Budget 2023: while investments in gender equity, sexual and reproductive health are cause for celebration, lack of new funding for 2SLGBTQI+ community signals government apathy to rising anti-trans hate
March 29, 2023
OTTAWA: During an unprecedented spike in anti-2SLGBTQI+ hate and violence both internationally and in Canada, Budget 2023’s failure to deliver new funding for 2SLGBTQI+ communities sends a clear message: additional support from the government will be limited, and queer and trans Canadians must face these threats alone. While this budget does contain some significant victories, the overall impression it leaves is that the federal government is treating the 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan as a finish line, not a starting point.
As Canada’s national 2SLGBTQI+ youth organization, the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) celebrates the adoption of our recommendation that the government extend the Sexual and Reproductive Health Fund. The commitment of $36 million over three years shows that this government sees the fundamental importance of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and education for all Canadians.
“We are pleased about the opportunities created for 2SLGBTQI+ youth by the extension for the Sexual and Reproductive Health Fund,” said Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah, CCGSD Executive Director. “This funding commitment will allow CCGSD and our allies to continue working towards truly comprehensive sexual education that creates better health outcomes for young people. A more queer-friendly, more feminist, and more compassionate sexual health education makes life better for everyone. CCGSD will continue advocating for the rights of 2SLGBTQI+ youth to access the sexual and reproductive care, services, and education they deserve.”
While CCGSD celebrates Budget 2023’s investment in sexual and reproductive health, as well as $160 million over three years towards gender equity, Budget 2023 does not include similar cause for celebration for the wider 2SLGBTQI+ community. It is disappointing that this budget does not include any new commitments to supporting the safety and well-being of queer and trans Canadians.
We are also dismayed by the lack of any specific investment to combat anti-2SLGBTQI+ hate. In its current form, we do not feel confident that the Communities at Risk: Security Infrastructure Program is structured in a way that will protect at-risk 2SLGBTQI+ events (such as pride festivals or drag story hours). While we look forward to the Action Plan to Combat Hate, there is no indication in Budget 2023 that it will contain any specific funding dedicated to combating anti-2SLGBTQI+ hate.
Owusu-Akyeeah added: “At a time when 2SLGBTQ+ youth and people across Canada are confronting a rise in hate, this budget falls short of providing dedicated funding to directly support our community.”
Outside of direct support for 2SLGBTQI+ communities, Budget 2023 fails to adequately address the health and housing crises Canada is currently facing. The lack of meaningful new investment to fix the housing crisis means queer and trans youth, who are massively overrepresented in Canada’s homeless population, will continue to struggle to find safe, affordable housing. Similarly, this budget does not deliver on the Mental Health Transfer promised in 2021, meaning that quality mental healthcare will remain out of reach for many 2SLGBTQI+ young people, especially those who are most vulnerable.
CCGSD also echoes Cooperation Canada’s concern around the massive cuts to international assistance funding contained in Budget 2023. These funding reductions come at a time where the rights of queer and trans people are under attack internationally, and SOGIESC rights and their defenders need as much support as they can get.
Budget 2023 includes some welcome funding commitments but does not go far enough to support 2SLGBTQI+ communities across Canada. While the messaging and language used by this government demonstrates commitment to the needs of queer and trans people, that allyship evidently does not extend to their funding priorities. 2SLGBTQI+ organizations across the country should view this budget as an indicator of the need for further advocacy and coordination.
Manager of Communications and Advocacy, CCGSD
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 ccgsd-ccdgs.org.