Morgane Oger Foundation Applauds City of Vancouver Putting Inclusion First

March 14, 2019, Vancouver

The Morgane Oger Foundation is a federally-registered non-profit society. We work to narrow the gap between Canada’s human rights laws and the experience lived on the ground by marginalized persons through public education, advocacy, and the employment of legal means.

We are concerned that public-funding organizations are closing their eyes to discrimination they enable by funding programs delivered by service providers which do not live up to the funding organization’s expectations. We urge all funders to address this through language in grant contracts with service providers and other funding recipients. On 13 March 2019, Morgane Oger addressed the City of Vancouver for our organization asking that the city enforce its own rules on inclusion and discrimination.

“Permission to discriminate on prohibited grounds is given to some non-profits by the competent agency and should never be assumed to be in place. Charities and non-profit organizations with one exception from a prohibition to discriminate do not automatically have any right to discriminate on any other explicitly prohibited grounds”, said Oger.

The Morgane Oger Foundation applauds the City of Vancouver for its decision to grant Vancouver Rape Relief (VRR) the requested 2019 Direct Social Services Grant funding as a non-extensible or renewable termination grant and for requiring that VRR meet the inclusion criteria set out in City of Vancouver policy before it can be funded again.

Vancouver Rape Relief has a long-documented history of excluding, and advocating for the exclusion from women’s spaces, of Transgender women and other persons who are not what they deem to be born women.

Vancouver Rape Relief successfully went to court to prevent Kimberly Nixon, a transsexual woman, from completing her sexual assault councilors training when they discovered she was Trans. Vancouver Rape Relief subsequently denied counselling to transgender women citing as a basis that they have no qualified transgender sexual assault councilors able to support them.

We feel that this is outrageously cynical and destructive.

In 2013, Vancouver Rape Relief hosted Janice Raymond who holds the position that “The problem of transsexualism would be best served by morally mandating it out of existence

In a 2017 CBC article, journalist John Paul Tasker cites Hella Kerner as saying that Vancouver Rape Relief does not house trans women in its shelter. the Vancouver Rape Relief shelter is heavily funded by the Province of British Columbia under housing contracts.

In February 2019, Vancouver Rape Relief posted a podcast on their site advocating for keeping transgender women out of women’s spaces.

”Any organization with a history of discrimination on the basis of prohibited grounds that continues to hold up that practice and advocate for it is ineligible for City of Vancouver funding, as it should be”, said Morgane Oger.

Oger specifically recommended the following measures:

That the City of Vancouver:

  • adhere to existing inclusion policy and criteria,

  • implement a complaint mechanism for discrimination,

  • include serious financial consequences to instances of discrimination,

  • give Vancouver Rape Relief up to 3 year to comply if it commits to do so.

  • exclude organizations from participating for a period of time in any grant if discrimination occurs in one grant except in cases of unintended discrimination.

The eligibility criteria in the City of Vancouver’s Direct Social Services Grants program specifically require that:

The organization must demonstrate accommodation, welcomeness and openness to people of all ages, abilities, sexual orientation, gender identities (including trans*, gender-variant and two-spirit people), ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, religions, languages, underrepresented communities and socio-economic conditions in its policies, practices and programs, except in instances where the exclusion of some group is required for another group to be effectively targeted”

- City of Vancouver Direct Social Services Grants guide

Because organization receiving public funds to deliver services to the public should be held to a high standard, the Morgane Oger Foundation urges the governments Canada and of every province, and every municipal council in Canada to add language to all service contracts it writes with service providers that receive public funding to ensure that the contract:

Includes language prohibiting discrimination across explicit prohibitions which includes a punitive clause allowing for loss of contract in the event of a finding of discrimination by a Human Rights Commission or its tribunal or by a body they recognize. — Morgane Oger Foundation

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City of Vancouver Direct Social Services Grants:

The audio of the speakers who spoke to the matter:

For more information, please email or call +1 604 398 3982