Annual progress report 2022: Ontario’s Anti-Racism Strategic Plan
Learn about our progress implementing the Anti-Racism Strategic Plan.
On this page Skip this page navigation
Message from the Minister
Ontario is a remarkable province. It’s where the world gathers in pursuit of opportunities not available anywhere else.Speech from the Throne, August 9, 2022
Our province is a place where people from all backgrounds, faiths and cultures come together to build a better life with the promise of safe and vibrant communities, good jobs, and opportunities for prosperity and success. Unfortunately, systemic racism and hate prevent many Indigenous, Black and racialized individuals from realizing that promise.
Racialized people, like all Ontarians, are critical to our province’s economic recovery and growth. But too often they face social and economic challenges and barriers, holding them back from reaching their full potential. Data suggests that racialized Ontarians experience higher rates of unemployment. Additionally, hate-motivated crimes targeting people based on religion, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity are on the rise.
There is no place in our province for any form of hate, racism or discrimination. That’s why our government is taking steps to create a more inclusive society for all Ontarians to prosper. Working with community groups and partners, we’re investing in economic empowerment of racialized Ontarians and developing solutions to remove barriers, advance racial equity and combat racism and hate.
Together we will build a stronger, safer and more equitable Ontario.
The Honourable Michael Ford
Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism
Message from the Deputy Minister
Since 2016, the Anti-Racism Directorate (ARD) has worked to create the foundation for government-led policy and programs to end systemic racism and advance racial equity. Ontario’s Anti-Racism Strategic Plan, released in 2017, outlined a "better way forward" for both our government and province.
This, the third annual progress report on the strategic plan, demonstrates that real change is possible when we work collaboratively across government, and with sector partners and community leaders. The important actions taken to remove systemic racism barriers in the education, justice and child welfare sectors, and to bolster economic empowerment, will contribute to improving outcomes for Indigenous, Black and racialized communities – and by extension, creating a better society for everyone living, learning, and working in our province.
This report looks back at the foundational initiatives achieved over the past five years and provides the opportunity to look ahead as the province reviews its current strategic plan. Building on the foundations of the inaugural strategic plan, we must work together across governments and sectors to continue to support and drive meaningful change.
I am proud of Ontario’s work thus far. Under the tremendous leadership of the Anti-Racism Directorate, we have and will continue to fight systemic racism, eliminate violence and hate, and empower communities, families and youth. We will build a stronger, more equitable and more prosperous Ontario for us all.
Ministry of Citizenship and Multiculturalism
Systemic racism persists when institutions or systems create or maintain biases in policies, practices and procedures that privilege some groups and disadvantage others. This third annual report is a snapshot of the foundations built over the last five years (2017–2022) to meet the objectives of the Ontario’s Anti-Racism Strategic Plan aimed at eliminating systemic racism, breaking down barriers and advancing racial equity.
The selection of initiatives outlined in this report provide the starting foundation to meaningfully drive a range of anti-racism priorities, which over time will contribute to the elimination of systemic racism. For example, establishing Ontario’s anti-racism legislation, the first Anti-Racism Directorate of its kind across the country and a set of standards for collecting race-based data across the justice, education and child welfare sectors are important steps that pave the way for current and future anti-racism work.
The foundational initiatives highlighted in this report are aligned under the five pillars of the strategic plan:
- policy, research and evaluation
- sustainability and accountability
- public education and awareness
- community collaboration
- population-specific anti-racism initiatives
Moving forward, the Anti-Racism Directorate will continue to build on progress as outlined in the 2020 annual report and 2021 annual report, and explore emerging priorities to inform the next provincial anti-racism strategic plan.
Policy, research and evaluation
Advancing racial equity and enabling real, lasting change requires a policy, research and evaluation framework through which to examine government policies and programs.
Race-based data collection
Collecting race-based data (such as Indigenous identity, race, ethnic origin, and religion) helps public sector organizations in the justice, education and child welfare sectors to identify and analyze racial disparities and disproportionalities in program outcomes, make comparisons across sectors and programs and observe trends over time. By collecting race-based data in a consistent manner, public sector organizations are able to make more evidence-based policy and program decision-making, as well as increase public accountability and transparency, to eliminate systemic racism and advance better outcomes.
Ontario established Data Standards for the Identification and Monitoring of Systemic Racism (Anti-Racism Data Standards) in 2018, which include 43 standards with requirements for collecting, protecting, analyzing and reporting race-based data, the first program of its kind in Canada. All regulated sectors will be collecting race-based data by January 2023.
The data standards were developed in consultation with the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario and the Ontario Human Rights Commissioner to strengthen privacy protections and include a focus on human rights principles. Extensive internal and external engagements were also conducted with a broad range of ministries, community organizations and leaders and academics and experts.
