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John Tory. Photo: CIJnews

Toronto admits: “Anti-Black racism is deeply entrenched in Canadian institutions, policies”

The City of Toronto hosted on Friday, May 12, 2017, members of Toronto’s Black communities at City Hall to get feedback on a draft Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism.

According to the official statement:

  • The Action Plan was compiled using ideas from 41 Community Conversations that were held in partnership with 11 community agencies serving Black Torontonians between January and March 2017.
  • Prior to these Community Conversations, the City undertook a review of recommendations made about confronting anti-Black racism in Toronto over the past 41 years. The Community Conversations were informed by this review and built off the City’s Toronto For All campaign (click HERE)

“More than 800 people from Toronto’s Black communities had a hand in creating this draft Action Plan,” said Mayor Tory. “The City is committed to action around anti-Black racism in Toronto that is meaningful, impactful and sustainable.”

The five-year draft Action Plan will be presented to Executive Committee on June 19, 2017 and then to Toronto City Council on July 5-7th, 2017 for approval and implementation in partnership with Black communities. Its recommendations related to the expansion of core City services for Black people, improved actions and opportunities related to youth employment and measures the City can take related to recruitment, hiring, promotion and training of Black people with the Toronto Public Service.

The following are some of the premises and recommendations included in the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism:

  • Anti-Black racism happens today.
  • Anti-Black racism is deeply entrenched in Canadian institutions, policies and practices, often making anti-Black racism appear normal or invisible to the larger white society.
  • Anti-Black racism is micro (as seen in day-to-day interactions) and it is structural (as seen in laws and policies that govern this country).
  • Black Torontonians are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, in the child welfare system, and, among the most poor, unemployed or precariously employed.
  • RECOMMENDATIONS:
  • Increase access to high quality programs for Black children and youth
  • Increase hiring of Black people & partnerships with diverse Black communities
  • Meet the specific needs and aspirations of Black queer and trans youth
  • Communicate to the Province the need for improvements to the Child Welfare System to better serve and support Black children and youth
  • Outreach, recruit & appoint Black people to City agencies, boards & commissions
  • Provide incubation space and start up supports for Black businesses
  • Conduct an audit using an Anti-Black Racism Lens to evaluate City spaces and programs
  • Create a Black Advisory Committee to work with City staff to review routes, sites & policing for Black cultural festivals
  • Stabilize funding & supports for Black arts & culture
  • Provide public education on how anti-Black racism is a trigger for mental illness for Black people
  • Stabilize funding to Black community organizations providing core services
  • Outreach, recruit & hire from Black communities to increase number of permanent Black health, social & community workers
  • Develop & implement an outreach initiative to recruit & train Black people for leadership & governance roles
  • Coordinate with funders to require the collection and public reporting of health & community service data disaggregated by race and other characteristics
  • Coordinate with funders to invest in community capacity to comply with the collection of data disaggregated by race
  • Improve recreation spaces in neighbourhoods with high proportions of Black residents
  • Ensure shelter staff are trained on anti-Black racism as a trigger to mental illness
  • Collect race-based data on the needs of Black queer and trans youth for shelters support services planning
  • Outreach to, recruit & hire Black people to increase the number of Black employees at the City of Toronto
  • Engage Black experts and community members to provide Anti-Black Racism training for all City staff
  • Engage Black City staff to create a Black Caucus to support professional development, ideation, and strategic planning at the City
  • Provide free police reference checks, training and certifications for Black youth to access volunteering & entry-level jobs
  • Develop & implement an incubator program for Black-owned businesses
  • Implement measures to stop racial profiling & over-policing of Black people
  • Review use of force protocols from an Anti-Black Racism Lens
  • Collect & publicly report mandatory race-based data for greater transparency
  • Strengthen community capacity to report & police capacity to investigate Islamophobic, transphobic and anti-Black hate crimes through a Community Police Hate Crimes Advisory Committee
  • Collect and publicly report race-based data on student achievement and student discipline and address disproportionality*
  • Review policies, procedures and disciplinary actions using an Anti-Black Racism Lens*
  • Increase the number of permanent Black teachers, early childhood educators, support staff, and administers in schools*
  • Create and implement a Black Children’s Aid Society with an office for supporting Black Queer and Trans youth*
  • Apply an Anti-Black Racism Lens to child welfare guidelines and standards to remove anti-Black biases and practices that lead to unnecessary apprehensions of Black children and youth*
  • Establish an Advisory Committee of Black community organizations, foster parents, and youth to advise the Ministry of Children and Youth Services on child welfare issues*
  • Improve the quality & effectiveness of community health services for Black people*
  • Provide essential extended health insurance coverage for precariously employed families who are not covered by employer funded extended health insurance program*
  • Remove barriers for Black people to apply for criminal records suspensions*
  • Invest in subsidized child care, tuition funding, and other supports to enable Black people to secure employment*
  • Make the Ontario Human Rights Commission more accessible to Black people*
  • Create a paid community oversight committee with Black civilians to act as a community police watchdog*
  • Develop and implement an accessible, responsive complaint system for Black people to report grievances with policing and justice systems*

* Recommendations that fall within the Province of Ontario’s jurisdiction

To read Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism click HERE.



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About CIJnews Staff

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