Federal government extends LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund

$7.5 million earmarked for existing recipients, plus new monies for two additional queer and trans community projects

On Wednesday afternoon, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth Marci Ien announced that the federal government would be extending the LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund for another year, with an additional $7.5 million for existing recipients, as well as $800,000 for two queer and trans community projects.

“Today’s announcement responds to these concerns and reaffirms the Government of Canada’s commitment to ensure these organizations, and the people that work for them, can continue to deliver programming, provide educational services, and ultimately be there for those that need them most,” Ien said in a press release accompanying the announcement.

The fund was launched in 2020—a first in Canadian history—with money going to 76 queer- and trans-centric groups across the country. Additionally, a $15 million LGBTQ2 Project Fund was announced in Budget 2021; the government says they will launch a call for application proposals in the spring.

Organizations who received the capacity building funds were hoping for news of the extension in advance of their March 31 expiration date, as many are concerned about the ability to retain staff without them.

The two additional projects receiving funding are Rainbow Faith and Freedom, an Ontario-based project that aims to work toward ending religious-based discrimination in the faith sector, and Imprint Youth Association, which is working to build and strengthen capacity in accessing gender-affirming health care in New Brunswick.

Rainbow Faith and Freedom plans a 24-month project that will include developing a survey to evaluate the degree of inclusion in the faith sector and an awareness campaign about religious-based LGBTQ2S+ discrimination, along with offering educational programming and training.

Imprint Youth Association is a 25-month project that is developing a training and mentorship program for primary care providers in the province, with additional plans to develop educational and training materials in urban and rural New Brunswick contexts.

“While more action is needed to build stable funding infrastructure for 2SLGBTQI+ frontline services, we applaud Women and Gender Equality Canada for this significant step.

Tyler Boyce, executive director of the Enchanté Network, has been advocating for the extension of the LGBTQ2 Capacity Fund. (Enchanté is one of the 76 recipients of the fund who will benefit from the extension.)

“While more action is needed to build stable funding infrastructure for 2SLGBTQI+ frontline services, we applaud Women and Gender Equality Canada for this significant step towards a Canada where everyone is able to thrive,” Boyce stated in an email response to the news of the extension.

“The extension to the Capacity Fund responds directly to the concerns expressed by LGBTQ2 organizations and the government will continue to look into ways to support their critical work,” says Johise Namwira, spokesperson for Ien. “LGBTQ2 organizations are also encouraged to apply to the Projects Fund in spring 2022.”

 

Ien’s office has not yet clarified when LGBTQ2S+ groups can expect to hear the details of an additional $40 million fund promised in the Liberal Party’s 2021 election platform.

Namwira says they are working with advocates and community leaders and that more details from the LGBTQ2 Action Plan will be released next month—that’s past the previously promised deadline of releasing funds within the first 100 days of the cabinet shuffle. The full plan won’t be released until later.

Clarification: February 4, 2022 9:56 amAfter this story was first published, Marci Ien’s office offered a clarification on when details of the LGBTQ2 Action Plan will be released; that information has been added to this story.

Dale Smith is a freelance journalist in the Parliamentary Press Gallery and author of The Unbroken Machine: Canada's Democracy in Action.

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