PROVINCIAL ELECTION 1999 REPORT CARD
|Housing & Shelter||F||C||C|
|Administration of Justice||F||C||C|
|A||Party has taken all the necessary actions. Achievement exceeds expectations.|
|B||Party has taken most of the necessary actions. Achievement meets expectations.|
|C||Party has taken some of the necessary actions. Achievement approaches expectations.|
|D||Party has taken few of the necessary actions. Achievement falls significantly below expectations.|
|F||Party has not taken any necessary actions. Achievement fails even the most minimal expectations and/or has been detrimental to the LGB communities.|
*Note: This summary covers issues that reflect some of the major concerns of the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) communities in Ontario and it is not meant to be exhaustive. It is based on the performance of the three major provincial parties to date. It does not necessarily reflect platforms being put forward for provincial election ’99. Individual MPPs and candidates may disagree with their party’s position on certain issues.
None of the three major parties has given a significant amount of attention to the general healthcare concerns of the LGB communities, apart from HIV and AIDS issues.
CLGRO’s 1997 report, Systems Failure, used the experiences of LGBs with the healthcare system to generate 78 recommendations for urgently needed improvement.
- the PCs failed entirely to respond to the report
- the Liberals failed entirely to respond to the report
- the NDP raised a question in the legislature but did not follow up.
While in government
- since elected in 1995, the PCs have limited access to nutritional supplements, even when prescribed by a healthcare professional, unless proven to be the patient’s sole source of nutrition; in the early 80s, the PCs provided the first provincial funding for AIDS education and services
- the Liberals significantly increased provincial funding for community-based AIDS/HIV organizations and public education regarding HIV and AIDS issues
- the NDP introduced the Trillium Drug Program allowing people affected by HIV/AIDS to access expensive drugs
To date sexual orientation issues have been largely ignored by the education system, receiving little if any encouragement by the three major parties.
- the PCs brought in Bill 160, which radically changed the education system, leading to concerns of minorities being marginalized and threatening the equity policies and programs that have been established
- the Liberals took no action on sexual orientation issues in the education system
- the NDP encouraged equity and anti-violence policies in the school system, the latter of which included sexual orientation issues
In 1994, towards the end of their term in power, the NDP introduced Bill 167 to recognize same-sex spousal relationships. Homophobic comments were made by members of all three parties during the debate.
- all PCs voted against
- the Liberals, who in government had opposed changing the definition of “spouse” in provincial laws, at first supported the bill, then flip-flopped and said provisions dealing with the definition of “spouse” and the right to adopt should be dropped; most Liberal members voted against
- the NDP introduced the bill only after much stalling, insisted on a free vote, and (though most NDP voted for the bill) failed to get the legislation passed; against the wishes of the LGB communities, they agreed to the Liberalinsistence against changing “spouse” and against LGB adoption
Since it was elected, the current PC government has opposed or appealed every court or tribunal ruling favourable to same-sex relationship rights.
HOUSING AND SHELTER
LGB youth and seniors, LGBs abused in their relationships, unemployed and low-income LGBs, and LGBs with addictions and mental health problems are at high risk for homelessness. They are particularly affected by housing and shelter issues.
- the PCs (like the federal Liberals) have abandoned any responsibility for social housing, downloading it onto cash-strapped municipalities with years-long waiting lists; they opposed co-operative housing, have scrapped rent control, and have cut funding to shelters
- the NDP and the Liberals were supportive of co-operative housing, rent controls and tenants’ rights, which assisted many displaced LGBs
CLGRO’s 1997 report Systems Failure documents a massive distrust felt by members of the LGB communities for the social-service system. The report was ignored by the PCs and Liberals and not followed up by the NDP.
With the exception of some HIV/AIDS service-provision, little, if anything, has been done by past or current governments on specific LGB issues.
- the PCs discontinued funding for the Lesbian/Gay/Bi Youth Line; the government does not provide – or give funding to LGB organizations to provide – social services and guidelines for training social-service professionals in LGB issues
- the Liberals in government took no action
- the NDP government, late in its mandate, provided funding for the Lesbian/Gay/Bi Youth Line.
The Ontario Human Rights Code was amended in December 1986, by Bill 7, to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of “sexual orientation” in the areas of employment, housing, and access to services.
- the PCs repeatedly refused to add “sexual orientation” to the Code in the ’70s and ’80s; all but four PCs voted against Bill 7
- the Liberals did not initially include “sexual orientation” in Bill 7; in a free vote, most Liberals voted for Bill 7 with its inclusion
- the NDP was the first party to support the inclusion of “sexual orientation” in the Code and introduced the amendment to Bill 7
All three major parties have failed to provide adequate resources (including funding) to enable the Ontario Human Rights Commission to deal with human rights complaints and to conduct adequate internal and public education on sexual orientation issues.
All three parties have refused to amend the harassment section of the Code to include “sexual orientation” or change theCode‘s definition of “spouse” to include same-sex relationships.
All three major parties have ignored repeated requests to make training on sexual orientation issues mandatory for those serving on government tribunals and adjudicative bodies dealing with employment law, labour relations, and workers’ compensation.
Employment-equity legislation provided an opportunity for government to make employers responsible for providing workplaces free of systemic discrimination.
- the PCs have repealed the Employment Equity Act; they opposed legislative measures to remedy systemic discrimination; they discontinued research associated with employment-equity outcomes
- the Liberals did not support the introduction of the Employment Equity Act, calling it reverse discrimination; they opposed legislative measures to remedy systemic discrimination
- the NDP passed the Employment Equity Act, but excluded LGBs from it, despite LGB communities’ recommendations that they be included in the qualitative provisions
ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
All three parties have ignored requests to have judges, crown attorneys, and others in adjudicative, or policy-making capacities within the provincial justice system receive mandatory training on sexual-orientation issues.
- the PCs brought in the Police Services Act, which reduced civilian oversight of police services and gave more discretionary powers to chiefs of police
- the Liberals strengthened civilian oversight of police and processes for dealing with complaints against the police
- the NDP requested crown attorneys to pursue cases of gay bashing, strengthened civilian oversight of the police, and introduced the Special Investigations Unit
Written and published by:
Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario (CLGRO)
Published in hard copy with the help of:
The Lesbian and Gay Community Appeal and the John Damien Educational Trust
Graphic design of hard copy: