Evidence of meeting #138 for Health in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was gay.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Travis Salway  Post-doctoral Research Fellow, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, As an Individual
Alex Abramovich  Independent Scientist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, As an Individual
Greg Oudman  Executive Director, Health Initiative for Men
Tristan Coolman  President, Pflag York Region

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Doug Eyolfson Liberal Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley, MB

That's very reassuring to hear.

Thank you very much.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Okay.

Now we go back to Ms. Gladu, for a return engagement.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Actually, I'm going to share my time with Mr. Webber. I'm going to let him start off.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Len Webber Conservative Calgary Confederation, AB

Thank you.

I did miss a bit of Ms. Sidhu's questioning. I apologize if this is a repetitive question.

My question is for Tristan from Pflag.

You mentioned that you meet monthly or weekly. Do you meet in your home? Do you have a community hall? Maybe you could talk a bit about your meetings.

4:55 p.m.

President, Pflag York Region

Tristan Coolman

We first met once a month at a local church. We found that through those meetings a lot of people, to Alex's point, still had apprehensions or past experiences with faith-based organizations and with religion. We've partnered with a couple of other community partners.

We now meet twice a month. We have two spaces. York region, being such a large region, we have one to the south and one to the north to try to serve as many people as possible and to make our services available to as many as possible.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Len Webber Conservative Calgary Confederation, AB

You kindly invited members of the committee to join a Pflag meeting.

4:55 p.m.

President, Pflag York Region

Tristan Coolman

I highly encourage it.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Len Webber Conservative Calgary Confederation, AB

Do you invite anyone to come to these meetings?

4:55 p.m.

President, Pflag York Region

Tristan Coolman

They're for anyone, yes. You don't have to be a member who identifies with the community. Sometimes parents without their kids come, without their kids knowing that they're there, because the parents are seeking support, and they are seeking more education on how to approach conversations with their kids and loved ones.

It's free for anyone to attend.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Len Webber Conservative Calgary Confederation, AB

You talked a bit, personally, about your relationship with your mother during all this.

Do you experience that a lot with people who go to these meetings? Are there a lot of families who cannot accept?

4:55 p.m.

President, Pflag York Region

Tristan Coolman

Last year there was a couple who came and their son had come out while they were on a cottage trip. They were scheduled to be up there for three weeks. He was only there for a couple of days. He came out on the last day and said, “Bye” and just left.

They came to our meeting. The mother was very open about it. The father still had apprehensions and still couldn't really get his head around it. Three or four months later, he was much more accepting, much more loving and caring, speaking up at the meetings and even leading other parents through that conversation.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Len Webber Conservative Calgary Confederation, AB

That's interesting.

You go into schools. With my familiarity with the curriculum in Alberta, it is very difficult to fit in a lot of issues into a day.

How welcoming are these schools around the country in listening to what you have to say?

4:55 p.m.

President, Pflag York Region

Tristan Coolman

With Pflag, we have quite a few schools who reach out to us every week, every month. With our being a volunteer organization it's sometimes hard to keep up with them. We coordinate with them in terms of what they want us to do, what they want us to speak to. We also share what we would like to share as well.

We ebb and flow a lot with what the schools want to accomplish. Schools more often come to us than we go to them. We are also rebuilding our relationship with the local Catholic school board as well.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Len Webber Conservative Calgary Confederation, AB

Thank you for what you do.

4:55 p.m.

President, Pflag York Region

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

My last questions are for Greg.

How many men are served by HIM? How much does it cost to run it? You mentioned the Public Health Agency of Canada's community action fund. Do you get any funding from there?

4:55 p.m.

Executive Director, Health Initiative for Men

Greg Oudman

In terms of the number of men who are served by Health Initiative for Men, we operate five health centres. That's our biggest point of contact. We provide supports to about 10,000 men who identify as GBTQ2 in a year. That's within the health centre specifically.

Then I've talked about our services working in the areas of social, physical and mental health as well. We operate a large number of programs that work outside of our health centres. I would say that peripherally we probably reach another 10,000 guys a year via those programs.

