The Ontario Public Service (OPS) is a diverse organization with 22.8 per cent of its employees identifying as racialized and 2.6 per cent identifying as Indigenous. The OPS has been recognized as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 11 consecutive years, one of Greater Toronto’s Top Employers and one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People, and Canada’s Greenest Employers (2018). However, Indigenous, Black and racialized employees within the OPS have reported that their experiences do not always reflect a fair and inclusive workplace.footnote 1

The OPS Diversity and Inclusion Snapshot (2018) reports that:

  • racialized employees make up approximately 25 per cent of Ontario’s labour force and 23 per cent of the OPS
  • Black employees are 2.5 times more likely than other racialized employees to report experiencing discrimination
  • OPS employees with a disability have an engagement score of 63.9 out of 100, almost six points lower than the OPS average score
  • 40 per cent of Black OPS employees think hiring practices are unfair
  • 38 per cent of Indigenous OPS employees think hiring practices are unfair

As a result of the OPS Diversity and Inclusion Snapshot report, communicated the need for a coordinated OPS-wide effort to advance diversity, anti-racism and inclusion in the workplace to address concerns around discrimination and harassment experienced by Indigenous, Black and racialized OPS employees.

Launched in 2017, the OPS Inclusion and Diversity Blueprint includes a priority for setting a corporate goal to diversify senior leadership in the OPS, so it is more representative of the Ontario labour force.

Effective April 2018, the OPS Anti-Racism Policy commits the OPS to lead by example through the development and implementation of an evidence-based OPS-wide anti-racism approach that includes the Systemic Racism Barrier Identification and Removal, Systemic Organizational Change Planning and Equity Review, Senior Leadership Diversification and Anti-Racism Competency and Capacity (ARCC) Building Program.

This approach supports the OPS in creating more equitable human resources policies, procedures and practices for all employees, that includes Indigenous, Black and racialized employees in the OPS.

The implementation of the OPS Anti-Racism Policy is guided by the following principles:

  1. Systemic focus: We are focusing on proactively removing systemic racism barriers and root causes of racial inequities in provincial institutions.
  2. Whole-of-government, collective impact approach: Work across government – not in silos – is required to address systemic racial inequities.
  3. Targeted universalism: Everyone benefits from government’s removal of systemic racism barriers faced by the most disadvantaged communities. Reducing barriers and disparities leads to a better Ontario for everyone.
  4. Distinctness and intersectionality of racism: We acknowledge racism is experienced differently by various racialized groups, and within groups along intersectional lines, including gender identity, creed, class, sexual orientation, ability, history of colonization and any other social or personal attributes.
  5. Inclusive process: Indigenous and racialized people must be meaningfully engaged. Their perspectives and guidance inform the strategy and government decision-making.
  6. Transparent, evidence-based approach: Our approach is evidence-based and driven by measurable goals and outcomes that are tracked and publicly reported annually. This is consistent with Ontario’s Open Government principles.
  7. Sustainability: Setting the foundation for long-term government anti-racism efforts.

This report outlines the Anti-Racism Directorate (ARD) and the Inclusive Diversity Office (IDO) progress in implementing the OPS Anti-Racism Policy and program.

Message from the Deputy Solicitor General

All ministries, leaders, champions and employees have the opportunity to be strong agents of change within the OPS. Each of us have responsibility and accountability towards our goal of establishing and maintaining a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce that includes Black, racialized and Indigenous professionals.

There has been a longstanding call for change by public servants, particularly Indigenous, Black and racialized OPS employees. These calls have been supported by key stakeholders, who have consistently reported a difference related to hiring practices, learning and development opportunities and the workplace discrimination and harassment complaint management process.

In response, the OPS is undertaking a multi-pronged approach to address policies, programs and practices in government that contribute to systemic racism, a lack of diversity in its leadership ranks and persistent barriers to an inclusive workplace.

In 2018, the OPS Anti-Racism Policy was released to help identify and remove systemic barriers and advance racial equity in the OPS, and has developed a roadmap to examine its policies, practices and systems.

The ARD has and continues to work with various partners across government to drive anti-racism competency and capacity building initiatives and programs as part of the OPS’s broader equity, diversity and inclusion efforts.

I would like to thank our ministries, our leaders, and employees dedicated to anti-racism efforts across the OPS. You are all champions of positive change.

