LGBTQ2S-Plus voices in employment: Labour market experiences of sexual and gender minorities in Canada


As a group, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, Two-Spirit, and other gender and sexual minority (LGBTQ2S+) people in Canada face significant inequities in the labour market, including with respect to average earnings, job satisfaction, and likelihood of being employed. Despite these reports, significant knowledge gaps continue to limit our understanding of the employment experiences and outcomes of the LGBTQ2S+ community.

This report presents findings from an in-depth qualitative study with currently- and recently-employed LGBTQ2S+ individuals across Canada, drawing on 49 voices across interviews and focus groups. It provides a nuanced view of LGBTQ2S+ individuals’ lived experiences in employment, key factors influencing employment inequities, and contributors to positive workplace experiences, which have remained largely undocumented in the literature to date. Our findings suggest that the employment experiences of LGBTQ2S+ individuals are commonly characterized by prejudice and discrimination, resulting in labour market inequities that are systemic, mutually-reinforcing with those in other spheres, and compounded by other forms of oppression. Despite this, participants also identified positive employment experiences, offering suggestions and areas for consideration by employers, policymakers, and community organizations.

This study forms Phase 3 of the project Building the evidence base about economic, health, and social inequities faced by LGBTQ2S+ individuals in Canada, building on findings from Phase 1 and Phase 2. Funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada, this research was led by SRDC in partnership with Pride at Work Canada, the Labour Market Information Council, and Dr. Sean Waite at the University of Western Ontario.