A distinction that could be coming to businesses in Waterloo Region and throughout Ontario.
The program launched today where businesses can register as a PRIDE friendly space.
Dani Bazely and her partner Ella Matteuci are the co-founders of the not-for-profit organization.
Bazely says that this program was created after acknowledging a need to create more accessible services for the LGBTQ+ community.
"Our vision is to identify businesses that are committed to educating themselves on creating inclusive and diverse spaces for the LGBTQ+ community."
The organization requires businesses to become certified through its Pride Certification program where businesses will learn how to create a standard of inclusivity in both services and within internal teams.
"This will help the entire province elevate their level of equality," says Bazely.
She understands that many businesses have made efforts to create diverse and inclusive practices, but says there was no way for LGBTQ+ people to know who those businesses are. The businesses that sign up will receive a Pride Certified sticker on its door once the certification process has been completed.
"This was something that I've been thinking about for a really long time," says Bazely. "We will definitely be putting a Pride Certified sticker on the door."
The first 50 businesses that become Pride Certified members will be 'founding members' throughout the length of their membership.
"I think a lot of bars and restaurants will be really excited for this opportunity and separate themselves," says Bazely. "we've also spoken to car dealerships and fitness facilities that are interested in the education that will come along with this to provide better services."
Bazely wants to ensure that a standard is being met in order to receive this distinction.
"We want to ensure that as the world changes, as the verbiage changes and as pronouns adjust, we want to be able to educate our Pride Certified businesses on how to manage those."
The organization is now looking for volunteers and board members to join the team.
"One of our major focuses will be to grow the volunteer team, board of directors and hopefully hire some full-time staff as well," says Bazely.
She says this has been a project in the works since February and that she couldn't do much to launch the initiative until now because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Businesses who are interested in applying can go to pridecertified.org.