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London Pride plans to apply for funding as feds offer $1.5M for increasing security costs

(File image) (File image)

London Pride is one of several organizations that plans to apply for funding this month as the federal government announced Fierté Canada Pride will receive $1.5 million to support anti-hate measures for Pride festivals.

“While we certainly welcome it, it is in this context of unprecedented levels of hate against the LGBTQ2S+ community and so of course it’s a concern. But what we’re seeing in communities across the country, event organizers, performers, activists being targeted for who they are,” said Toby Whitfield, executive director of Capital Pride.

On Tuesday, Whitfield said Canada Pride will distribute the money to local event organizers who apply for assistance and who are eligible.

“It’s part of efforts we’ve been undertaking over the last few months to make sure that pride festivals feel safe and our communities feel safe to celebrate loudly and proudly,” he added.

The National Association of Canada Pride organizations sent the federal government an “emergency funding proposal” in May, asking for $1.5 million to help cover the costs of safety and security that have gone up since a rise in anti-LGBTQ2S+ hate, violence, and threats.

The funding will go towards increasing expenses during Pride season this year, including security and police services, volunteer training, and insurance premiums. In addition to safety gear, they will need training for staff and volunteers, as well as barricades and fencing.

Minister of Women and Gender Equality and Youth Marci Ian confirmed the funding plan during an event across the street from Parliament Hill on Monday.

"A constituent said to me just the other day: 'Marci, this Pride is different. We've never seen this amount of rage, we've never seen this amount of hate directed towards us,'" the minister said. "Our government will not stand by while hate and violence seek to reverse decades of progress."

This one-time emergency funding allocation will be coming from an equality-focused program within Ian's department, and fits into the federal government's LGBTQ2S+ "Action Plan" unveiled last August.

After this Pride season, Whitfield said Pride organizations will be calling on all levels of government to continue help address anti 2SLGBTQI+ violence.

— With files from CTV’s Rachel Aiello Top Stories

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