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Friday, October 22, 2021

Feds unveil $15M in funds for 76 LGBTQ community projects

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With pandemic-related closures and restrictions limiting the ways LGBTQ Canadians can gather and access community-specific supports, the federal government is hoping a new series of small grants will give dozens of community projects a boost.

From $400,000 in funding for a national initiative aimed at expanding two-spirit advocacy, to $239,000 to improve LGBTQ youth housing access in the Prairies, 76 community groups are being sent nearly $15 million from the federal Liberals to help build up their capacity to do things like hire staff and solidify organizational structures.

Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth Bardish Chagger and Minister for Women and Gender Equality Maryam Monsef made the announcement Thursday morning, after the call for proposals went live last spring.

Known as the LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund and first announced in the 2019 federal budget, the intent is to put federal dollars towards strengthening organizations that are focused on advancing equality among Canadians of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions.

In Atlantic Canada, eight organizations are receiving a combined $1.5 million in funds. This includes a project to create a network of service providers in Newfoundland and Labrador, and an initiative to develop culturally-relevant resources for underrepresented queer youth in Nova Scotia.

Nineteen Quebec organizations are being given a combined $3.6 million in funding, including to consultation projects to better understand the challenges of marginalized LGBTQ families, and specific needs of the province’s trans communities.

In Ontario, 26 groups are receiving a combined $4 million in funding. The money will go towards projects such as making long-term care homes, rehabilitation centres, and retirement homes more inclusive in Windsor, Ont., and to improve community programs in several cities and towns such as improving access to gender-affirming medical care.

Eleven community groups in the Prairies are being given a combined $2.5 million in funds, including groups focused on francophone queer communities and to develop new LGBTQ centres in the region.

And, 12 organizations in British Columbia and the territories are receiving a total of $3 million, to boost area pride celebrations and engage racialized voices within communities.

While this funding is largely going to groups that want to build up their organizational structures, the federal government is facing calls for additional supports in other areas, such as for LGBTQ business owners, and for increased mental health funding.

The long-promised end of the blood donation ban for gay men and some other folks in the LGBTQ community also remains in place, years after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed it’d be eradicated. 

The federal government is in the process of creating an LGBTQ-specific “action plan” and has been seeking feedback to “better understand” the lived realities of queer Canadians, through a survey. Submissions are being accepted until the end of this month. 

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