In every corner of the province, hundreds of CUPE Ontario members are supporting LGBTQ rights at more than a dozen local Pride events, from Guelph Pride in early May to Chatham-Kent Pride at the end of September.

“We are proud of our long history of leadership in the labour movement on LGBTQ issues. Together with community activists, we have, for years, been at the forefront of the fight for equality for all,” said Patrick Hannon, CUPE Ontario Diversity Vice-President, LGBTQ, at the London Pride Parade on July 27. CUPE pioneered the use of collective bargaining to advance equality and anti-harassment policies in the workplace. Members voted at a 1985 convention that their union’s policy would be to bargain such language into contracts. In Ontario, CUPE was part of the fight for equal marriage and full spousal recognition. It brought forward the Rosenberg case, which led the Supreme Court to direct the
federal government to re-write the definition of spouse in the Income Tax Act to recognize  same-sex spouses.

CUPE Ontario also proudly supported member Martine Stonehouse in her landmark human rights case against the Ministry of Health when it stopped coverage for gender reassignment surgery. This important challenge ultimately led to the re-listing of this important health-care support. “It was incredible seeing hundreds of CUPE Ontario members and millions of people at World Pride in Toronto,” said CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn. “But Pride events in smaller communities are just as important in the fight to advance fairness for LGBTQ workers.

CUPE members’ participation in Pride events across the province is a clear demonstration of our union’s commitment to equality and our communities, while also being a lot of fun.”