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MP Hedy Fry announces funding to advance gender equality for 2SLGBTQI+ communities in North Okanagan / Shuswap region

Press Release

From: Women and Gender Equality Canada

August 31, 2023

Every Canadian deserves to fully participate in all spheres of society, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. Too often, 2SLGBTQI+ communities face discrimination, violence, and barriers, which prevents them from actively participating in the social, political and economic aspects of society.

Today, the Honourable Hedy Fry, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, announced $294,523 for Essie’s Place to develop community-informed solutions to address key barriers facing 2SLGBTQI+ communities, with a focus on enhanced resources on safe sexual practices and better support for the Shuswap region and surrounding areas.

One year after the announcement of the Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan, the Government of Canada continues to prioritize building a safer and more inclusive country by supporting initiatives, such as this, to support 2SLGBTQI+ communities.

The Government of Canada will continue working to remove long-standing barriers to lasting freedom and equality in society. This includes fully implementing the key pillars of the 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan, like the 2SLGBTQI+ Projects Fund, advancing equality, and continuing to address systemic discrimination to build a Canada for everyone.


“Working with grassroots organizations is key to creating community-informed solutions to address barriers and gaps faced by 2SLGBTQI+ Canadians. This project takes an intersectional approach to providing accurate and bias-free information regarding safe sex practices. We will continue building on the progress of the historic 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan, while building a safer and more inclusive Canada.”

The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth

“As we strive for an inclusive society, it’s crucial that every Canadian can participate fully, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Discrimination and barriers faced by 2SLGBTQI+ communities hinder their engagement in social, political, and economic aspects of life. Through initiatives like Essie’s Place, we’re developing community-driven solutions to address these challenges.”

The Honourable Hedy Fry, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre

Quick facts

  • In 2021, 423 hate crimes targeting sexual orientation were recorded; this surpassed 2019’s total of 265 hate crimes. Of these crimes, nearly 8 in 10 (77%) specifically targeted the gay and lesbian population, while the remainder targeted the bisexual population (2%) and people of another sexual orientation that is not heterosexual, such as asexual and pansexual people (11%). (Statistics Canada, The Daily — Police-reported hate crime, 2021 [], released March 22, 2023)
  • In 2019, 7 in 10 youth aged 15 to 17 years reported that they had experienced bullying at some point in the preceding year. The risk of being teased, insulted, or excluded was heightened among sexually and gender diverse youth, which includes those who are transgender, non-binary and/or have same-gender attraction, compared with cisgender youth attracted exclusively to a different gender. (Statistics Canada, The Daily Study: Bullying victimization among sexually and gender diverse youth in Canada, 2022 [], released October 18, 2023).
  • As part of Budget 2021, the Government of Canada committed $12.7 million over three years to support community-informed initiatives to overcome issues facing 2SLGBTQI+ communities.
  • Launched in August 2022, the 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan:
    • Prioritizes and sustains 2SLGBTQI+ community action;
    • Continues to advance and strengthen 2SLGBTQI+ rights at home and abroad;
    • Supports Indigenous 2SLGBTQI+ resilience and resurgence;
    • Engages everyone in Canada in fostering a more inclusive future;
    • Strengthens 2SLGBTQI+ data and evidence-based policy making; and
    • Embeds 2SLGBTQI+ issues in the work of the Government of Canada.

Associated links


Johise Namwira
Press Secretary and Issues Manager
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth

Media Relations
Women and Gender Equality Canada


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