Providing support to racialized members of 2SLGBTQI+ communities in Toronto
November 12, 2022 – Toronto, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada
Access to justice is a fundamental Canadian value and an integral part of a fair and just society based on the rule of law. The Government of Canada is committed to providing fair and equal access to justice for members of 2SLGBTQI+ and racialized communities across the country and addressing systemic racism and discrimination in all its forms and in all phases of the criminal justice system.
Today, on behalf of the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth accompanied by Gary Anandasangaree, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice Attorney General of Canada and Sebastian Commock, Manager of Legal Initiatives from The 519, announced that the Government of Canada is providing financial support for a project from The 519 that will support underserved members of 2SLGBTQI+ communities to reduce barriers to accessing relevant legal services and educational resources.
Through its Increasing Access to Justice & Legal Services for Racialized 2SLGBTQI+ Communities project, The 519 will:
- increase the legal services available to, and access to justice for, racialized members of 2SLGBTQI+ communities, by expanding dedicated services focused specifically on the needs and experiences of racialized clients
- increase access to legal information, advice, and support to enable racialized 2SLGBTQI+ community members to engage more meaningfully with and participate in the justice system
- improve the capacity of legal professionals and institutions to protect the rights of racialized 2SLGBTQI+ community members.
Justice Canada is providing $992,500 over four years through the Justice Partnership and Innovation Program.
“ For too many in Canada’s criminal justice system, racism and systemic discrimination remain ever-present lived realities. We recognize that racialized individuals who are also members of 2SLGBTQI+ communities may experience even further marginalization. By providing support to The 519, we are helping bring systemic change and assisting more people from diverse communities access appropriate legal supports. This investment will support our efforts to address systemic discrimination against members of 2SLGBTQI+ and racialized communities, and improve access to justice and fairness in our justice system.”
The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., K.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
“The 519 does essential work for 2SLGBTQI+ people here in our community. As the Member of Parliament for this area, and the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, I am thrilled to see our Government continuing to serve as a strong ally for the community. This investment will make a real impact on the lives of 2SLBTQI+ people served by the 519. I know it will continue paving the way forward to create a more inclusive and progressive society.”
The Honourable Marci Ien
Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth
“The 519 has a long history of advocating for the needs of 2SLGBTQI+ people, and we see every day how navigating bureaucracy of the legal system without the appropriate supports leads to detrimental impacts on the wellbeing of these communities. This funding is instrumental in allowing us to deepen and expand our work of reducing barriers for Black, Indigenous, People of Colour and 2SLGBTQI+ people accessing the justice system. This individualized support is central to ensuring that no one is left behind when it comes to access to justice. Thank you to Justice Canada, Minister Ien and Parliamentary Secretary Gary Anandasangaree for your generous support.”
Sebastian Commock, Manager of Legal Initiatives
“Justice does not exist when it is not accessible to all. It’s important that we recognize the frailty of our own legal systems. As a racialized queer person and a lawyer myself, I’m thrilled to expand our legal initiatives and support for vulnerable populations by providing services around issues most concerning racialized 2SLGBTQI+ communities to enable a more equitable, inclusive and accessible justice system. I’m grateful to Justice Canada for supporting our ongoing efforts and for the political leadership of Minister Ien and Parliamentary Secretary Gary Anandasangaree and their continued partnership on matters impacting our communities.”
Paul Jonathan Saguil, Board Chair
The 519 Board of Directors
Budget 2021 announced $21.5 million in funding over five years to support the provision of culturally appropriate legal information and resources and to pilot legal advice services for racialized communities across Canada. This funding will support organizations that provide free public legal education and information as well as organizations that provide legal services and advice to racialized communities.
Budget 2022 proposes to provide $85 million over four years, starting in 2022-23, to the Department of Canadian Heritage to support the work underway to launch a new Anti-Racism Strategy and National Action Plan on Combatting Hate. This funding will support community projects that ensure that Black and racialized communities and religious minorities have access to resources that support their full participation in the Canadian economy, while also raising awareness of issues related to racism and hate in Canada.
Between 2015 to 2018, racialized people accounted for a little less than one fifth (17%) of the lesbian, gay and bisexual population aged 15 years and over. Source: Statistics Canada. Table 13-10-0817-01 Socioeconomic characteristics of the lesbian, gay and bisexual population, 2015-2018
According to a qualitative study conducted in 2021 as part of the Serious Legal Problems Survey, participants who identify as 2SLGBTQI+ reported a wide variety of legal problems, including workplace discrimination, and issues in family law, immigration and refugee law, human rights law, criminal law, and the prison system. Participants reported discrimination in a number of settings, including employment, health systems and educational institutions. The findings suggest that sexual-minority individuals experience limited access to adequate legal assistance and encounter additional barriers to justice relative to cisgender heterosexual individuals. Source: rsd_rr2021_lgb-people-in-western-canada-eng.pdf (justice.gc.ca)
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Department of Justice Canada
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