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Report Finds Income Disparities Among LGBTQ2+ Canadians

A new report released by Statistics Canada on April 19th has highlighted the educational and economic outcomes of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in Canada. The report reveals that LGBTQ2+ Canadians are more likely to hold a university degree than their heterosexual counterparts. Among the overall Canadian-born population aged 25 to 64 years, 38.0% of gay or lesbian people held a bachelor's degree or higher compared to 28.3% of their heterosexual counterparts. More than half of gay or lesbian immigrants (55.0%) and nearly half of bisexual (49.6%) and heterosexual (45.8%) immigrants aged 25 to 64 years had at least a bachelor's degree, which is a higher percentage than that of Canadian-born people of the same sexual orientations.


This report shed light on the fact that heterosexual individuals, among the Canadian-born population aged 25 to 64 years, who were employed full-time in the week prior to the survey, had the highest median annual employment income of $58,000. On the other hand, gay or lesbian individuals earned a lower median income of $50,100 compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Among the Canadian-born population of the same age group, bisexuals had the lowest median earnings of $38,800. This income gap is a matter of concern, particularly given the finding that LGBTQ2+ Canadians may be more economically vulnerable. A separate report, published in June 2021, revealed that the average personal income of LGBTQ2+ income earners in Canada was significantly lower, at $39,000, compared to non-LGBTQ2+ individuals who earned $54,000 in 2018.


Although Canada is considered one of the most LGBTQ2+-friendly countries in the world and has been recognized for its extensive rights for LGBTQ2+ people, income disparity remains a significant issue. The income disparity is particularly concerning as it may lead to other issues, including housing insecurity, limited access to health care, and limited job opportunities.


Canada is home to approximately one million people who are LGBTQ2+, accounting for 4% of the total population aged 15 and older in 2018. The legalization of same-sex marriage in 2005 was a significant milestone in Canada's history, and the country was the fourth in the world, and the first in the Americas, to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. Canada's strong stance on LGBTQ2+ rights has earned it the title of the most gay-friendly country in the world, according to the Gay Travel Index chart in 2021. Despite this progress, however, income disparities and economic vulnerability for LGBTQ2+ Canadians continue to be a significant issue.


The income disparities faced by LGBTQ2+ Canadians are not solely due to discrimination or lack of access to job opportunities. Other factors, including family support and education levels, also play a role. LGBTQ2+ individuals may face additional challenges in accessing family support, which can negatively impact their ability to access resources, including education and job opportunities. A lack of access to these resources can result in limited economic opportunities and lower incomes.


The report's findings underscore the importance of ongoing efforts to support LGBTQ2+ individuals in Canada, including increasing access to education and job opportunities, addressing discrimination, and ensuring that the necessary support systems are in place to address the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ2+ individuals.


To address these disparities, there have been several initiatives in Canada aimed at improving the economic outcomes of LGBTQ2+ individuals. For example, in 2019, the federal government of Canada established the LGBTQ2+ Secretariat, which is dedicated to advancing the rights of LGBTQ2+ individuals in Canada. The Secretariat has been tasked with developing policies and programs that will improve the economic outcomes of LGBTQ2+ individuals, including employment opportunities, access to education, and support for mental health and well-being.


The reports from Statistics Canada serve as a reminder that while Canada has made significant progress in advancing the rights of LGBTQ2+ people, there is still work to be done to ensure that all Canadians are able to live their lives free from discrimination and bias. By continuing to promote diversity and inclusivity in all areas of society, Canada can become an even more welcoming and accepting country for all.

Edited By: Ritaja Kar

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