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Ontario's Union for fairness, equality and respect at work.

Benjamin Castillo is grateful to have a union. 

As a member of the 2SLGBTQi community, he has found a second home with 1006OUTreach, a committee defined by its support, activism and acceptance. 

Since it was founded seven years ago, the 1006OUTreach committee has grown in numbers and scope, participating in more initiatives to foster inclusion and equality at work and in the community. 

“It’s important to raise awareness because we still have a long way to go to achieve equality for everyone – having a union means we are not fighting alone,” said Castillo, who works at a Toronto No Frills store.

Members, activists and staff regularly participate in Pride Parades across Ontario, including in London most recently, Durham, Brockville, and Toronto this summer. 1006OUTreach will be at Ottawa Pride on August 25. We also took part in Day of Pink (April 10) and the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (May 17). 

“Through the committee, we have an opportunity to educate others on what the 2SLGBTQi community has gone through and how people can be better allies,” said Castillo. 

An overarching purpose for the committee remains combating the discrimination, prejudice and violence faced by members of the 2SLGBTQi in our communities and society as a whole.

“We are proud of the outstanding work of our 1006OUTreach committee in standing up for equality and for being an incredible source of strength, comfort and empowerment for our members from the 2SLGBTQi community,” said President Wayne Hanley.

Members of 1006OUTreach say fundamental issues of discrimination and prejudice remain in communities. 

“Despite great progress in the last decade, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia still exist in the workplace and 2SLGBTQi members remain under-represented in diversity and inclusion conversations,” said Tania Liu, Coordiator of 1006OUTreach. 

In addition, statistics show that one-third of Canadians don’t see their workplace as 2SLGBTQI+ inclusive and that the community is disproportionally affected by bullying, violence, homelessness and mental health issues. Members of the 2SLGBTQI+ community are the targets of the most violent forms of hate crimes. 

“Unfortunately, misinformation and hate still exists in our society today and we still need to do more to create safe spaces and acceptance across the board,” said Josie Barberi, a 1006OUTreach member. “Until we get there, we need to continue educating and advocating for equality. Having the union allows people to have a voice. We need allies and when we all stand together, it leaves no room for hate.”

“It means a lot to know my union is with me as an openly gay man fighting for equality for everybody,” said Ian Stables, a 1006OUTreach member. “The 1006OUTreach committee is important because we help spread knowledge and awareness about important issues the 2SLGBTQi community faces every day. Everyone deserves the right and freedom to be who they are.”

“For me, the support of the union feels like gaining a family,” said 1006OUTreach member Dani Hayes. “It’s important to have a community at your back and a network of support. It helps amplify one small voice and turn it into something stronger, louder and more effective for change. All people should be able to live as they choose without judgement or fear.”

Bullying in the Workplace

Bullying, discrimination and prejudice comes in many different forms. It could be a supervisor addressing you with the wrong pronoun, a colleague commenting on the way you dress or walk, or someone questioning if you were in the right washroom at work. If you see something like this happening at your workplace, we encourage you to speak up or contact your union representative. Your union is here to support you. 

2SLGBTQi – Acronym Explained

Two-Spirited, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer/Questioning, Intersex