Through dialogue, education and thought leadership, Pride at Work Canada/Fierté au travail Canada empowers Canadian employers to build workplaces that celebrate all employees regardless of gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Our learning, networking and community events happen across the country, advising, celebrating and connecting the most inclusive Canadian employers. We help private, public and nonprofit employers to create safer, more inclusive workplaces that recognize the skills of LGBTQ2+ people. The vision we share with our employer members is a Canada where every individual can achieve their full potential at work, regardless of gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
LGBTQ2+ people in Canada face significant barriers to employment and advancement in the workplace. It is estimated that between 5-12% of the Canadian population identifies as LGBTQ2+, but are over represented in our country’s homeless population (25%). Without the supportive network of their families, many LGBTQ2+ youth find it difficult to get their first job. The 2020 Trans Pulse Canada Survey showed that while 89% of trans people have at least some college or university education, about half make $30,000 per year or less.
For LGBTQ2+ people in Canada to confront today’s economic challenges they need good jobs with rising incomes. Because of stigma, stereotypes, bias and discrimination against LGBTQ2+ people, empowering community members with skills is simply not enough of a strategy. Pride at Work Canada operates as a member services agency for employers, offering institutional education and guidance to organizations that make a commitment to supporting LGBTQ2+ inclusion. Many employers see the economic benefit to engage in market-facing messages of support for LGBTQ2+ communities, particularly during Pride season. While a welcome show of support, this alone does not create opportunity for LGBTQ2+ people. In addition to supporting meaningful engagement with the public, we consistently underscore the importance of focused internal strategies to improve policies and practices that generate measurable outcomes for LGBTQ2+ employees and job seekers, not just the company’s bottom line.
Pride at Work Canada was founded in 2008 by a group of dedicated volunteers who sought to put LGBTQ2+ inclusion on the agenda of Canada’s largest employers, starting with just 12 employer members. In 2014 Pride at Work Canada, with 35 employer members, refreshed its strategy, taking a new focus on evidence-based practices in workplace diversity and providing crucial support to people who have inclusion outcomes as a deliverable of their job. Since then the organization has experienced exponential growth and now boasts over 180 employer members and dozens of community partners. Twelve years after its founding as a volunteer-run group mostly focused on Toronto and Montréal, Pride at Work Canada now employs 10 people and runs volunteer working groups with dozens of members in Calgary, Halifax, Montréal, Ottawa, St. John’s and Vancouver. We continue to learn every step of the way, celebrating the hard work of employers across Canada who work with us to build financial opportunity for LGBTQ2+ people who are eager for the opportunity to prove themselves.