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BMO Donates $20,000 to Toronto PFLAG Anti-Bullying Campaign

Ground-breaking poster campaign garnering global attention

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 08/15/14 -- Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this press release.

What was initially intended to be a local Toronto school campaign targeting those who use slurs, violence or any other mechanism to marginalize LGBTQ individuals, has garnered worldwide attention and generated a groundswell of demand for a ground-breaking poster series created by Toronto Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and made possible through a donation of $20,000 by BMO Financial Group.

Schools and organizations from across Ontario, throughout Canada and the United States, and even as far away as Germany have inundated Toronto PFLAG with requests for a series of posters aimed at building inclusive school climates and challenging harmful behaviour through strong anti-bullying messages.

"We are thrilled with the popularity of our posters and their positive messages from schools and organizations all over," said Toronto PFLAG President Anne Creighton. "We are especially pleased that elementary schools are now requesting them as even younger kids are using homophobic language without realizing how hurtful it is. We are very grateful for the generous donation of BMO Financial Group which will allow us to share these posters with many more schools and organizations around the world."

Although there have been many advancements in LGBTQ equality here in Canada over the last decade, a 2011 survey conducted by LGBTQ advocacy organization, Egale Canada, found almost two thirds (64 per cent) of LGBTQ students and 61 per cent of students with LGBTQ parents reported that they still feel unsafe at school, while 68 per cent of trans students, 55 per cent of female sexual minority students, and 42 per cent of male sexual minority students reported being verbally harassed about their perceived gender or sexual orientation.

"As an organization whose core values embrace diversity and guide us in our commitment to create and sustain an inclusive workplace, BMO is proud to support Toronto PFLAG's initiative," said Simon Fish, Executive Diversity Champion for BMO Financial Group. "The overwhelming response to this initiative from organizations across Canada and around the world reinforces the progress we are making and the work that still needs to be done to help parents, families, friends and allies accept and understand LGBTQ individuals."

Gavin Clark, Chair of BMO's LGBTQ Employee Resource Group and Chair of BMO Pride, added, "BMO's support for the LGBTQ Community goes well beyond raising the Rainbow Flag at First Canadian Place; we are proud to have a longstanding relationship with Toronto PFLAG, working with our LGBTQ Employee Resource Group to facilitate several transgender-education events with BMOs management and executive management teams, and to create a more inclusive working and business environment for our employees as well as for our clients.

"Toronto PFLAG's work is extremely relevant in the workplace today. Kids are coming out and identifying as LGBTQ at very young ages now, and it is important for employees who are their mothers, fathers, family and friends to have the resources that will help them understand the issues, and how they can provide the best support."

While acceptance and celebration of each other's differences should be common sense, Toronto PFLAG understands the importance of continued education of LGBTQ issues, and today's donation from BMO Financial Group reiterates their commitment to do just that.

For more information, visit http://torontopflag.org/workshops-resources/posters.

To view the photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20140815-pflag_bmo_pic01_aug15_e.jpg

Media Contact: Toronto PFLAG
Bryn Hendricks
Director of Media and Public Relations
(416) 875-2635
[email protected]

BMO Financial Group
Ralph Marranca, Toronto
(416) 867-3996
[email protected]

Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224
[email protected]

Web: www.bmo.com
Twitter: @BMOMedia

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