In Friendship,

Deborah Richardson
Deputy Solicitor General

Message from the Assistant Deputy Minister

Everyone deserves to be treated with fairness, respect and dignity. The ARD leads anti-racism initiatives and collaborates across government to identify, address and prevent systemic racism in policy, legislation, programs and services that impacts Ontarians and OPS employees.

Diversity and fairness are the cornerstones of our OPS values. However, even in an open and diverse organization like ours, we know there are real challenges.

At the ARD, we are building a foundation for systemic change by first acknowledging that systemic racism, discrimination and harassment need to be addressed through organizational change.

As part of the OPS Anti-Racism Policy, the ARD has led the development of a multi-year Anti-Racism Program, which contains tools for change:

  1. Systemic Racism Barrier Identification and Removal (SRBIR) Process
  2. Anti-Racism Competency and Capacity (ARCC) Building Program
  3. Senior Leadership Diversification (Treasury Board lead)
  4. Independent External Review of Complex Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Prevention (WDHP) Cases

These tools work simultaneously to build the system’s capacity to apply an anti-racism approach to address racial inequities in the OPS. As a result, this will lead to the advancement of racial equity and the removal of barriers that prevent OPS employees from reaching their full potential.

Our collective success will be a result of our sustainable anti-racism efforts and along this journey to advancing racial equity within the OPS, it is paramount we all work together for this common goal. Let us continue the conversations needed to identify and address systemic racism, discrimination and harassment today.


Ali Veshkini
Assistant Deputy Minister/Chief Administrative Officer, Corporate Services Division
(Acting) Assistant Deputy Minister, Anti-Racism Directorate

Message from the Chief Talent Officer

As Ontario continues to grow and change, the OPS must strive to increasingly reflect the public we serve. We are committed to fostering a culture that supports every person to achieve their full potential by harnessing inclusive leadership and diversifying our leadership teams.

A diverse workforce is critical to adopting innovative ideas and approaches to solving problems. To develop people-centred policies, programs and services, we must ensure that the values and the practices of our leaders and employees are open, inspiring and inclusive.

Diversifying the OPS requires examining our policies, practices and systems and using data to take concrete, measurable actions that will reduce systemic barriers and eliminate discrimination and harassment for all employees.

The OPS Inclusion and Diversity Blueprint provides a roadmap for harnessing our diversity to create a workforce for the future. It focuses on diversifying the leadership talent pool, embedding inclusive competencies in leadership hiring, evaluation and promotion, strengthening accountability through measurement and reporting, as well as using digital storytelling channels to promote understanding and a sense of belonging.

Our successes and continuous improvements made towards diversifying the talent pipeline, advancing inclusive leadership and building capacity to deliver inclusive public services is based on employee voices, engagement with our senior leaders, hiring managers and partners across government, including our collaboration with the ARD.

Building a representative public service is a fundamental value of strong civil service. I am committed to taking actions to deliver on this priority.

In solidarity,

Brian Fior
Chief Talent Officer and Associate Deputy Minister
Office of the Public Service Commission


Anti-Racism Directorate and Inclusive Diversity Office

With more than 14.5 million residents speaking over 200 languages, Ontario has the most culturally diverse population in Canada.

  • Ontario is home to the largest population of Indigenous people in the country.
  • By 2036, racialized people will account for an estimated 48 per cent of Ontario’s population
  • One in four Ontarians has some form of disability.footnote 2

Our OPS Inclusion and Diversity Blueprint is a roadmap to creating a workplace that harnesses the richness and strength of our diversity. Inclusive workplaces go together with engaged employees, a diverse talent pool, and a creative and collaborative workforce.

The IDO and ARD have related but different roles. Together we are working to develop a diverse, accessible and inclusive OPS that prioritizes and focuses on deliberate efforts to confront bias and systemic barriers in recruitment, hiring and promotion.

The ARD serves as:

  • an anti-racism expert and advisor
  • strategic catalyst to lead the development of the Anti-Racism Program, including setting its overall objectives and vision
  • anti-racism competency and capacity building
  • coordination and support to relevant central agency ministries, ministries and commission public bodies (CPBs)footnote 3 on anti-racism implementation efforts.

