth; #Indigenous; #RichHistory
Toronto, Jun 1 (Canadian-Media): Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs, issued June the following statement on National Indigenous History Month:
Image credit: Twitter handle of TASSC
"National Indigenous History Month provides an opportunity for all Ontarians to celebrate Indigenous heritage, diversity and culture while acknowledging and reflecting on the achievements of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.
This month is an ideal time to learn more about the rich history of the Indigenous peoples who shaped our province and our country. Acknowledging our shared history builds understanding and helps preserve Indigenous culture, traditions and languages.
Although we cannot gather in person this year to mark this important occasion, there are many opportunities to participate in virtual events taking place throughout the month and I encourage everyone to take part."