Targets and indicators to establish race-based data in Ontario
Targets and indicators were established in 2019 for the purpose of tracking Ontario’s progress in meeting its goal of establishing baseline race-based data across all nine regulated areas in the justice, child welfare, and education sectors.
In cases where self-reported data is collected, race-based data includes the Indigenous identity, race, religion, and ethnic origin of the person. Where perceived observation data is collected, it includes perceived race but not the other categories.
The regulated public sector organizations currently collecting race-based data are required to report compliance and response rates annually. The compliance rate is the number and percentage of regulated programs, services and functions collecting race-based personal information. The response rate is the number and percentage of individuals (for example, service recipients) providing race-based personal information.
The goal is to achieve 100% compliance for each of the regulated areas/sectors currently collecting race-based data and achieve as high of a percentage as possible, recognizing that individuals have a right to not participate.
Child welfare sector
Children’s Aid Societies
Effective July 1, 2021, specified Children’s Aid Societies (CASs) listed under Ontario Regulation 267/18 of the Anti-Racism Act, 2017 were required to begin collecting race-based data on children who are the subject of a child protection investigation conducted by a CAS and children who otherwise receive a service from a CAS. Race-based data collection is currently underway in all prescribed CASs. The response rate is 48%.
The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services is in the process of gathering sector and community input to co-develop analysis and reporting plans for the data that it collects. The plans will be used to address the disproportionately negative outcomes experienced by those who are overrepresented in the child welfare system.
School boards have been authorized, since May 1, 2018, to collect race-based data on students as it relates to academic performance, special education received and suspensions, expulsions or a decision of a principal to refuse to admit students to a school or classroom.
Between 2018 and 2022, over 50 school boards (over 70% of the education sector) conducted a student census that included race-based questions for the first time. The overall response rate ranged from 40% to 80% across school boards that publicly reported the results. The Ministry of Education accelerated the deadline to January 1, 2023, for requiring all 72 boards to required to collect race-based data.
Between 2020 and 2022, race-based data collected by school boards helped inform the government’s policy direction related to racial inequities in student discipline, achievement and program pathways, such as de-streaming Grade 9 courses and eliminating kindergarten to Grade 3 suspensions.
Race-based data also informed the ministry’s direction to Peel District School Board to address the inequities in student discipline and program placements.
In 2021, the ministry announced a Board Improvement and Equity Plan (BIEP) that asked school boards to analyze student demographic and outcomes data and develop equity-focused action plans to combat racism and promote student success, well-being and mental health.
As of July 2021, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO), on behalf of the Ministry of the Attorney General, began collecting race-based data from LAO Duty Counsel clients who have been charged with an offence and appear in bail court.
In the Ontario Court of Justice, there were approximately 46,785 people with a first bail hearing appearance in 2021 and approximately 65% of those individuals were represented by LAO Duty Counsel. There was a 79% response rate for clients providing their race-based personal information for questions on Indigenous identity, race, ethnic origin and religion. However, only 14% provided consent to share their personal information with the Ministry of the Attorney General for Anti-Racism Act, 2017 purposes.
While LAO does not interact with all individuals in the bail process, they are seeking to collect data from most of all accused individuals. The ministry is continuing to assess processes to collect data from non-LAO clients.
The shift to virtual proceedings during the COVID‑19 pandemic has at times limited duty counsel interactions with clients and the ability to collect race-based data. The ministry and LAO are working to revise the notice of consent to be more concise for staff to read and easier for clients to comprehend, which is expected to increase response rates for clients to agree to share their information with the ministry.
Special Investigations Unit
Special Investigations Unit (SIU) investigations are conducted when a person is seriously injured or dies, a firearm is discharged at them, or they are sexually assaulted, where the injury, death, firearm discharge or sexual assault may have resulted from criminal offences committed by a police officer. SIU requests affected persons and police officers to voluntarily provide their race-based personal information in circumstances where the SIU conducts an investigation under the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019. The SIU has been successful in distributing race-based data surveys to respondents in 92% of cases. However, only approximately 22% of affected persons provided race-based information. Strategies to increase response rates are currently under review.
In August–September 2020, the SIU rolled out a training and implementation plan to all staff involved in the collection of race-based data. As challenges were identified, policies, practices and training have been updated based on the valuable feedback and experiences of staff. The SIU is currently analyzing race-based data on investigations completed between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021. These results will help the SIU to identify and address racial inequities in circumstances being investigated.
Office of the Independent Police Review Director
Collecting race-based data from members of the public who submit a complaint to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) helps identify racial inequities and inform the development of policies and procedures to reduce biases in investigations and decisions. The compliance rate is 100% and the response rate is 80%. The OIPRD has completed an analysis of its first-year data and is preparing to publish the data set and results of the analysis in September 2022. Furthermore, the agency is working to expand the analysis to include additional outcomes for its second-year data.
