OACAS is a proud ally of LGBT2SQ+ communities. Together with our members, we celebrate the rich diversity of, and support equal rights for, the plurality of LGBT2SQ+ identities.
We know that child welfare agencies in Ontario support a high number of LGBT2SQ+ children and youth. These children and youth often experience family and community rejection, high rates of suicide, homelessness, and trauma because of homophobia, transphobia, heterosexism, and cissexism. That is why it is critical that Children’s Aid Societies and Indigenous Child and Family Well-Being Agencies provide effective, affirming, and equitable services that support Ontarians of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. Children’s Aid Societies and Indigenous Child and Family Well-Being Agencies are currently reviewing recommendations developed from the first-ever organizational self-assessment tool to determine their readiness and capacity to support and care for LGBT2SQ+ children, youth, and families. They will use these recommendations to make changes at all levels of their organizations to ensure they are providing the best possible services to all members of their communities.
As a provincial association, we are committed to affirming equal rights, embracing and supporting the plurality of identities, and working in partnership with all levels of government to create safe spaces for all young people in our province and beyond. Recently, OACAS shared our support for Bill C-6: An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Conversion Therapy). We believe that all Ontarians, but in particular children, youth and families, must be protected from persecution and discrimination based on gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
The Ontario child welfare sector is also committed to prioritizing LGBT2SQ+ equity in the workplace. We are facilitating supportive virtual spaces for staff to gather, analyzing data on staff experiences across the province, and providing additional educational opportunities to learn about the unique and intersectional needs of LGBT2SQ+ communities.
We believe that everyone deserves to be protected from persecution and discrimination, but more than that they deserve to be honoured, loved, and celebrated.
Happy Pride 2021!