Sunday, May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. CUPE Ontario encourages all members to join us in marking this day and renewing our commitment to take action in workplaces and communities to end discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
CUPE Ontario strongly supports important steps toward equality, including Toby’s Law, which amended the Ontario Human Rights Code to include gender identity and expression, and NDP MP Randall Garrison’s Bill C-279, which is currently before the senate and seeks to amend the Canadian Human Rights Code.
As a union, we have also developed and successfully negotiated collective agreement language on many equality fronts, including specific language to support transgendered members in our workplaces. We are proud that CUPE was one of the very first unions to bargain protections and advance equality for the LGBTQ community.
We fight for these rights because they are the rights of our members, because our members voted to stand up for them, and because ending discrimination and harassment is at the core of our beliefs.
An important part of that fight is standing up for public services for the LGBTQ community. For example, CUPE Ontario played an important role in the human rights case that led to gender reassignment surgery being put back into OHIP.
Government austerity has put equity and equality on the back-burner in too many workplaces. Today, that austerity is driving a privatization push. Let us be clear: In the private sector, the top priority is always profit, not equality. Privatizing services like Hydro One impacts everyone, with equity-seeking groups being hardest hit. This is one reason why CUPE Ontario fights for reliable public services that are available for everyone. (You can join the fight at KeepHydroPublic.ca.)
We encourage all LGBTQ members and allies to join us at Pride events around the province and show “Pride in Public Power.” You will find a calendar of events running from now until October at cupe.on.ca/Pride.