Use of force
As of January 1, 2020, all (100%) of use of force reports submitted to the Ministry of the Solicitor General by police forces have included information on the perceived race of individuals on whom force was used, as perceived by members of the police forces.
Collecting data on officer perceptions of the race of an individual on whom force was used is important for identifying and monitoring racial profiling in policing. This is defined by the Ontario Human Rights Commission as, "any action undertaken for reasons of safety, security or public protection that relies on stereotypes about race, colour, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, or place of origin, or a combination of these, rather than on a reasonable suspicion, to single out an individual for greater scrutiny or different treatment."
The ministry has developed stakeholder engagement and analysis plans to inform collection processes and analysis of race-based data. Improvements to the use of force reporting guidelines are also in progress to ensure high-quality data for analysis. Use of force reports are currently the only reports police are legally required to provide to the ministry that are subject to Anti-Racism Act Regulations.
Various municipal police services such as Guelph, Ottawa, Toronto and Peel police services are voluntarily reporting race-based data publicly.
Since August 2020, the Ministry of the Solicitor General has been required to collect race-based data from adults who are in custody in correctional institutions and from persons who are under community supervision (such as, released on parole, subject to a probation order or a conditional sentence order, and subject to supervision by the ministry). The ministry has incorporated anti-racism content into training protocols for correctional officers and probation officers. All 25 Ontario correctional institutions and all 119 Ontario probation and parole offices are collecting race-based data from individuals as part of their intake processes. As of June 2022, approximately 76% of individuals within Correctional Services had been asked for their race-based data. Of those who had been asked, 70% have consented and provided their data.
An analytics plan has been developed by the ministry for calculating and interpreting racial disproportionality and disparity statistics on program outcomes to help assess and address systemic racism in Ontario’s criminal justice services. Methods and language used for collecting race-based data in the Institutional Services and Community Services divisions were revised, which led to considerable improvements in consent rates.
The Youth Justice Division has been collecting race-based data since March 26, 2018. The compliance rate is 100% and the response rate is 73% of youth in the following programs:
- Extra-Judicial Sanctions
- Community Supervision
- Custody and Detention
Probation officers and social workers responsible for collecting race-based data in regulated programs and services have received cultural safety training in race-based data collection. The Youth Justice Division is planning stakeholder engagements to inform future analysis and reporting of results on racial disparities and disproportionalities. This information is used to improve culturally appropriate counselling, programs and services that address the needs of youth.
Child welfare redesign
In July 2020, Ontario launched the Child Welfare Redesign (CWR) Strategy, which aims to shift focus to early intervention and prevention while continuing to improve the system for children who are in care or in need of protection. A key goal of CWR is to address systemic racism, including the disproportionalities and outcomes disparities for Indigenous, Black, racialized, 2SLGBTQQIA+, individuals with disabilities, and other communities who are overrepresented in the child welfare system.
An equity lens and a distinct Indigenous approach, through the Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy co-developed with Indigenous partners, is being applied across the CWR.
In September 2021, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services launched Community Conversations, which brought together a range of organizations in different communities to discuss opportunities for improving local services. The conversations included Indigenous partners, cross-sector service providers, organizations representing diverse communities, and youth and families.
The ministry has heard from Community Conversations that:
- The best way to support the safety and wellbeing of children and youth is to also support their families and communities.
- Children, youth and families are finding it difficult to access services in their community where and when they need them, leading to a reliance on crisis intervention.
- There is still work to do to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous, Black, 2SLGBTQQIA+ and racialized families—including addressing gaps in access to culturally based and affirming services.
Community Conversations will re-launch in fall 2022 and continue to inform the work the ministry is doing to improve the system with its partners
De-streaming Grade 9
By eliminating applied and academic course streams, de-streaming Grade 9 will help address the overrepresentation of Indigenous, Black and racialized students, from low-income households and/or have disabilities and special education needs in applied courses. As of September 2022, all Grade 9 subjects are offered in one stream. Previously, Ontario was the only jurisdiction in Canada to still stream Grade 9 courses.
De-streaming is expected to minimize negative outcomes related to streaming students into applied courses, such as lower graduation rates and lower rates of transition to postsecondary education. It will also ensure that all students are supported in preparation for the senior program in secondary school and have equity of access to pursue any postsecondary pathway they choose and to be successful in their future careers.
To support the successful implementation of de-streaming, the government is investing in resources and supports, including student transition supports, staffing supports, educator capacity building, parent resources and programming to support student success.
Keeping students in school
The Ministry of Education is working with select school boards to examine and change suspension and expulsion practices to address the overrepresentation of students living in poverty, students receiving special education programs or services and Indigenous, Black and racialized students.
