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The Regional Diversity Roundtable Newsletter
September 2016
In this Issue:
 
  • We are growing!
  • New Members
  • Charter Translation
 
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A Thought From RDR...

Some people question the need for us to continue talking about race, racism, equity, diversity and inclusion; it is 2016, after all. The recent suggestion by Federal Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch that we should assess potential immigrants for their adherence to so-called Canadian values seems to confirm that there is still a need to address issues of racism, equity and inclusion. In making her announcement, Ms. Leitch defined the values that are central to Canadian identity as “equality of opportunity, hard work, generosity, freedom and tolerance.”[1]

So it seems that we find ourselves having to address prejudices that are being cloaked in a new robe, the need to promote or protect secularism or Western-based values. It is important to remember that secularism and Western-based values are not neutral concepts; they are just as ideological as any other set of beliefs. When seeking to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive community, there is a need to examine the existing social norms and structures that are in fact barriers rather than bridges to bringing together groups of various backgrounds and abilities. At times a call for adherence to shared values and principles is used to isolate already marginalized groups and undermine work towards greater inclusion and has led to a contradictory stance. For example, the recent ban on the burkini in France is one such instance; under the guise of upholding Western values and secularism, Muslim women have been banned from wearing the full-body cover on the beach, which, ironically, is a violation of their freedom of choice and only serves to isolate the very communities that the authorities are trying to integrate into the broader community.

Potential immigrants would be happy to know that “equality of opportunity” is considered to be a core Canadian value and would hope that it is extended to them as they try to settle in their new country while many, like previous immigrants, will  have to work hard to make ends meet and prove themselves in a new country that will not recognize their skills and experiences. Most, if not all, will be generous as they try to share their culture with their new neighbours and will cherish the freedom that is part of Canadian life. However, it is the last core value, tolerance, that should make all of us stop and think. How does one define tolerance? Moreover, do we want a “tolerant” society? Or is it that we want a society that is built on respect and acceptance of others? Does tolerance of difference mean merely being accepted by the dominant culture? Or an assumption that newcomers change to dominant Western based value system?

While we have come a long way, it seems that we are still grappling with the same underlying issues; particularly, how different values and beliefs can coexist as equals within the same sphere, how can we ensure that people are given the same opportunities, and how can we work together across differences to build a better community. Part of our struggle will be to be vigilant for shifts in the conversations that try to mimic or adopt the right language, but that promote dominance and marginalization. Finally, tolerance should never be our goal because it is neither inclusive nor equitable. Anything less than full equity, diversity and inclusion, would be a disservice to individuals and society as a whole.

-The Regional Diversity Roundtable
[1] http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-september-8-2016-1.3752705/kellie-leitch-makes-the-case-for-screening-new-immigrants-for-anti-canadian-values-1.3752719

RDR News

New Office Location!

As of July 4th we have moved to a new office space. It accommodates growing RDR needs and allows us to build on our long-term sustainability plan. Thank you to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Peel for being our host for the last couple of years! Please find our new contact information below:

The Regional Diversity Roundtable
1515 Matheson Blvd. East
Suite 209
Mississauga ON, L4W2P5
905-232-7371
rdr@regionaldiversityroundtable.org

Meet our new staff and placement student


Anam Ansari, Community Outreach Coordinator
anam@regionaldiversityroundtable.org

Hello RDR members and allies,
I am thrilled to join the RDR community in its endeavours to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in the Peel region. RDR’s success in building a momentum motivating organizations to reflect on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in their workplace really stood out to me and resonates with my personal values. As a resident of Peel, I have always been passionate about mobilizing communities to adopt inclusive practices and truly embrace the rich multiculturalism of the region.
 
Growing up in Peel, I have engaged in conversations of how to transform the region into one that is socially conscious. My passion for social justice and advocacy from a young age guided me as a founding member of Youth Troopers for Global Awareness, a non-profit organization that used arts to promote youth leadership and empower them for social justice. I was also involved in the initial stages of developing Studio 89, an accessible community space that promotes social entrepreneurship and conscious consumerism.
 
