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In Canada, organizations across sectors have recently begun to acknowledge and attempt to address disparities faced by transgender and gender non conforming people through a variety of trans inclusion practices and policies such as washroom retrofitting, employee resource groups, mentorship programs and targeted hiring. In 2019, Pride at Work Canada and The Institute for Gender at the Economy at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management partnered to conduct the first trans inclusion workplace policies audit across Canada’s large employers, making use of Pride at Work Canada’s partner network. The results show that large employers are taking some of the first steps towards basic accommodations but still have gaps in providing truly inclusive workplaces.

In celebration of the release of Transitioning Employers: A survey of policies and practices for trans inclusive workplaces (click here to download report and infographics) the Institute for Gender and the Economy and Pride at Work Canada co-hosted a livestream panel discussion. The event was introduced by Sarah Kaplan (she/her), Distinguished Professor and Director, Institute for Gender and the Economy, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, moderated by Jade Pichette (they/them), Manager of Programs, Pride at Work Canada, and featured a panel of community and corporate partners including: Laleh Moshiri (she/her), National Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Yasmeen Persad (she/her), Education and Training-Facilitator, The 519, and Kai Scott (he/him), President, TransFocus Consulting.

Key themes included the significance of being a proactive employer and using inclusion to drive diversity, leveraging gender diversity to spur innovative business practices for trans inclusion, and the intersectional identities that shape experiences for trans people.

“Trans people are not just trans people. We have so many multi-layered identities and all these different aspects…You might be addressing the trans issues, but you need to look at people from an intersectional lens.”

– Yasmeen Persad

In addition to the Transitioning Employers report, the 519’s “Creating Authentic Spaces” toolkit was recommended as a great resource for approaching or reworking inclusion policies.