The ARD:

  • provides guidance and anti-racism training materials to help ministries and CPBs identify, remove, prevent and mitigate systemic racism barriers in employment, and advance racial equity in the OPS
  • leads annual trend analysis of disaggregated race data, in collaboration with relevant corporate, ministry and CPB partners, towards the purpose of systemic racism barrier identification
  • leads the development of an OPS-wide action plan with identified focus areas, in collaboration with relevant corporate, ministry and CPB partners to:
    • assess for the potential presence of systemic racism barriers in employment and,
    • take necessary actions, which may include remedies to remove or mitigate identified systemic racism barriers
  • leads the program review and hold engagement sessions, at least every five years, and recommend amendments to the program as needed.

The IDO leads corporate diversity, inclusion and equity initiatives across the OPS. It acts as a central hub by:

  • developing data-driven and accountability frameworks for goal and target-setting to diversify senior leadership
  • facilitating collaboration between human resources (HR) equity partners and OPS employee networks
  • measuring and reporting on impact to the OPS

IDO initiatives such as the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-Racism, Accessibility, Literacy and Learning (IDEAALL) learning path for senior leaders, and digital engagement platforms foster learning and dialogue about equity and inclusion in the OPS. The IDO contributes to building trust and confidence in public services, driving better policy and delivery, and leading by example in building a more inclusive, diverse and respectful public service.

Anti-racism policy report back

The OPS Anti-Racism Policy took effect on April 2, 2018. The purpose of this policy is two-fold:

  • identify, remove, prevent and mitigate any systemic racism barriers in employment that contribute to inequitable racial outcomes in employment
  • advance racial equity in the OPS

As referenced in sections 8.8-8.11 of the policy, the ARD, in collaboration with the IDO, is required to annually and publicly report on the progress of its efforts to address systemic racism and promote racial equity in the OPS. Requirements include:

  • program progress reports must comply with privacy standARDs relating to personal information
  • program progress reports must be tabled at the Public Service Commission for approval prior to public release
  • the ARD must publicly release the Program Progress Reports annually

This progress report addresses fiscal years 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 and focuses on foundational work and realignments in the OPS.

Program progress components and achievements

Systemic racism barrier identification and achievements


The Systemic Racism Barrier Identification and Removal Process (SRBIR) is led by the ARD and is internal to the OPS. It has cross-government linkages with corporate, ministries and other key stakeholders.

The intended outcome of this process to foster conditions that result in a diverse, inclusive and respectful OPS where Indigenous, Black and racialized employees can fully participate as a result of equitable human resource policies, programs and practices. The ARD in collaboration with corporate partners and ministries continue to work towards developing an OPS-wide action plan that is informed by feedback from various engagement initiatives such as Data Walks and Race Talks. Per the requirements in sections 8.3 and 8.4 OPS Anti-Racism Policy, ministries and CPBs will be provided guidance on the implementation of the OPS-wide action plan and will be required to report back to the ARD on this implementation, as applicable.

SRBIR’s purpose is to develop and apply a framework to support the identification and removal of systemic racism barriers and develop an OPS-wide anti-racism action plan. Ministries and CPBs are required to contribute to an annual trend analysis. This includes collection and analysis of disaggregated race-based data from employees using the lens of intersectionality, which acknowledges the ways in which people’s lives are shaped by their multiple and overlapping identities. For example, a person with a disability who is also racialized may experience compounded systemic barriers. This process allows for reporting on racial disparities to raise awareness of differences in employment, and the development of responsive action plans to address and prevent employment barriers.

The SRBIR program is important because it:

  • builds awareness and understanding of racial disparities in employment outcomes
  • enhances the data collection and analysis framework to track these disparities over time
  • embeds anti-racism in the human resource framework
  • supports capacity building to implement OPS-wide and ministry action plans to correct disparities in outcomes

Key achievements

  • Obtained anonymized 2018 Employee Experience Survey dataset from Treasury Board Secretariat.
  • Conducted analysis with a focus on outcomes, to identify racial disparities in the employment journey.
  • Collaborated with IDO and the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility on the IDEAALL pilot project.
  • Developed framework tools and socialized the concept of Data Walks with stakeholders, corporate and central agency ministries.
  • The on-going development of the Race Talks toolkit to support senior management teams to champion conversations about race, racism, discrimination and anti-racism to advance racial equity.
  • ARD partnered with the Ministry of the Solicitor General’s (SOLGEN) Correctional Services Recruitment Unit to examine recruitment practices to identify and address systemic racial barriers in the recruitment process for correctional officers.

