CCGSD Recommendations for the 2023 Federal Budget

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CCGSD’s Written Submission for Consultations in Advance of the 2023 Federal Budget

October 5, 2022 

Recommendation 1: That the government commit $60 million between 2023 and 2026 to extend and expand the Sexual and Reproductive Health Fund.
Recommendation 2: That the government allocate $15 million over three years towards the development of a Strategy for combating anti-2SLGBTQI+ hate.
Recommendation 3: That the government invest $2 million to improve employment outcomes for transgender, Two Spirit, and gender diverse youth.


The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the landscape and experiences of 2SLGBTQI+ communities in Canada. Many in-person community spaces were forced to close due to a lack of business in 2020 and 2021, leaving queer and trans Canadians with less safe, inclusive spaces to gather. 2SLGBTQI+ youth were less able to find connection with peers, and online learning meant that for some students, they could not safely talk about themselves or their experiences. 2SLGBTQI+ people already made up a disproportionate percentage of the homeless population in Canada, and the pandemic only made that statistic worse. As 2023 approaches, there is an opportunity for continued investment in 2SLGBTQI+ communities to ensure these challenges can be overcome.

As an organization dedicated to a future without discrimination for 2SLGBTQI+ youth, the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity is keenly aware of what a crucial moment this is for the future of our communities. On the one hand, we have seen unprecedented investment and support for 2SLGBTQI+ community needs from this government. The creation of a Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Secretariat, capacity building and project funding for 2SLGBTQI+ civil society organizations, the banning of conversion therapy, and, most recently, the establishment of the first National 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan are all transformative steps for the future of Canadian 2SLGBTQI+ communities. At the same time, however, there is still work to be done.

The health, safety, and rights of 2SLGBTQI+ are facing unprecedented pushback from political actors both within Canada and around the world. In a time where bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights are under attack, established medical best practices for supporting transgender people in affirming their gender are being questioned and restricted, especially for trans youth. Anti-2SLGBTQI+ hate crimes have skyrocketed in Canada, and the proliferation of extremism on online platforms creates a new dimension to combating harassment and discrimination. And transgender, Two Spirit, and gender diverse youth continue to face barriers to employment in this country. 

The recommendations contained in this report are intended to safeguard sexual and reproductive health and rights for everyone across the country, protect vulnerable individuals against hate crimes, and reduce barriers to access to Canada’s workforce. Through these investments, this government would continue its status as a champion for the needs of all Canadians, particularly those who have historically not been considered in the development of documents like the Federal Budget.


Context and justification for Recommendation 1: extending and expanding the Sexual Health Fund

Health Canada’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Fund, based on a commitment in Budget 2021, was created to support a wide range of evidence-informed and innovative projects for people in Canada who are at increased risk for poorer SRH outcomes, such as 2SLGBTQI+ individuals, Indigenous and racialized people, women and youth. This funding is now supporting projects that will provide capacity building for healthcare providers and educators, encourage community health leadership, and improve access to abortion and other sexual and reproductive healthcare. 

The funding received by the CCGSD under this program will support the development of tools to improve 2SLGBTQI+ focused sexual health education across the country, ensuring that teachers and other professionals who work with youth have the tools and knowledge they need to support queer and trans young people.

The Sexual and Reproductive Health Fund is currently scheduled to expire on March 31, 2024, with no possibility for continued funding or support past that date. While these investments have created groundbreaking opportunities for civil society organizations to engage in sexual and reproductive health research, education, and intervention, the short timeline of this funding is a significant barrier to ensuring long-term improvement of SRH outcomes for Canadians who face the greatest barriers to access.

By extending this funding for an additional three years starting in 2024, and by expanding the funding envelope from $15 million to $20 million per year, this government can ensure the important work currently underway can continue while also creating opportunities for new sexual and reproductive health projects to remove barriers to access and improve SRH outcomes. 


Context and justification for Recommendation 2: investment in a strategy to combat anti-2SLGBTQI+ hate

Data published by Statistics Canada in August of this year revealed a disturbing statistic: the number of hate crimes targeting sexual orientation rose 64% from 2020 to 2021. While the total number of hate crimes in Canada increased in the same time period, it grew by 27% – less than half the rate of hate crimes targeting 2SLGBTQI+ individuals. Since this data does not contain information on hate crimes based on gender identity, and that this data is police-reported and 2SLGBTQI+ people are less likely to report having been the victim of a crime than non-2SLGBTQI+ individuals, it is likely the actual number of hate crimes was even higher than published.

These statistics come in the context of a global backlash against 2SLGBTQI+ rights and freedoms, and in a time when transgender healthcare is being used as a wedge issue to push people towards radicalization against equality and human rights protections.