My interest led me to pursue a Master’s of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, where I focused on issues pertaining to gender equality, particularly, barriers marginalized women often face. I hope to bring my combined learning from my work on social justice in Peel, critical thinking from academia and my personal experiences as a Canadian-Pakistani Muslim woman living in Peel, to my role as the Community Outreach Coordinator at RDR.
 
As the Community Outreach Coordinator, I will be working on expanding the reach of RDR’s Charter to individuals within communities and mobilizing individual citizens at the grassroots’ level. Ultimately, individuals in our community should feel truly at home in Peel. As one of the most diverse regions in Canada, we can create an inclusive environment across the Peel region by engaging individual citizens in critical conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion.
 
I am excited to take on the challenges, successes and lessons we will learn as a community working on diversity, equity and inclusion over the course of expanding the Charter’s outreach. I look forward to working alongside creative and equally passionate professionals in the RDR community!
 

Anna Ettah Worifah, Placement Student
student@regionaldiversityroundtable.org

Hi all,
I am super excited to be joining the RDR team in their work towards fostering diversity, equity and inclusion in the Region of Peel. I am a student in the Master’s in Social Work program at Wilfred Laurier University, on placement with RDR from September to December 2016. Passionate about issues relating to social justice, diversity and marginalization, my recruitment to work with RDR seems a natural fit.  

Prior to starting my MSW program, I worked with international NGOs in Africa and Europe, helping refugees to navigate the system and gain access to mainstream education and healthcare services in South Africa and England.  I come to this organization with rich experiences from my work with marginalized populations as well as considerable knowledge from my academic background in Law and Development studies.

As a social work student, I am obligated to embrace human diversity, challenge social injustice and work to empower vulnerable populations. In the coming months, I look forward to working as a member of the RDR team in engaging with different organizations and communities within the Peel region.
 

Conference & AGM 2016
Centring Diversity for Workplace Equity: Race(iaized) in the Workplace


#RDRConference2016 #RaceintheWorkplace 

Thank you to everyone who attended and presented at our conference and AGM. To say it was a success, is an understatement! We had the largest turnout since the launch of the conference, with over 90 people attending from Peel region and beyond. We look forward to bringing another great conference to Peel in 2017!

Please find below conference materials:

AGM Package
Conference Package

Keynote Speakers:

Dr. Jane Ngobia, Assistant Vice-President Diversity and Human Rights, University of Guelph

Dr. Rinaldo Walcott, Professor / Director, Women & Gender Studies Institute & OISE, University of Toronto - cancelled

Capacity Building Workshops:

Race & Precarious Work: Dr. Stephanie Premji, School of Labour Studies, McMaster University

Race & Organizational Data Collection: Bipasha Choudhury, Legal Services & Inquiries, Ontario Human Rights Commission & Dr. Bobby Siu, School of Public Policy & Administration, York University
 

RDR Membership - Here We Grow Again!



The RDR would like to welcome Indus Community Services (India Rainbow Community Services) as the newest members of the roundtable. The organization has been providing services in Peel over the last 30 years and continues to grow to meet community needs. We are excited to have their voices and expertise at the roundtable. To learn more about their programs please visit their website.
 

This fall, the RDR will offer a 3-part learning component series titled Building an Inclusive Workplace to its membership. The objective of the series is to delve deeper into 3 aspects of building an inclusive workplace: the workforce, organizational culture, and policy challenges. The September session had a great turnout for the first member meeting of the fall, the members had an opportunity to delve deeper into issues of building and fostering a diverse workforce. Check out our pictures from the meeting below!



Currently, RDR has a strong membership of 42 organizations across the human services sector in Peel Region. For a complete list of members and to find out how you can become a member today please visit our website.

RDR Capacity Building Resources

Diversity & Inclusion Charter of Peel

D&I Charter Phase 3 is Underway!

In May 2016, the D&I Charter of Peel Initiative was approved for a Grow Grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to continue the work of building greater competence around diversity, equity and inclusion in Peel Region. Over the summer, the D&I Charter team was hard at work preparing to launch this third phase, the D&I Charter Initiative Community Engagement and Leadership Initiative. This phase seeks to engage diverse multilingual communities from across Peel Region and bring the Charter to life at the grassroots level. In the next two years, the Charter will be translated into a number of languages (as well as formatted appropriately for those with accessibility needs), and a leadership training will be developed for community ambassadors.  

