Police chief Mark Saunders has confirmed the Toronto Police Service will not be participating in this year’s Pride Parade.
Saunders released the following statement on Friday morning:
“We have made great strides with the LGBTQ communities. It’s an inclusive relationship I’m proud of and I know the men and women of the Service feel the same way.
We understand the LGBTQ communities are divided. To enable those differences to be addressed, I have decided the Toronto Police Service will not participate, this year, in the Pride Parade.
What we will do is continue to hold our annual Pride reception.
I want to make it very clear that this will have no impact on our ongoing outreach to LGBTQ communities. We will continue to develop respectful relationships and build new ones, focusing on those who feel marginalized, with the trans and racialized communities. I will sit down with any group who feels marginalized, who comes to the table with ideas on how to make things better.
We have come a long way. We have much to do.”
During the 2016 Pride Parade, activists from the Black Lives Matter movement staged a sit-in along the parade route. The group demanded Pride organizers sign a commitment to ban police floats from the parade and to hire more black, indigenous and transgender workers.