The pilot project includes a series of system and school leaders’ professional learning sessions and a series of local school teams’ learning sessions co-led by the ministry and the school principal. The project aims to create a practice in schools where principals and superintendents, as equity leaders, will be engaged in creating policies and procedures that foster a safe, caring and accepting environment for all students. The ministry is continuing the project with the second cohort of participating school boards in the 2021–2022 and 2022–23 school years.
Teacher hiring practices
In 2020, the ministry introduced Policy/Program Memorandum 165: Teacher Hiring Practices (PPM 165). This required school boards to develop local teacher hiring policies that focus on merit, diversity and unique needs of the school, while respecting provisions in existing collective agreements, the Ontario Human Rights Code and applicable laws.
For example, to promote equity and diversity in the hiring process, school boards are encouraged to ensure diversity on hiring panels to include individuals who have the knowledge and experience, including lived experience, to reflect the needs and interests of communities in the school that have been historically underrepresented in decision-making.
PPM 165 replaced the revoked Ontario Regulation 274/12 on Hiring Practices, which established seniority requirements for teacher hiring.
Training for educators
The Ministry of Education recognizes the importance of professional learning in the areas of addressing anti-racism to enhance educators’ knowledge and skills for the effective support of all students and children. For the current 2022–23 school year, a mandatory Professional Activity (PA) day topic is on the priority area of equity. The ministry advised school boards to apply equity and inclusive education training in an integrated manner across all professional learning topics or as focused learning topics. At a minimum, these learning topics should include:
- special education and supporting students with disabilities
- anti-racism and anti-discrimination
Early years and child care
In March 2022, Ontario reached a $13.2-billion agreement with the federal government to implement the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) system.
The CWELCC system aims to make high-quality child care in Ontario affordable, accessible and inclusive. The Ontario government will work with sector partners to gather data, conduct assessments on barriers to access, and implement targeted strategies to support equitable access to affordable licensed child care.
Ontario’s action plan includes a commitment to consult with the sector on inclusion priorities in summer/fall 2022. As part of this transformational work, the Ministry of Education is developing an Access and Inclusion Framework that supports access to affordable child care for low-income families, vulnerable children and children from diverse communities, including Indigenous, Black, racialized, Francophone, newcomer, 2SLGBTQQIA+ children and families, and children with special needs. The ministry has also committed to updating the How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years professional learning resource with a focus on inclusion and anti-racism.
Anti-Racism Impact Assessment
The Anti-Racism Impact Assessment (ARIA) Framework, a component of Ontario’s Anti-Racism Strategic Plan, is a six-step process aimed towards public sector and broader public sector organizations to help identify, mitigate and monitor racial equity impacts in the development and delivery of policies and programs. The goal of ARIA is to help ensure that public initiatives do not limit benefits and opportunities for Indigenous peoples and Black and other racialized communities in Ontario.
To date, as part of the development process, the ARIA Framework has been used by select ministries to help identify, remove and prevent systemic racial barriers in transfer payments, policies, programs and services. Opportunities to apply and refine ARIA are ongoing.
Sustainability and accountability
Ontario’s anti-racism legislation was established to ensure the sustainability of anti-racism work while maintaining public accountability and transparency.
The Anti-Racism Act, 2017 (Act) sets the foundation to support a whole-of-government anti-racism approach. Under the authority of the Act, race-based data collection supported by the Anti-Racism Data Standards has been mandated and progressed in the child welfare, justice and education sectors. The Act also mandates the government to develop and maintain an anti-racism strategic plan with targets and indicators, to be reviewed at least every five years. Targets and indicators for Ontario’s Anti-Racism Strategic Plan were established in 2019 to monitor the collection of race-based data in the three regulated priority sectors.
As outlined in the Act, the Anti-Racism Directorate (ARD) is responsible for assisting the Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism in carrying out the Minister’s duties and mandated actions. The ARD is leading the government’s anti-racism initiatives by working across government and with communities to advance racial equity for Indigenous, Black and racialized populations and eliminate systemic racism in policies, decisions and programs.
The ARD’s role also includes providing anti-racism leadership across ministries and building anti-racism capacity in Ontario’s public sector organizations by providing advisory services and tools, such as policy impact assessments and educational programming.
In accordance with the Act, the Anti-Racism Directorate has publicly reported on the government’s progress in meeting the objectives of the provincial anti-racism strategic plan in 2020 and 2021 and is supporting the review of the current strategic plan.
Together, the required actions set out in the Act have built a foundation for long-term sustainability, transparency and accountability in Ontario’s progress towards addressing systemic racism.
Public education and awareness
Targeted public education and awareness initiatives aim to deepen the public’s understanding of the many forms of racism and hate.