While this Government has invested in a National Anti-Racism Strategy through the Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat, the transphobia, homophobia, and discrimination being directed at members of the 2SLGBTQI+ community manifests differently and so requires different solutions. It is notable that much of this hate originates online on social media platforms, and is being fueled and intensified by individuals living in other countries. 

A Federal Strategy to Combat Anti-2SLGBTQ+ Hate, developed over the next three years, would be a crucial tool in addressing this unprecedented spike in hate crime incidents targeting sexual orientation. It would take into account the role that privately owned online platforms play in aiding or halting the spread of anti-queer and trans rhetoric, especially when it originates outside of Canada. It would also be an important step towards ensuring 2SLGBTQI+ children and youth feel safe at school and in their communities. This work has begun in the consultation on harmful online content led by the Ministry of Canadian Heritage, but further research is needed on the specific harms experienced by 2SLGBTQI+ people online.

It is also important to recognize that those who bear the heaviest weight of queerphobic and transphobic hate are 2SLGBTQI+ people who are also impacted by racism including Black, Indigenous, and other racialized people. This new strategy should therefore build upon the knowledge gained by this government during the development of the Federal Anti-Racism Strategy and the National 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan. It should also be an interdepartmental collaboration led by the 2SLGBTQI+ Secretariat within the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality, with input from other departments including Public Safety and Heritage. 


Context and justification for Recommendation 3: creating jobs for Two Spirit, transgender, and gender diverse youth

Members of the 2SLGBTQI+ community face significantly higher risks of unemployment, poverty and homelessness, especially those who are transgender, Two Spirit, or gender diverse. According to a data analysis report conducted by Statistics Canada, “the age and gender distribution of the LGBTQ2+ population was also associated with higher risk for experiencing loss of employment especially since the impacts of COVID-19.”

A 2019 report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health titled “The Health of LGBTQIA2 Communities in Canada” established that some transgender youth struggle to find work because of issues with name changes or access to ID. Additionally, 50% of transgender youth live in low-income neighbourhoods (compared to 37% of the general population). This is consistent with the Stats Canada report quoted above, where “in Canada, youth (aged 15-24) have experienced the largest and most persistent declines in employment.”

Transgender and Two Spirit people also face high levels of harassment and discrimination in the workplace. The 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan’s National Survey indicated that 42% of Two Spirit people and almost half of transgender people have experienced workplace harassment due to their identity. While there is limited federal data available on anti-trans workplace discrimination, the 2019 Trans Pulse Ontario study found that 28% of transgender people in Ontario could not get employment references with their current name or pronouns, and that 50% had either explicitly or implicitly been refused a job because of their transness.

We applaud this government’s work towards improving employment equity in Canada, including through the ongoing legislative review of the Employment Equity Act. We also support “Opportunity for All,” Canada’s first poverty reduction strategy. However, it is crucial that efforts to reduce poverty be made through an intersectional lens. This is why investments must be made to improve access to employment for 2SLGBTQI+ youth, specifically those who identify as transgender, Two Spirit, and/or gender diverse. 

One of the ways the Government can improve employment outcomes for transgender, Two Spirit, and gender diverse youth is through additional investment in research. Through the Centre for Gender, Diversity, and Inclusion Statistics, federal data on transgender employment and workplace discrimination should be collected and used to inform future policy decisions. The CCGSD recommends that funding be dedicated to the Centre for this specific purpose. 

Additionally, while existing career development programs like the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) or the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness Program (STAR) highlight the need to address barriers to access to the trades for women, newcomers, Indigenous people, and persons with disabilities, they do not consider the needs of transgender workers. The CCGSD recommends that the government augment existing career development programs like UTIP and STAR with additional funding designed to address the disparities faced by transgender, Two Spirit, and gender diverse job seekers.



These recommendations are designed to continue the work this government has engaged in throughout its mandate to ensure that 2SLGBTQI+ people across the country are given the tools and resources they need to feel safe, supported, and successful. These recommendations would build on existing funding for queer and trans community initiatives, and prioritize education as a tool to combat hate and improve access to the workforce.

Finally, while not addressed specifically here, the CCGSD agrees with and has endorsed the recommendations made via written submission by the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund and the Dignity Network Canada. 


About the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity

The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) is a national organization dedicated to building a future without discrimination for 2SLGBTQI+ youth. The CCGSD’s mission is to empower gender and sexually diverse communities through education, research, and advocacy. Guided by the goals of the communities in which we work, we undertake our mission with both empathy and compassion since it is what the communities we serve deserve.

Since 2005, CCGSD has been working towards this mission primarily through education. Each year, we reach tens of thousands of Canadian youth in schools through workshops in their classrooms. Our youth outreach and engagement projects reach thousands more youth either virtually or through partnerships with locally-focused community organizations. Learn more about the CCGSD at


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