Data Walks

Following the adoption of the OPS Anti-Racism Policy, the ARD collaborated with Treasury Board Secretariat to access data from the 2018 Employee Experience Survey (EES). This was analyzed to identify racial disparities along the employment journey and introduce data walks across the organization.

Data Walks gathers personal experiences and qualitative insights to support the quantitative data from the EES. The information gathered during these sessions will allow for the assessment of data patterns and support the interpretation and analysis of survey findings allowing for the addressing and removal of some of the identified barriers focused on career advancement.

These sessions will provide a better understanding of the disparities and adverse impacts on employees, since the EES survey data lacks the necessary qualitative information that is integral to understanding the factors that sustains existing barriers and disparities.

Insights gathered from these sessions will be leveraged to assist in the development of the OPS-wide action plan to address racial equity, as well as support and inform human resource policy, planning and future priorities.

Data walks began in 2019 and will continue throughout 2020-21. Five data walks were completed with senior leaders from the following policy tables:

  • Huggins Steering Committee (July 2019)
  • Justice Assistant Deputy Minister’s (ADM)s Committee on Anti-Racism (July 2019)
  • Policy ADM Committee (November 2019)
  • ADMs Committee on Indigenous Affairs in (November 2019)
  • ADMs of Operations Committee (December 2019)

Future data walk audiences will include the Deputy Ministers’ Council as a component of the ARCC Building for Senior Executives, OPS employee networks and other diversity and inclusion partners and stakeholders.

Race Talks

Leadership and organizational change experts note that regular conversations amongst leaders and within organizations about race and anti-racism is a necessary complement to diversity training in order to effectively foster an inclusive and racially equitable workplace. In addition to data walks, the ARD is developing race talks for future engagement with the senior leaders across the organization.

To reinforce and build on the content that senior management teams would have received from the ARCC sessions, senior leaders will be further encouraged to have conversations with their management teams on anti-racism. The ARD is developing the race talks toolkit to guide leaders in these conversations so they can foster safe and authentic dialogue on how to address racial disparities and promote actions that change culture and build confidence. This toolkit is aimed to support senior management teams to champion the conversations about race and anti-racism among their management teams and to lead with racial equity.

The ARD’s ongoing development on the race talks toolkit plans to achieve the following goals and objectives:

  • promoting the understanding of racial equity in the workplace from a human resource perspective
  • enhancing racial equity by increasing knowledge and understanding of race, privilege, and unconscious bias
  • equipping leaders with equity literacy tools to have conversations about race in their workplace
  • defining the principles and values of racial equity leadership

Cross-government linkages between Data Walks and Race Talks:

  • support the building of anti-racism leadership competencies
  • facilitate collaboration on solutions to be included in responsive enterprise and local anti-racism action plans
  • develop tools and resources to support OPS ministries and other public sector organizations to identify and address systemic racism barriers in employment

2020-2021 next steps

  • Conduct Race Talks with senior leaders.
  • Consult with senior leaders on development of Race Talks toolkit.
  • Collaborate with corporate and ministries to develop an OPS-wide action plan.
  • Launch Data Walks with employee networks and other inclusion, diversity and anti-racism areas.

The ARD continues to engage and collaborate with corporate and central agency ministries for data collection, analysis, monitoring and reporting. A baseline of the 2018 EES dataset has been established for year-over-year analysis to identify trends or patterns in racial disparities in the employment journey. This data, complemented by qualitative insights from the Data Walks and other engagements, will inform the ARD’s efforts to build a racial equity culture that supports all OPS employees to work to their full potential.

Independent External Review of Complex WDHP Cases


The OPS is committed to creating and sustaining organizational change that advances an inclusive and racially equitable workplace. In 2018, Arleen Huggins, partner at Koskie Minsky LLP, was commissioned to conduct an independent external review of select individual cases and provide insights into how race-based discrimination and harassment complaints were being handled in the OPS.

Subsequently, the Secretary of the Cabinet released the findings through the Independent External Review of Complex WDHP Cases (also known as the Huggins Report) which included 12 operational and seven systemic recommendations (see Appendix A). As part of the OPS response to the report, the ARD, in collaboration with TBS and the Ministry of Government Consumer Services established a governance structure to create a streamlined approach to addressing the systemic recommendations.