Anti-Racism Anti-Hate Grant
The Anti-Racism Anti-Hate Grant Program is a $3.2-million investment over three fiscal years that contributes to increasing awareness around the impacts of racism and hate. The program funds 58 community-led projects across the province within various sectors ranging from sports and the arts to health care and justice.
This program supports community-led public education and awareness projects that build organizational or community capacity to recognize and act to prevent occurrences of racism and hate.
Informed by the external steering committee of community experts, leaders and organizations, the ARD along with its community partners facilitated six population-specific co-design sessions with key stakeholders, partners, organizations and community leaders from racialized communities to shape the program.
Recognizing government alone cannot effectively end systemic racism in Ontario, strategic partnerships have been made with community leaders and organizations who have anti-racism/sector expertise and lived experiences.
Premier’s Council on Equality of Opportunity
The Premier’s Council on Equality of Opportunity (PCEO) was established in fall 2020 to advise the government on how to support young people, with a focus on those from Indigenous, Black and other marginalized communities, to succeed in Ontario’s rapidly changing economy and recover from the impacts of COVID‑19.
The PCEO brings together 17 intergenerational and cross-sector members with expertise and lived experiences on the economic and social barriers facing young people, especially those from marginalized communities.
To advance social and economic priorities for youth and marginalized communities, the PCEO, for example, hosted engagement sessions on the Black Youth Action Plan with over 200 community members, as well as nine virtual sessions in winter 2021 on access to post-secondary education and employment with over 70 participants.
Following these community engagements, the government doubled funding for the Black Youth Action Plan by investing an additional $60 million over three years.
The PCEO continues to advise senior leaders from across the government on policies pertaining to several key areas, such as social services and the community, education, employment and skills training, the COVID‑19 pandemic and child welfare.
Safer and Vital Communities Grant
The Safer and Vital Communities (SVC) Grant was launched in 2004 to support the Ministry of the Solicitor General’s goal of working with partners to create safer communities in Ontario. The grant is open to community-based not-for-profit incorporated organizations, community-based not-for-profit organizations sponsored by incorporated organizations, and First Nations Chiefs and Band Councils.
In 2020–22, the Ontario government invested approximately $2.5 million in support of 25 projects that address local hate crime-related issues across the province, including 17 community projects and nine projects with infrastructure components to help secure local community centres and places of worship.
Examples of SVC projects include:
- Strengthening partnerships with local authorities and organizations that do community-based race relations education.
- Enhancing community safety through security infrastructure upgrades and hate crime response training.
- Delivering workshops to increase the community’s sense of safety and foster greater understanding, trust and collaboration between members of the community and key public institutions, such as the police and the justice system.
- Establishing a hate crime reporting and documentation system, providing one-on-one support to victims, delivering public education and addressing the growing problem of online hate.
- Increasing awareness on how to identify and safely report hate crimes, and training police staff on how to work with and build relationships with racialized communities.
- Supporting at-risk Indigenous youth and vulnerable Indigenous community members who have been or are at risk of becoming victims of hate crime.
- Developing greater understanding of the issues surrounding hate and hate crime as it applies to relationships with family, community and society through workshops and activities.
While the focus of the Safer and Vital Communities (SVC) Grant is always on community safety and well-being, the theme for 2022-24 is Preventing Cybercrime Through Community Collaboration—with priority areas in hate crimes, human trafficking and fraud.
Racialized and Indigenous Supports for Entrepreneurs Program
Racialized and Indigenous Supports for Entrepreneurs (RAISE) is a $5-million service and grant program developed and administered by the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association, the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas and the Parkdale Centre for Innovation. The program supports Indigenous, Black and racialized entrepreneurs in Ontario to start and scale a business by providing them access to business development training, culturally responsive support services and $10,000 in grant funding.
The objectives of the program are to:
- Increase economic inclusion by supporting the Indigenous, Black and racialized small business community.
- Facilitate knowledge transfer through relevant online training and business plan mentorship.
- Provide funding to facilitate innovation and growth within the Indigenous, Black and racialized small business community.
- Determine a business’ readiness for a storefront through the collection of data during the applicant assessment phase.
The RAISE program received an overwhelming response. As of August 2022, over $800,000 in grants have been disbursed to 80 participating businesses, and over 375 hours of culturally relevant coaching and training support have been provided.
Ontario Grant to Support Anti-Hate Security Measures for Faith-Based and Cultural Organizations
Ontario has seen a rise in community-reported hate incidents and crimes, including increased acts of antisemitism, Islamophobia and anti-Asian racism. This has placed tremendous burden on faith-based and cultural organizations.
