Matt Brown, the mayor of London, Ont., said the city had made great strides on LGBTQ rights since the 1995 refusal, but was still plagued by hatred and intolerance.
Brown said that he and his staff are all taking special training to ensure city hall is an LGBTQ-positive space.
"It hurts to know that any Londoner was ever made to feel unworthy, unwelcome, unloved, because of who they love and due to their gender identity", Brown said.
It was 1995 when Haskett and the majority of city council refused to issue a gay pride proclamation and would not fly the rainbow flag outside of city hall. Haskett was mayor of London, Ontario, Canada, from 1994 to 2000.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission ultimately ruled that Haskett's actions had been discriminatory, and ordered London to officially proclaim a Pride weekend, which it did in 1998. Both were fined $5,000.
Brown's apology came at the request of ex-city councillor Megan Walker, a community activist who was part of the city council led by Haskett in 1995.
He said he never dreamed an apology for the historic wrong would ever be given.
"When you see what's going in the world today, the pushback against human rights, something like this is a push in the other direction", he said.
Brown took offence to people suggesting the apology was just political grandstanding in an election year. "I need everyone here to know that I am apologizing because we simply can not afford to be silent bystanders any longer". "I want every young person in our community to not be afraid of who they are and to know that this city stands behind them", said Brown.
Some members of council wondered why he didn't bring the idea through council.
Brown's apology also comes on the heels of a similar statement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who apologized to Canadians who faced discrimination by the federal government as a result of their sexuality in decades past.
"I find it very, very hard to find forgiveness for such an injustice without someone acknowledging than an injustice took place", Walker said Friday. "There was an acknowledgement today that what happened was wrong and an apology has been given and I think that goes a long way toward forgiveness and healing".