For years, the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre (CTCC) has displayed rainbow-colored wings on its front windows during Calgary Pride Week as a show of support for the LGBTQ+ community. But the care and respect that the CTCC team extends to everyone goes beyond a simple mural, including tangible policies that create a welcoming atmosphere for the LGBTQ+ community. On June 21, 2022, these efforts were officially acknowledged as CTCC became an accredited Rainbow Registered Business — the first convention center in Canada to earn this recognition.
Created by Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CLGCC) in partnership with Tourism HR Canada, Rainbow Registered is a national accreditation program for businesses and venues that meet a thorough set of standards to ensure LGBTQ+ customers feel safe, welcomed, and accepted. To earn the accreditation, the CTCC team completed a series of interviews that evaluated the convention center’s business practices, as well as employee training on diversity and inclusion. The review process also explored how the CTCC demonstrates leadership and commitment to inclusion by establishing an organizational culture that is LGBTQ+ inclusive and affirmative.
Some noteworthy policies include requiring all employees to undergo basic level training from the Queer Education Foundation, providing access to gender-neutral bathrooms to employees, and the ability to transform public restrooms to support the need for gender-neutral restrooms if requested by event organizers.
“As an organization that is a community hub for our city, it was important for us to become Rainbow Registered,” said Kurby Court, CTCC’s president and CEO, in a press release. “This is only one step we are taking to ensure our employees, clients and those attending events at the center feel safe and welcomed. We will continue to educate ourselves and have access to the necessary tools we need to create an inclusive environment for all.”
The CTCC isn’t alone in implementing supportive policies for the LGBTQ+ community. Other Rainbow Registered businesses in Calgary include The Residence Inn by Marriott Calgary Downtown and The Westley Calgary Downtown Hotel, a Tapestry Collection Hotel by Hilton. A fairly new initiative, Rainbow Registered has officially accredited 85 businesses across Canada, but that number is steadily growing, making it easier for meeting planners to choose venues and businesses that are reliably LGBTQ+ friendly.
“Calgary is renowned for our warm welcoming atmosphere and outstanding hospitality,” said David Woodward, executive director of meetings and conventions at Tourism Calgary. “This is a wonderful step toward ensuring that all who organize or attend events in our city, and those who call our community home, feel welcomed, safe and included.”