The Ontario Grant to Support Anti-Hate Security Measures for Faith-Based and Cultural Organizations has helped over 1,100 faith-based and cultural organizations that support communities most at-risk of being targeted by hate-motivated violence and vandalism. Organizations received up to $10,000 to enhance building security (for example, security cameras, fences, gates, alarm systems, etc.), complete security assessments and conduct training to better respond to a hate-motivated incident.
Population-specific anti-racism initiatives
Specific initiatives have been implemented to close gaps, address disparities and focus on impacts to Black, Indigenous and racialized populations.
Anti-Black Racism Strategy
Anti-Black racism has a long, troubling history in Canada and many Black people continue to experience systemic racism and hate on a regular basis. In 2017, the ARD launched the Anti-Black Racism Strategy with a vision to eliminate disparity outcomes for Black Ontarians in the child welfare, education and justice sectors by 2024 to align with the close of the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent.
The objectives of the strategy are to:
- Lead long-term change across systems
- Build system capacity and competency
- Partner with “early adopter” service providers to study application on a wider scale
- Increase Black community engagement and capacity
- Increase public awareness and understanding of anti-Black racism
Under the strategy, the ARD has supported key sector partners and early adopters such as the Toronto District School Board, Peel Regional Police, Children’s Aid Society of Toronto and Durham District School Board to carry out foundational work to create long-term systemic change and build system capacity and competency to recognize and address the root causes of anti-Black racism within their institutions.
For example, the ARD provided $200,000 to the Toronto District School Board to address the historical and persistent inequities in the outcomes and experiences of Black students. This led to the establishment of the Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement, an initiative which focuses specifically on Black students and their well-being, achievement and success.
The ARD also provided $200,000 to the Peel Regional Police Service to support the Youth Engagement and Anti-Racism Initiative, which supports projects aimed at ending discrimination against Black, Indigenous, and other racialized populations.
One Vision One Voice
In July 2021, Ontario announced annualized funding to One Vision One Voice (OVOV), a community-led program focused on addressing anti-Black racism and the negative outcomes and experiences faced by African Canadian and Black children, youth and families in the child welfare system. Funding is being used to:
- Increase sector capacity to address anti-Black racism and to support the elimination of the disproportionalities and disparities experienced by Black and African Canadians involved in child welfare in Ontario.
- Increase culturally relevant and safe supports, programs and services for Black and African Canadian youth and children, that address intersectionality and reflect trauma-informed practice.
- Increase sector engagement with Black and African Canadian communities.
- Highlight and support the transformation of policies, programs, initiatives and resources that generate, maintain and exacerbate disparities of Black and African Canadians involved in child welfare in Ontario.
Black Youth Action Plan
The Black Youth Action Plan was created in 2017 to help address persistent outcome disparities for Black children, youth and families through a “cradle to career” approach that promotes family well-being and strengthens pathways to school, post-secondary and across life stages. Programs are evidence-based and community-delivered by Black-led and culturally focused organizations. Currently, 73 community-based organizations are delivering BYAP programs and more than 10,800 individuals have benefited from those programs.
A new economic empowerment program was announced in February 2022 to support more Black youth and young adults in achieving social and economic success. The new program is made up of three initiatives:
- The Career Launch initiative will support locally developed programs that help build career pathways for Black children and youth by providing access to professional networks and skills development in high-opportunity fields.
- The Career Advance initiative will connect Black youth and young professionals to training and work placement opportunities in high-opportunity sectors and help create the conditions for Black youth and young adults to succeed in the workforce.
- Sector Innovation Networks will support Black business leaders to advance Black-led solutions to address specific challenges in high-growth sectors of the economy.
Indigenous-focused anti-racism initiatives
Current and historical experiences of colonialism and systemic racism continue to deeply impact First Nation, Métis and Inuit people in Ontario. Colonialism and systemic racism underpin and perpetuate social, economic and cultural disparities that are unique to Indigenous communities.
The ARD’s anti-racism and equity mandate is, at its core, guided by a commitment to working in meaningful partnership with Indigenous peoples to address anti-Indigenous racism in Ontario and to center reconciliation within every aspect of this work.
In 2022, the ARD conducted over 30 relationship-building meetings with 16 First Nation, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous leaders and organizations to seek input and advice on potential opportunities for collaboration and partnership related to the review of Ontario’s Anti-Racism Strategic Plan. The ARD also conducted over 20 external and internal pre-engagements on the review, including presentations to the Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council. Furthermore, the ARD developed formalized partnerships with First Nation, Inuit and Métis leaders and organizations to support Indigenous-led community engagement for the review. Specifically, the ARD partnered with the Chiefs of Ontario, Anishinabek Nation, Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, Métis Nation of Ontario and Ontario Native Women’s Association.