Key achievements

In the summer of 2019, the Strategic Anti-Racism Response Steering Committee was established, comprised of internal partners, stakeholders and external anti-racism experts. This balanced representation leveraged knowledge, diverse anti-racism expertise and lived experiences. The steering committee develops a shared understanding of the systemic changes needed and to identify and promote innovative practices towards that goal.

The steering committee aims to advance the following outcomes:

  • enhance anti-racism knowledge, capacity and resources to identify and address systemic racial inequities in the workplace
  • increase workplace fairness and employment opportunities for Indigenous, Black and racialized employees
  • strengthen management and senior accountability for the success of Indigenous, Black and racialized employees

2020-21 next steps

  • Continued review by the Steering Committee of human resource and organizational development and change initiatives of the three partner ministries (MGCS, TBS and SOLGEN) through an anti-racism lens to strengthen their development and implementation and to ensure their alignment with the systemic recommendations of the Huggins Report.
  • Recognizing that systemic racism is not limited to MGCS, TBS and SOLGEN, the Huggins Report’s seven recommendations align with the responsibility that fall under the purview of particular divisions in these ministries, that have a broad impact across the OPS.
  • Development of a dashboard to report on the OPS’ progress in responding to the Huggins Report’s seven systemic recommendations, and in meeting the report’s strategic objective of advancing anti-racism organizational change.

In addition to the anti-racism expertise and insights of our external partners, having both the Black Ontario Public Service Employee Network and Nation to Nation network as part of this committee provided the ARD and its partners at TBS, and MGCS with a deeper understanding of the anti-oppressive approach needed to create a truly diverse, racially equitable and inclusive OPS.

The ARD would like to acknowledge the collaboration with Black Ontario Public Service Employee Network and Nation to Nation for participating in the steering committee. The steering committee benefited from their insights and personal experience of anti-Black racism and anti-Indigenous racism.

Senior leadership diversification


Based on 2018 EES data, Indigenous and racialized employees and employees with disabilities have the largest gaps in representation in senior leadership in the OPS. That is why the OPS Inclusion and Diversity Blueprint includes a priority for setting goals and targets to close gaps in representation and enable us to deliver more responsive public services for Ontarians.

In 2019-20, the OPS introduced a corporate goal to achieve parity with the Ontario labour force by 2025 for the most underrepresented groups in senior leadership.

To reach this goal, the IDO established a framework that guides ministries in setting annual commitments to expand the pool of qualified employees who have access to leadership opportunities. Ministries were required to set data-driven representation targets that focus on four pathways to leadership, including recruitment and selection processes, succession planning, leadership development programs and coaching, and mentoring.

Ministries identified gaps between their leadership teams and demographics in the Ontario labour force with respect to representation for six underrepresented groups: Indigenous, racialized employees, employees with disabilities, women, LGBTQ+ and Francophone employees. Given that each region faces unique challenges in providing equitable opportunities for underrepresented groups, ministries were encouraged to account for geographic and ministry-specific factors such as labour market statistics, representation in candidate feeder pools and the diversity of client populations when developing annual plans.

Key achievements

  • Set corporate goal to achieve parity with the Ontario labour force by 2025.
  • Required ministries to set commitments for all pathways to leadership.
  • Strengthened socio-demographic data collection to track progress.
  • Introduced a diversity and inclusion scorecard to drive accountability.

Data collection, reporting and accountability

The OPS relies on multiple data sources to track progress on senior leadership diversification. While the Employee Experience Survey provides us with indicators of year-over-year changes, efforts are underway to strengthen socio-demographic data collection across human resource programs to understand the diversity of participants in pathways to leadership.

Corporate human resources in the Office of the Public Service Commission (in TBS and MGCS), including executive programs and services, talent acquisition, Talent Management Branch, and ministry human resources strategic business units; have implemented data collection initiatives to enable tracking and reporting on annual targets.

Deputy Minister diversity and inclusion scorecard

The OPS has also introduced an annual Deputy Minister diversity and inclusion scorecard to track and report on ministry targets. Starting in 2019-20, scorecards have been used, in part, to inform deputy minister performance conversations with the Secretary of the Cabinet. Scorecards are the primary reporting mechanism to hold senior leaders in the OPS accountable for our collective goal of achieving parity with the Ontario labour force. Ministry senior management teams and their respective human resources strategic business units leverage scorecards to monitor progress and facilitate conversations about opportunities to develop and advance underrepresented talent.


