ontario news watch

Seamus O’Regan gives impassioned defence of global LGBTQ labour rights

OTTAWA — Federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan spoke strongly in favour of keeping LGBTQ rights enshrined in labour standards this week while a United Nations agency faced a push to remove them.

Some countries in Africa and the Middle East had called on the International Labour Organization to cut phrasing from its budget about protecting workers on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The United Nations agency sets international standards on issues such as child labour, the right to unionize and anti-discrimination law.

O’Regan told the meeting in Geneva he married his male partner after Canada allowed same-sex marriage and that despite warnings from conservative groups about dire consequences, “no one has married a horse.”

The budget passed, but during debate countries such as Oman argued, according to official meeting minutes, the organization was using “divisive language” that “went against the universality of human values.”

O’Regan argues that logic will lead to a backsliding in hard-won rights for vulnerable workers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 14, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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