The ARD continues to build relationships with First Nation, Métis, and Inuit and Urban Indigenous leaders and organizations in support of an Indigenous-focused anti-racism strategy as part of the review of the strategic plan and as a bedrock for the ARD’s work going forward. This ongoing relationship-building focuses on:
- establishing strong and sustained collaborative relationships to influence meaningful movement forward in all areas of reconciliation, addressing systemic barriers and advancing equity
- supporting community-specific co-led processes
- gathering community feedback that is representative of the diversity of First Nation, Métis and Inuit people within Ontario and of the unique experiences of communities, community organizations, and individual community members
- facilitating discussions with distinct groups, such as youth, women, Two-Spirit community members, and Elders, to better understand the unique barriers faced where identities intersect and across various life stages
- ensuring initiatives aimed at addressing anti-Indigenous racism are guided by community perspectives and work to achieve community-identified outcomes
Through ongoing engagement with First Nation, Métis, Inuit and Urban Indigenous partners, the ARD will continue to work with ministry and sector partners to seek opportunities to collaborate meaningfully on initiatives focused on reconciliation and addressing anti-Indigenous racism, and to support the identification and removal of barriers and disproportionalities in government policies, programs and services.
Economic development in Indigenous communities
Ensuring economic well-being for Indigenous people and communities is an ongoing priority for Ontario. The province is working with Indigenous partners to advance Indigenous-led approaches to economic development, prosperity and wealth creation that respect the diversity of Indigenous communities and cultures.
Since May 2021, the province has funded the Chiefs of Ontario First Nations Economic Growth and Prosperity Table to support economic advancement and well-being in Indigenous communities. In addition, the province also established a Wealth Creation Technical Table comprising Indigenous business experts across diverse industries to help inform the province’s approach to Indigenous economic development.
Both tables provided practical input and feedback on economic policy initiatives related to entrepreneurship, access to capital, procurement and skills training. Recommendations from these tables will be used to inform evidence-based decision-making on policies, programs and services across government to support economic advancement and well-being in Indigenous communities.
As part of Ontario’s efforts towards reconciliation, the province is also committed to sharing resource revenues with Indigenous communities. Resource revenue sharing (RRS) agreements enable Indigenous communities to share in the economic benefits of aggregates, forestry and mining developments.
Indigenous communities are using this revenue to address priorities in the areas of health, education, community, cultural and economic development. To date, Ontario has signed nine RRS agreements with Indigenous organizations—seven agreements with organizations representing 41 First Nation communities and two agreements with organizations representing Métis communities.
Pathways to Safety
In March 2022, Ontario released the first progress report on Pathways to Safety: Ontario’s Strategy in Response to the Final Report of the National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Co-led by the Office of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity, the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs and developed in partnership with the Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council, the report outlines steps taken since June 2021 to advance the safety and security of Indigenous women and children, as well as 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
Progress made in 2021-22 includes supporting the identification of Indian Residential School burial sites, funding for Indigenous cultural safety training for healthcare professionals and administrators, and work to deepen and strengthen relationships with First Nation, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous leaders as part of the Anti-Racism Anti-Hate (ARAH) Grant Program, among other anti-Indigenous racism initiatives.
The ministry continues to work towards implementing all actions under the whole-of-government strategy, as well as fulfilling additional accountability commitments such as developing an Indigenous Gender-Based Analysis approach, a culturally responsive performance measurement framework, and Women’s and Family and Survivor’s Circles, as part of the strategy’s commitment to fostering positive, systemic changes in safety, culture, health, justice and anti-Indigenous racism, and advancing an Ontario where all Indigenous women, children and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people live in safety and security, free from violence and exploitation.
Ontario Public Service Anti-Racism Policy
The OPS Anti-Racism Policy establishes a set of principles, program requirements and responsibilities to identify, prevent, remove and mitigate systemic racism barriers in employment facing Indigenous, Black and other racialized employees.
Established in 2018, the policy commits the OPS to lead by example through the development and implementation of an evidence-based, enterprise-wide anti-racism approach that includes:
- systemic racism barrier identification and removal
- systemic organizational change planning and equity review
- senior leadership diversification
- anti-racism competency and capacity building
To improve access to leadership opportunities and reduce disparities in employment outcomes, ministries developed five-year targets for the four pathways to leadership in the OPS (coaching and mentoring, leadership development programs, succession plans and recruitment shortlists). Progress to meet these targets is tracked annually and are included in the deputy minister performance assessments. The OPS released annual reports in November 2020 and November 2021 highlighting progress towards this goal.
Below are foundational initiatives that the Anti-Racism Directorate and ministries are in the progress of implementing under the policy.
Training for the Ontario Public Service
The ARD continues to develop the Anti-Racism Competency and Capacity Building (ARCC) Program, a series of foundational applied learning programs to help equip Ontario Public Service (OPS) and Broader Public Sector employees with anti-racism knowledge, skills and tools needed to build a public service that is more inclusive, equitable and responsive to the needs of all peoples of Ontario.