A foundation has been set to track and report on progress and we are starting to see early indicators of success. In 2018-19, as part of the Diversity Career Champions Program, 57 per cent of matched participants identified as racialized, with 13 per cent identifying as Black and two per cent as Indigenous. This grew to 66 per cent, with 13 per cent identifying as Black and two per cent as Indigenous in 2019-20.

Comparing the 2018-19 and 2019-20 reporting years of the Advancing Into Management (AIM) Program and the Leadership Development Program (LDP), representation of racialized participants has grown eight per cent in one year – from 35 per cent to 43 per cent. Six per cent of participants self-identified as Black and four per cent as Indigenous in 2019-20.

Starting in 2019-20, baseline socio-demographic data was collected from participants in recruitment and selection pathways. When it comes to representation in executive recruitment shortlists, 29 per cent of shortlisted candidates self-identified as racialized, with six per cent of respondents self-identifying as Black and three per cent as Indigenous.

A progress report on 2019-20 targets along with data on year-over-year changes in senior leadership demographics will be released to the OPS in summer 2020. We expect that transparent year-over-year reporting to the OPS will further drive organizational accountability and efforts to achieve results.

Anti-racism competency and capacity building program


The Anti-Racism Competency and Capacity (ARCC) building program is an evidenced-based, applied-learning program designed to increase a foundational awareness and understanding of systemic racism. It is designed to equip OPS employees with the anti-racism knowledge, skills, and tools needed to foster open dialogue and advance racial equity. It focuses on:

  • a shared learning journey to explore personal racial identity, inclusion and racial equity
  • targeted role-based competency building

The intended effect of ARCC is to help build a public service that is more inclusive, equitable and responsive in meeting the needs of Ontario.

Section 8.5 of the Anti-Racism Policy outlines that the ARD will lead the development of OPS-wide anti-racism competency and capacity building for the following three streams:

  • Employee anti-racism training - Anti-racism training made available to employees.
  • Manager anti-racism training - Every manager will be required to complete anti-racism training. Newly appointed managers must complete this training as soon as possible after assignment to a management position.
  • Customized anti-racism training - This ARCC building will include customized anti-racism training for OPS HR professionals.

Program design

We conducted jurisdictional scans looking at over 30 organizations across the globe delivering anti-racism and inclusion-related learning programs. The program and learning design considered behavioural theory, instructional design principles, key reports on race literature in Ontario and best practices from anti-racism experts.

We engaged a wide variety of internal and external partners who helped shaped the development and success of the program, including the:

  • Ontario Human Rights Commission
  • Ontario Police College
  • Office of the Public Service Commission
  • City of Toronto, Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit
  • Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies
  • OPS Employee Networks
  • Government Alliance on Racial Equity and Haas
  • ministry partners such as the OPS Diversity Council
  • ministry inclusion leads and members

Program delivery

Education and awareness are the stepping stones to initiate conversations from understanding diversity to discussing racism and discrimination in the public service. These public awareness initiatives require a significant cultural shift both at an institutional and leadership level.

The ARD has made significant gains introducing the narrative of racism and discrimination through various ARCC program presentations, during program development and pilot sessions.

Throughout 2019, the ARCC program was piloted within the justice sector, the Diversity Council, as well as with HR partners. ARCC pilots were conducted with the following partners:

  • Ministry of the Attorney General - Civil Law Division (two-day sessions)
  • Office of the Independent Police Review Director (two-day sessions)
  • WDHP Program Office – Program Delivery Team (two-day training)
  • Ministry of Children, Community and Social Cervices managers in the Youth Justice Divisions (two-day sessions)
  • Diversity Council members (one-day session)

In addition, a dedicated ARCC session for senior leaders was conducted in January 2020 as part of the Joint Senior Management Committee of SOLGEN reaffirming the ministry’s commitment to anti-racism leadership.

Program evaluation

ARCC pilot program participants feedback can be summed up in six major themes:

  • increased awareness of self and others
  • understanding the importance of playing an active role in addressing racism
  • understanding the importance of creating space for difficult conversations and making mistakes
  • more comprehensive understanding of racism including its pervasiveness
  • understanding that anti-racism work is challenging and takes time but is necessary
  • new understanding about racism in Canada’s history

The ARD continues to develop a suite of program evaluation tools to support the collection, analyzing and reporting of individual learning impacts and organizational outcomes achieved through the participation in ARCC.

