Advocates Question Government Commitment To LGTBQ Refugees


Although Canada is a pioneer when it comes to the ggrowing acceptance of the LGBT community, advocates are beginning to have doubts over funding issues that could reduce the number of LGBT refugees that are allowed to settle in Canada.

For many people who identify as LGBT who live in other countries, their lives are litterally at risk, and according to Sharalyn Jordan, chair of the B.C-based Rainbow Refugee, Canada is about the safest place for these people to live.

“There are very few countries that can be safer places, safer havens, for LGBT refugees and Canada is one of them,” she said. “Other countries like the U.S. that used to play the role have cut back. They’re not a welcome space for refugees anymore and it’s important for Canada to take on that role.”

Speaking with CBC news, Jordan says she is worried that government funding will dry up, due to long processing time, and inadequate training for visa officers.

Janet Dench, is the director of the Canadian Council for Refugees and states that she is disappointed with the effort being put forth by the government when it comes to how they are handling the training of visa officers to deal with the sensitive nature of refugees who identify as LGBT.

“Sometimes Canadian officials are not suitably sensitive to the realities of LGBT individuals,” she said.

Canada is estimated to allow more than 43,000 refugees into Canada next year, many of them who identify as LGBT.

“I think we have more work to do as a government to make sure the settlement supports are equitable for LGBTQ refugees and that’s what the secretariat and I are working on to make sure that takes place,” Randy Boissonnault, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s special adviser on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two-spirit and queer issues.


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