Getting “a seat at the table” takes on new meaning as advocates and organizations arrive in Ottawa to take part in a federal study on LGBTQ2 health — the first of its kind.
The study, being conducted by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health (HESA), is hearing testimony in the form of research and expert opinion on LGBTQ2 Canadians’ physical, mental and sexual health.
Already a number of organizations have presented to the HESA committee — including Rainbow Health Ontario, Toronto PFLAG and Egale Canada Human Rights Trust.
Early themes emerging in the discussions include the disparities faced by LGBTQ2 Canadians when it comes to accessing health services, with seniors, young people and rural communities particularly affected. Stigma and mistrust were underscored as leading factors when looking at the disproportionate ways LGBTQ2 people face financial insecurity, homelessness and substance abuse.
Another major concern: the lack of health or social data when it comes to LGBTQ2 people.
After all, communities can’t rally to create meaningful policies or programs if they don’t know where the biggest barriers exist, and then track those issues to see if positive progress is being made.
In the coming weeks, CBRC and others will continue to present their work to members of HESA in the hopes of informing future steps the government can take to improve health outcomes for LGBTQ2 people living in Canada.
HESA is also inviting anyone to submit their own brief on the topic, with a deadline of May 2, 2019.
To learn more about the study, HESA or the ongoing hearings, check our dedicated page.
To hear the testimony of all presenters at the Meeting No. 137 HESA - Standing Committee on Health, review the evidence or read the minutes, visit the links below to the HESA webpage:
Egale Canada Human Rights Trust
Richard Matern, Director of Research and Policy
Rainbow Health Ontario
Devon MacFarlane, Director
Giselle Bloch, Board Member
University of Toronto
Lori E. Ross, Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health