As we near the end of Black History Month, we wanted to provide an opportunity for reflection on all we have learned, and all we intend to learn outside of this month.
Black History in Canada has a deep-rooted background beginning with the arrival of Mathieu Da Costa, a navigator and interpreter, whose presence in Canada dates back to the early 1600s.
This Black History Month, we hope you have taken the time – and will continue to take time – to learn more about the stories of Black Canadians, their communities and the incredible contributions they have made to the history and continued growth of this country.
- Remember and honour Black Canadian history and the enormous contributions that Black people have made - and continue to make - in all sectors of society.
- Explore and discover our rich history in Black achievements that are typically not part of mainstream historical knowledge or discussions.
- Amplify and spotlight Black Canadians and their achievements.
- Celebrate Black history beyond stories of racism and slavery.
- Embrace resilience, innovation and determination to work towards a more inclusive and diverse Canada – a Canada in which everyone has every opportunity to flourish – Black history is a considerable part of our shared Canadian history.
Learn more about Black history in Canada here.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in the Workplace
It’s important to acknowledge that racism in Canada is not a part of our ancient history. It continues as a systemic issue across society, including within our workplaces.
When developing an EDI strategy for the workplace, or creating and implementing policies, working groups or other initiatives, it’s important to proactively engage racialized employees in the process. Invite feedback and co-develop workplace solutions to ensure their voices are heard.
Workplace Diversity Policy
A workplace diversity policy sets out your organization’s commitment to maintaining a fair and equitable environment. Such a policy can also expand your recruitment processes, encouraging everyone to apply and bringing more diverse voices into the organization.
Workplace Violence and Harassment Policy
How does your organization prevent violence and harassment in the workplace?
Part of fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace is ensuring a civil and respectful work environment free of harassment, discrimination and abuse. A workplace violence and harassment policy clearly outlines how violence and harassment is defined, the roles and responsibilities of workplace parties, and reporting investigation and response procedures. Mandatory training requirements can also be included.
Create an EDI Committee
You may want to consider establishing an EDI committee or working group to ensure a consistent focus on fostering equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. On the same hand, striking up or expanding the mandate of your organization’s psychological health and safety committee can ensure a consistent focus on mental health awareness in the workplace.
Both of these forums provide somewhere both management and employees can discuss ideas and solutions to challenges, work together to implement organizational changes and initiatives, and offer support and resources to help in fostering a more diverse and inclusive work environment where everyone feels safe, heard and appreciated.
Whether it’s watching a film, documentary or docuseries, getting comfy with a book, or exploring online resources, accessing accurate information on Black history and ways to celebrate and extend their voices are readily available.
- Explore: Read about noteworthy historical Black Canadians and Black Communities that contributed to shaping our nation.
- Familiarize: Get more acquainted with Black authors, creative artists, filmmakers/actors, and musicians who are actively shaping a new narrative.
- Discover: Learn more about legacy institutions that Black Canadians and organizations have created to advance equality and human rights in Canada and the workplace.
- Uncover: Find organizations and resources that promote awareness of Black history in Canada.
- Have Fun: Get creative in how you make Black History Month a part of your annual celebrations!
- Continue the conversation past the month of February.
The Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office | University of Toronto
eLearning Promoting Anti Racism Education and Inclusion | Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC)
Systemic Racism | We Forum
Official Canadian Black History Month website | Federal Government
Video: “Proud of our History - Black History Month” | Federal Government
Ontario’s Anti-Black Racism Strategy | Ontario Government
Inclusive Leadership | Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion
Inclusive Workplace | Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion| Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion
Educational resources on racism and anti-Black racism | Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion
Workplace Violence and Harassment Policy Template | PSHSA
Workplace Harassment eLearning | PSHSA