On September 14th at the RDR's member meeting, we officially recognized OTF for its contribution to building diverse communities across the province, and specifically for its commitment to RDR and the D&I Charter. While OTF representatives and our local MPPs could not attend the session, we have received acknowledgment from them regarding the work we are undertaking, and we plan to extend the invitation to many more events as the project moves forward. 

Project Evaluation

In effort to ensure that Phase 3 of the D&I Charter Initiative is having the desired impact in addition to ensuring that the project is promoted widely throughout the region, this summer we put out two RFPs  – one for a Project Evaluator and one for a Marketing and Communications Consultant. We are currently reviewing submissions.

Community Champions

Community Champions are an integral component of Phase 3 of the D&I Charter Initiative. As members of diverse and multilingual communities, their role is to guide the project team in addition to serving as grassroots connectors to ensure that the project consistently remains locally relevant. 

In August we put out a call for Community Champions to participate in this project. After receiving a great deal of interest, we are working to identify up to 30 dynamic individuals to support us over the next two years.  

On September 15th we held our first Community Champions Dialogue Session at Mississauga Central Library. We had 21 attendees and it was a great success! We are looking forward to the next session in October (to be announced shortly). 

As the project begins, we are looking for members of the following communities to consider being part of this great opportunity:

  • Accessibility
  • Arab
  • Chinese
  • Filipino
  • Latin American
  • Polish

See our Call for Champions here. Connect with our Community Outreach Coordinator, Anam Ansari, for more information about becoming a Community Champion. 

Community Consultations

Throughout this project, we will be specifically working with diverse and multilingual communities through regular consultations.

See below for information on when these consultations will take place. For specific information on consultations for each community, click here.  

                       
 

We request all RDR partners and supportersto help us spread the word about Phase 3! Connect with Anam Ansari, our Community Outreach Coordinator for specific information about our Community Champions Dialogues and our Community Consultations! Encourage your communities to get involved! 

D&I Charter Outreach and Capacity Building

In the last month, the D&I Charter team made presentations to the following groups:

Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) Mississauga Chapter
Central West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) Health Equity Core Action Group 

Call for Writers - Insights, the D&I Charter's Community Blog

We are looking for writers for our new website! Are you interested in contributing to Insights - the D&I Charter of Peel's community blog? We are seeking individuals interested in writing 500-700 word reflective pieces around issues of diversity, equity and inclusion and its connections to the Charter in Peel Region. For more information, please contact the D&I Charter Project Lead Amrita Kumar-Ratta.

Resource Corner

Report - Economic Freedom of the World: 2016 Annual Report
Report - Consumption Inequality in Canada: Is the Gap Growing

September 2016, Fraser Institute

 
Report - OnPolicy: Ontario's Working Poor
Summer 2016, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives


 
Report - Pathways to Health for New Permanent Residents in the Three-Month Wait
Report - Ensuring Healthy Aging for All: Home Care Access in Ontario

Summer 2016, Wellesley Institute

 
Report - Inclusive Employment for Canadians with Disabilities
August 2016, Institute for Research on Public Policy

 
Report - Annual Report 2015-2016: Reconnect. Renew. Results
June 2016, Ontario Human Rights Commission

 
Report - Survey of Muslims in Canada 2016
June 2016, Canadian Race Relations Foundation

 
Report - Changing Leaders, Leading Change: A Leadership development model for marginalized youth in urban communities
YouthREX

 
Paper - Collective Impact 3.0
September 2016, Tamarack Institute

 
Episode - Ontario Tuition Reform
September 2016, TVO's The Agenda

 
Podcast - The Most Visible Minority
Podcast - The Race Card

September 2016, Colour Code: A Podcast about Race in Canada

 
Radio - Kellie Leitch defends 'anti-Canadian values' screening for new immigrants
September 2016, CBCRadio The Current

 

Community Events

We are re-vamping this section for our next newsletter - stay tuned!

Copyright © 2016 The Regional Diversity Roundtable, All rights reserved.

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The Regional Diversity Roundtable
1515 Matheson Blvd.
Suite 209
Mississauga, ON L4W2P5
Canada

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The Regional Diversity Roundtable is funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Region of Peel


 






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