The Toronto Police Department has officially withdrawn their application to march in the 2018 Toronto Pride Parade, following multiple requests to do so from local LGBTI organisations.
Speaking in a statement Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders, said that he hopes the move will be a step forward in addressing the concerns of LGBT communities.
“My hope is that this move will be received as a concrete example of the fact that I am listening closely to the community’s concerns and I am committed thoroughly to building a better, stronger relationship between us,” Saunders wrote.
The request to withdraw their application to participate in the parade follows the Toronto police coming under fire in recent months for how they handled the investigation into people who disappeared from Toronto’s Church-Wellesley Village over the last eight years.
Saunders who has been called to resign by some LGBTI organisations, says “I strongly believe that we should be working toward a time when this issue is no longer a point of controversy and where the participation of our members in the Pride Parade is accepted and welcomed.”
Despite withdrawing from this year’s parade, Saunders adds that he hoped any future Pride festivals would provide an “opportunity to demonstrate that progression.”
The 2018 withdrawal will be the second year in a row in which Toronto police have decided not to march in the parade.