The City of Ottawa should reallocate funds from its policing budget to local LGBTQ+ health service providers.
The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) Budget 2022, awarded by the City of Ottawais $385 million. Meanwhile, the city’s 2022 community fundraising budget, encompassing LGBTQ+ resource centers such as kind spacerepresents only $27 million, despite public request.
Ottawa organizations dedicated to the well-being of LGBTQ+ communities are overwhelmed and underfunded. In 2021, a GoFundMe page was created to raise money for Kind Space so it could operate vital services despite the city’s lack of funding.
These vital services include a trans identity clinicwhich helps transgender people wishing to legally change their name and sex designation, and a reference service to other LGBTQ+ friends spaces in the city.
Another example of the overwhelming demand for LGBTQ+ services in Ottawa is the two-year program waiting list at the Trans Health Clinic at the Centretown Community Health Centre.
The seemingly endless wait time is unsurprising, according to recent reports from Trans Pulse Canada. In 2020, 42% of trans Ontarians reported having unmet health care needs and 55% rated their mental health as “fair or poor”.
While it is clear that Ottawa’s LGBTQ+ community needs better access to health services, it is also clear that the funding provided to this community needs to be redirected from the cities. overfunded police service.
In 2021, a Trans Pulse Canada investigation of 2,043 trans and non-binary Canadians found that 54% feared being harassed or arrested by police or security. If the City of Ottawa really cared about its LGBTQ+ community, it would pay attention to studies like these, which paint a picture of a community in need.
Although the city reallocated an additional $2 million to social services at the request of the OPS, this gesture paints a false picture of generosity. Behind this insincere transfer of funds is the $14 million increase in the police budget from 2021 to 2022.
With a municipal election on the horizon, mayoral candidates like Ariel Troster of Somerset Ward, who prioritize investments in health and social care as part of their campaigns, should be championed.
Canada’s capital should not be a place where LGBTQ+ people face systemic gaps and barriers to vital social services. The city’s police and community funding budgets should be better balanced to support members of minority communities.
Featured graphic from file.