November 28, 2017 - The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) welcomes today’s apology to LGBTQ2 Canadians, hopeful that it will help bolster continued societal shifts toward equity and inclusion.
“This apology is an important step,” stated CASW President Jan Christianson-Wood, “and can hopefully begin to offer some peace to all those who were victims of these hateful and prejudiced policies: you have not been forgotten, and you deserve not only recognition of your pain, but also a commitment to a better Canada moving forward.”
The apology, made by Prime Minister Trudeau, is comprehensive, addressing the widespread persecution and criminalization of LGBTQ2 Canadians in different forms, and provides official pardon to those convicted. Today’s remarks are in great part the result of tireless advocacy by many groups and individuals who refused to let past and ongoing injustices go unnoticed.
“While we welcome this apology, there is a danger that it can be seen to place injustices firmly in the past, or erase ongoing realities,” continued Christianson-Wood, “let me be clear that we cannot rest – hatred and discrimination against LGBTQ2 Canadians is ongoing; still embedded in many Canadian policies, institutions, and systems. This is not just a historic problem, but a current one.”
While the formal act of apology is a key piece toward promoting healing and ensuring that history is never repeated, the remarks must be a catalyst for continued societal change.
“Of course, we must continue to amend our policies and laws to protect and honour LGBTQ2 Canadians, but the work of changing the culture of workplaces, institutions, and systems must take place at the same time and must involve us all,” concluded Christianson-Wood. “Social workers remain committed to being bold allies in our advocacy work for large scale change, as well as in our personal circles and everyday interactions.”
For more information:
Fred Phelps, MSW, RSW