One-third of Canadians say workplace is not safe, inclusive for LGBTQ employees: Survey

LGBTQ workers face challenges in the workplace with one-third of Canadians believing their workplace is not safe and inclusive for LGBTQ employees. Forty-five per cent do not feel their workplace is safe and inclusive for transgender employees, found the survey of 814 Canadians, one-half of which identified as LGBTQ.Additionally, 30 per cent of LGBTQ respondents have experienced or witnessed homophobic or transphobic discrimination or harassment at work, with nearly one-half of the incidents going unreported to employers. Further, just 43 per cent of Canadians said their employer has clear policies and procedures in place to address discriminatory or harassing actions against LGBTQ employees, found the survey commissioned by Telus.

The study also found that 57 per cent of LGBTQ Canadians are not fully "out" at work: 22 per cent of those are worried about a hostile or unfriendly work environment, 15 per cent are worried it may limit their career opportunities and 10 per cent are concerned with their personal safety.

"Canadian business leaders have a responsibility to champion diversity and foster a culture of acceptance, appreciation and inclusiveness within their organizations," said Peter Green, senior vice-president, business solutions west, sales at Telus and global executive sponsor of Spectrum, Telus’ LGBTQ team member resource group. "It's imperative that all Canadians — regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, culture or abilities — feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work and sharing their personalities and uniqueness with confidence and trust that they will be respected and valued."

The study identified some of the most impactful ways Canadian businesses can create more diverse and inclusive working environments. LGBTQ respondents agreed that the following actions and activities would have a positive effect on diversity and inclusiveness in Canadian workplaces:

•Anti-harassment/discrimination policy (81 per cent)
•Diversity and inclusiveness training (66 per cent)
•Supporting/taking part in Pride celebrations (51 per cent)
•LGBTQ employee support/resource groups (50 per cent)
•Senior leaders supporting LGBTQ causes and events (50 per cent).