Canada welcomes global cooperation on LGBTQ2 rights

News Release

June 8, 2017 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

Canada believes all individuals must be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity.

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Randy Boissonnault, the Prime Minister’s Special Advisor on LGBTQ2 (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two spirited) Issues, today welcomed two developments in global cooperation to advance the rights of LGBTQ2 people.

The Government of Canada is pleased to announce that it will be the new co-chair of the Equal Rights Coalition, the first inter-governmental network formed to promote and protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, and intersex people around the world. More than 30 countries have joined the Coalition since its launch in July 2016 at the Global LGBTI Human Rights Conference in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Canada assumes its role as co-chair today, at an Equal Rights Coalition working meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. Canada sincerely thanks the governments of Uruguay and the Netherlands for their work in bringing together the Equal Rights Coalition and in guiding it through its first steps.

Through the Coalition, we will reach out to people and groups in other countries, to support their efforts to provide better protection for the human rights of LGBTQ2 people everywhere.

Today Canada is also pleased to congratulate The Commonwealth Equality Network (TCEN) on its accreditation within the broader Commonwealth community. For more than a decade the Equality Network has challenged discrimination and countered homophobia and transphobia around the world—and today it represents a diversity of civil society organizations within the 52 member nations of the Commonwealth. This step will ensure that LGBTQ2 rights are an ever more important priority for the Commonwealth.


“As a strong, vocal, and forceful advocate for equal human rights for all, Canada is committed to combatting discrimination, violence, and unjust laws targeting the LGBTQ2 community around the world.

The Equal Rights Coalition will bring governments and civil society together in a way never done before internationally. Canada is thrilled to contribute to this effort as co-chair. The world needs to move quickly to end discrimination and violence against LGBTQ2 people. Human rights are universal and indivisible, and these include the human rights of LGBTQ2 people.”

- Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs

“Canadians are proud of the progress we have made at home in recognising and protecting the rights of our LGBTQ2 citizens.  We are proud of our successes and we are working to address the challenges that remain.  We now have an exciting opportunity to share our experience with other countries.”

- Randy Boissonnault, M.P., Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 issues

Quick Facts

  • More than 70 countries criminalize same-sex conduct using laws that often date back to the colonial era.

  • Sexual acts between consenting adults of the same sex remains a criminal offence in 36 of the 52 Commonwealth states.

  • In 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.

  • On May 2016, the Government of Canada introduced legislation to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.

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Andrew Korenic
Office of the Special Advisor on LGBTQ2 issues

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