I talked a bit in my presentation about doing things like health promotion and knowledge translation. It's hard for us to quantify the reach of those kinds of programs because they are so broad-based. We engage and we do health promotion campaigns that are designed to reach as many men as possible. We find through our analytics that we have people all over the world accessing our health promotion resources that are available online.

We regularly see access to those resources in places that are less LGBTQ affirming than Canada, like countries in Asia and the Middle East. It's really positive for me knowing that while we're a Vancouver or Lower Mainland based organization we have quite a broad range of reach.

That was the first question. Then what was the second?

5 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

It was about money.

5 p.m.

Executive Director, Health Initiative for Men

Greg Oudman

What does it cost? We have a budget of $1.6 million annually that's primarily funded via government sources. Our largest funder is the local health authority here in Vancouver, Vancouver Coastal Health.

We receive money through the Public Health Agency of Canada's community action fund. We never received money from PHAC in the past, but with the community action fund rolling out a couple of years ago, we were able to collaborate with four other organizations nationally. I think you visited REZO last week in Montreal. They're one of the members of what we're calling the Advance Community Alliance. It's a national gay men's health alliance consisting of five organizations that are working to increase access to an uptake of STBBI and HIV prevention technologies.

We receive money there and we also have a collaboration with a number of local organizations that support sex workers, because we also have a significant presence in the Vancouver male-identified sex work community.

5 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

Good. Thanks very much.

It's five o'clock. I want to ask the committee if we can go 10 minutes extra. That way we can finish our complete round of questions. Is that okay with everybody?

Okay, Mr. Ouellette, you have five minutes.

5 p.m.

Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Thank you very much.

The 2019 federal budget included initial funding of $25 million over five years to establish a pan-Canadian suicide prevention service. The bilingual service would provide Canadians with access to a service 24-7 by phone, text or chat. In the budget documents, the federal government noted that thoughts of suicide and suicide-related behaviour are disproportionately prevalent among LGBTQ2+ communities, particularly youth, in comparison to their non-LGBTQ2+ peers.

To your knowledge, to what extent are telephone or online intervention methods effective in preventing suicide attempts?

5 p.m.

Post-doctoral Research Fellow, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, As an Individual

Dr. Travis Salway

It's an excellent first step. Suicide prevention lines are a wonderful way to engage people who are acutely suicidal in a moment of crisis.

What we need beyond that is a place to refer people once they have identified that they have a mental health need and that they're suicidal. The suicidality doesn't always go away; in fact, quite often it comes and goes in different periods of time.

We need to be able to connect them with supports and organizations like the Health Initiative for Men and other services that include mental health providers that are LGBTQ2S affirming.

5 p.m.

Independent Scientist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, As an Individual

Dr. Alex Abramovich

I can comment.

We do have some initiatives. There's the Trans Lifeline, and there's the LGBT Youth Line in Toronto. We do have some of these initiatives which are really great. They are certainly used widely. They're under-resourced and definitely used.

I think that oftentimes what happens with these initiatives is they're not evaluated, so it's difficult for us to say how impactful they are or what sort of impact they're having on the community. I find that happens quite frequently with the LGBTQ2S population, especially with housing programs and different initiatives. They're not evaluated, so it's tough to say exactly how they impact the population.

5 p.m.

Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

I was just wondering in relation to conversion therapy, how many kids go out of the country. Should it be banned in Canada, having people go outside of the country?

April 9th, 2019 / 5 p.m.

Post-doctoral Research Fellow, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, As an Individual

Dr. Travis Salway

I'm not aware of any data. In fact, the sex now survey that I quoted is the only data source that I've found that could quantify exposure to conversion therapy, and we think that's an underestimation, because a lot of folks who are exposed to conversion therapy won't turn up in LGBT2QS community surveys, of course.

Absolutely, it should be banned to expose minors to conversion therapy wherever it's taking place, even if it's overseas.