Salvation Army Response #1

My reply to the response from the LCBO on Friday (Follow Up: The Salvation Army at the LCBO) was also sent to John McAlister at the Salvation Army. He replied to me later in the day. Again, the response was a standard answer filled with all the right words that don’t really say anything about their practices in the real world. Again, the response did not, in fact, address the concerns raised in my initial complaint or my reply to their response. Organisations such as the Salvation Army have communications policies and brand standards that their communications people adhere to. They endeavour to control the messaging about the organisation to maximise their publicity and goodwill among the public. This reply is clearly an attempt to manage the dialogue and control the messaging.

Good day, John.

Thank you for your wonderfully written response that is not, in fact, a response to the concerns I raised but, rather, a standard reply to send out when people are questioning policies and practices. From your response I see no indication that you actually read my initial complaint. I am including it below this email in case you missed it in the previous messages. I also have some very practical questions about how you are implementing policies and ensuring they are followed. As I have stated before, simply saying that one has policies and is accepting doesn’t mean one is.

Hi, Talia.

The Salvation Army does not discriminate in the delivery of its community and social services. Anyone who comes to The Salvation Army will receive assistance based solely on their need and our capacity to help, regardless of race, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or religion. We uphold the dignity of all people, believing that all are equal in the eyes of God, and firmly oppose the mistreatment of any person.

The following are some direct questions this position statement raises. The statement itself does not provide any real answers.

  • How do you ensure that these policies are, in fact, followed?
  • If a trans woman is seeking shelter at a women’s shelter will she receive services?
    • Will she receive services if her identification still has her old name and gender on it?
    • Will she be asked if she has had vaginoplasty/bottom surgery?
  • How do you ensure that staff do not say to trans people that the shelter is full even if it is not full because they don’t want a trans person in the shelter?
  • How do you ensure that staff are treating trans people with respect when they are seeking ad receive services?
  • How do you obtain good feedback as to what is actually happening ‘on the ground’ when people are accessing services? hint, if you are only receiving reports and feedback from staff, you are not receiving adequate feedback.
  • Do your staff receive ongoing diversity training and, if so, is the training provided by people with lived experience of systemic oppressions?

As well, The Salvation Army does not discriminate in our hiring process. Our hiring policy respects the non-discrimination principles of the Human Rights Codes across Canada. In addition, we adhere to all relevant employment laws, providing domestic partner benefits accordingly.

Again, this statement is a position statement rather than describing what actually happens in practice raising more questions than it answers.

  • How do you ensure your hiring practices are non-discriminatory?
  • How many people who are openly transgender have you hired to provide services?
    • How many of them are transgender women or assigned male at birth?
  • Are your workplaces such that those who are LGBT are able to be open about it, talk about their spouses, have their spouses at events where spouses are usually present?

We take allegations of discrimination very seriously. If you are aware of a specific situation where a person has been the target of discrimination, please let us know because this is contrary to our mission.

As I have already stated, there are many reasons why people do not file complaints.

  • What is your complaint resolution process?
  • How do you ensure that those who file complaints are not then retaliated against for filing complaints?
  • How do you support those who have experienced discrimination when accessing your services?

Take care.
John McAlister

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