The series of programs includes:
- ARCC for Senior Leaders, which supports leaders to better understand their role in demonstrating principles of anti-racism leadership, as well as identifying and addressing systemic racism across the organization.
- ARCC for Current and Future Leaders, a pilot program that supports existing and emerging leaders across the OPS to better understand their role in demonstrating principles of anti-racism leadership, as well as identifying and addressing systemic racism.
- ARCC Digital Learning Program, which includes foundational content on anti-racism approaches and learning modules specifically targeted to HR practitioners and management.
- ARCC also offers training on Anti-Racism 101, Anti-Black Racism, Islamophobia and Engaging in Conversations about Anti-Racism.
As of April 1, 2022, 90% of senior management teams and deputy ministers participated in ARCC for Senior Leaders. As of September 1, 2022, over 31,000 OPS staff completed Module 1 of the ARCC Digital Learning Program, Exploring the Roots of Racism.
In partnership with ministries, the ARD procured the services of industry experts to guide staff towards an understanding of anti-Black racism and provide them with tools to advance systemic changes, for example, through virtual sessions on addressing and eliminating anti-Black racism in the OPS.
Additionally, the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs has a multi-year agreement with the Provincial Health Services Authority of British Columbia to deliver the San’yas Indigenous Cultural Competency Training (ICCT) Program across the OPS. Through this training, participants explore their own implicit biases, stereotypes and assumptions of Indigenous people. Data analysis conducted from 2018 to 2021 indicates that ICCT has enhanced knowledge, challenged harmful biases and stereotypes, and helped participants identify steps they could take to change their behaviour.
Roadmap to Racial Equity and Anti-Racism Action Plans
Addressing systemic racism requires meaningful, concerted efforts from every ministry to improve employment outcomes for all employees, allowing for equitable access to leadership and to build a stronger OPS.
The ARD in collaboration with partners led the development of the Roadmap to Racial Equity (Roadmap) in the OPS, which was finalized in January 2021. The Roadmap sets out strategic direction to ministries and commission public bodies on three key objectives designed to create equitable opportunities for all employees:
- building anti-racism competency and capacity
- diversifying the talent pool
- fostering and being accountable for an anti-racist and inclusive workplace
The Roadmap and its objectives are being implemented through ministries’ and commission public bodies’ local anti-racism action plans. These anti-racism action plans outline the comprehensive tactics specific to each ministry and commission public body, designed to achieve and sustain progress towards racial equity and inclusion.
As of March 31, 2022, all 24 ministries have submitted their required year-end anti-racism action plan to report on implementation progress. All 10 commission public bodies have also developed an anti-racism action plan.
An example of a ministry-led initiative is the Diverse Interview Panel Program (DIPP). Led by the Ministry of the Attorney General, the primary goal of the DIPP is to make it easier for hiring managers to assemble a more representative interview panel by providing them with access to a pool of volunteer managers and executives who self-identify as members of equity-seeking groups and support creating an inclusive workforce.
Review of the Strategic Plan
In March 2022, the ARD launched its review of Ontario’s Anti-Racism Strategic Plan, as required under the Anti-Racism Act, 2017. To continue to uphold the province’s commitment to targeting systemic racism and advancing racial equity, the Anti-Racism Act, 2017 requires the government to review the strategic plan at least every five years.
The review involves an online public survey, targeted community-led consultations with communities that have been most adversely impacted by racism, cross-sector engagements with key leaders and partnerships with First Nation, Métis, Inuit and Urban Indigenous peoples and organizations.
The survey garnered more than 1,200 submissions from individuals and organizations. The ARD will continue to seek feedback through community-led engagements, working with communities to assess the current strategic plan as well as explore emerging priorities – which include economic empowerment, racially motivated hate, and supporting children and youth. Findings from the review will inform the direction of anti-racism initiatives and the next provincial anti-racism strategic plan.
The annual reports on Ontario’s Anti-Racism Strategic Plan have outlined progress made towards addressing systemic racism and advancing racial equity. This third annual progress report focuses on specific elements of the strategic plan and foundations that have been built to sustain the province’s anti-racism efforts going forward.
The implementation of the strategic plan thus far includes race-based data collection, the ongoing development of an anti-racism impact assessment process, establishing anti-racism legislation and the Anti-Racism Directorate, community collaboration and public education initiatives, Indigenous-focused and anti-Black racism initiatives, and driving change within the OPS.
Looking ahead, Ontario continues to be committed to building a province where systemic barriers do not stand in the way of opportunities and well-being. The next anti-racism strategic plan, informed by public and community-led engagements, will highlight the province’s next steps to build a stronger, safer and equitable Ontario.