LGBTQ+ Immigration Info
Being LGBTQ+ in Canada and Laws You Should Know
If you are thinking of coming to Canada and you are a member of the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Queer/Questioning) community, you might have some questions. This page will provide you with some general information and useful links to other websites.
NOTE: The material on our website is intended to provide only general information to our clients and the public. Although we make our best efforts to ensure that the information found on our website is accurate and timely, we cannot, and do not, guarantee that the information is either. Nor do we guarantee the accuracy of any information contained on websites to which our website provides links. Do not, under any circumstances, rely on information found on our website as legal advice.
Is Canada safe for LGBTQ people?
Canada still has work to do in making sure that our country is safe and just for everyone. However, Canada is internationally recognized as one of the safest and least discriminatory nations in the world for LGBTQ people. In Canada:
- Same-sex relationships and sexual activity are not a crime
- Same-sex marriages are legal and honoured with rights (pensions, benefits, etc.)
- Same-sex couples and LGBTQ individuals may adopt children
- LGBTQ people can serve in the military and be open about their sexuality and gender
- Discrimination and hate speech against LGBTQ people by an employer is illegal.
- Transgender people can change their name and legal gender
Does the government allow LGBTQ people to immigrate to Canada?
Yes. Your sexuality or gender identity is not a reason why you would be denied the chance to immigrate to Canada. You will not be asked about your sexuality or gender identify on your immigration application.
If you come from a country where same-sex relationships are a crime, and you have a criminal record for that reason, you have some options (Read more).
If I already live in Canada, can I sponsor my same-sex partner?
Yes. As of 2002, a permanent resident or Canadian citizen can sponsor their same-sex partner to come to Canada, under the same rules as an opposite-sex partnership.
Legit is a Canadian organization that advocates for people in this situation. You can find more information on their website.
Does the Canadian government allow LGBTQ refugees?
Yes. If you are a member of the LGBTQ community and you are being oppressed or persecuted because of your sexuality or orientation you can apply for refugee status. Settlement.org has a lot of great information on the process of applying as a refugee if you are being persecuted for your sexuality or gender (Read more).
Do settlement services in Canada understand and support LGBTQ people?
It depends. You will not be denied service in Canada based on your orientation or gender identity. However, you may find that when you arrive in Canada, you may need to visit settlement services for help with things like applications or finding a job, an agency like ours for counselling and a different agency to find health information for LGBTQ people.
In Canada, we are slowly learning to be more responsive to the fact that those who are new to Canada and also in the LGBTQ community have a unique experience from other immigrants or refugees. More and more settlement agencies are offering services to the LGBTQ community and more and more LGBTQ-specific agencies are offering services to the multicultural community. This is particularly true in larger areas, like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. The Positive Spaces Initiative is an example of a program from the province of Ontario to support agencies serving people who are LGBTQ newcomers.
Rainbow Newcomers is a social group to give newcomers the opportunity to meet LGBTQ-identified individuals. They have activities and discussions that allow the group to get to know one another, learn from each another and share experiences.
Rainbow Railroad helps LGBT people escape state-sponsored violence. They provide info to LGBT people on routes to safety and resources on seeking asylum. They also provide moral support and, when funds permit, short-term financial support to LGBT people living in hiding before travel. They provide the means for travel to safe countries in North America and Europe then connect them with settlement agencies once there.
An international research and participatory documentary film project, working to advance social justice and equality for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) people.