The ARD is proud of the journey we took in building a comprehensive and foundational learning program that will build awareness and help to change behaviours to support culture and organizational transformation in the OPS.

Anti-racism learning and development

While ARCC is its foundational program, the ARD occasionally can support ministry and enterprise partners by delivering customized anti-racism learning and development programs. For example, leveraging components of the ARCC program, the ARD facilitated IDEAALL program pilot sessions on anti-racism. Using our anti-racism expertise, we helped design “Shifting the Mindset” a full-day learning program for members of correctional services employee networks dedicated to inclusion, equity, intersectionality, anti-racism and mental health.

Highlights for 2020-21 and beyond

Applying a multi-year delivery model, the ARD will be expanding its suite of ARCC programming for delivery across all levels of OPS leadership including:

  • senior executives (deputy ministers, associate deputy ministers)
  • senior leaders (assistant deputy ministers and senior managers)
  • leaders (managers)
  • human resources practitioners using a variety of formats (in-person and virtual instructor led)

In the future, the ARD will be developing ARCC programming targeting employees.


ARCC is a foundational program that requires a whole-of-government approach to shift the culture of the OPS when it comes to discussing systemic racism, discrimination and harassment. ARD will continue to work with partners to design, develop and enhance the ARCC suite of programming to build capacity and competency for inclusive and anti-racism leadership across the OPS. Our partners include:

  • IDO and IDO Groups (IDEAALL Working Group, Diversity Council, ministry inclusion leads and the Inclusion Reference Group)
  • human resources partners across the OPS, including the Inclusive Anti-Racism Accessibility Diversity (IARAD) human resource policy table, Office of the Public Service Commission and Centre for Leadership and Learning
  • OPS employee networks (for example, the Black Ontario Public Service Employee Network, Nation to Nation, South Asian Network, East Asian Network)
  • OPS Accessibility Office

The way forward

The way forward will build on the progress that the ARD and the IDO have made along with key partners. The OPS has an ongoing commitment to anti-racism, diversity, accessibility and inclusion. Action will continue to be implemented to address systemic barriers and challenges that result from racism.

Continued action

Continued engagement with ministries, CPBs and OPS employee networks

The engagement process on the development and implementation for anti-racism initiatives means better sharing of innovative approaches, the development and sharing of new data and identifying future areas for local ministry action plans to address anti-racism and discrimination.

Going forward, we will continue to engage OPS employee networks and other committees and tables that represent Black, racialized and Indigenous employee voices to seek meaningful feedback and engagement on anti-racism work.

Continued engagement with other levels of government

Both the federal and municipal governments are important partners in the work to address systemic racism and discrimination. The ARD continues to strengthen those partnerships and share best practices.

It is through ongoing discussions with our partners that the ARD can identify emerging issues, encourage common approaches and identify areas for further collaboration.

Empowering OPS employees and leaders

The ARD recognizes the need to support employees and leaders on the ground who have questions about addressing various forms of racism and discrimination. Expansion of the suite of the ARCC programming through varied delivery models will be developed to address these needs.

Enhancing supports for capacity building and promoting dialogues

The ARD recognizes the need to support senior leaders with the tools and information to facilitate conversations about race and anti-racism in the workplace. The Race Talks toolkit will be offered to support senior leaders’ capacity-building to promote racial equity, diversity and inclusion more broadly.


The ARD acknowledges the importance of intersectionality as a foundational element in all the work that we do. Racism is experienced differently by various racialized and Indigenous groups and within groups along intersectional lines, including disability status, gender identity, creed, class, sexual orientation, history of colonization or other personal attributes.

The ARD along with our ministries apply a lens of intersectionality when reviewing OPS inclusive workplace policies and programs and delivery of the ARCC Program to reflect how systemic employment barriers intersect with specific barriers for employees with disabilities, transphobia and sexism.

Data collection, reporting and accountability

The OPS relies on multiple data sources to track progress on senior leadership diversification as well to monitor and report on the experience of employees through disaggregated race-based analysis. As a result, enhanced, more refined and consistent tracking, collection and measurement of data is necessary for any anti-racism initiative.

Efforts are underway to strengthen socio-demographic data collection across human resource programs to understand the diversity of participants in pathways to leadership. As well, enhance the collection of disaggregated data by providing meaningful categories of race and ethno-cultural origins.

What success will look like

The OPS should acknowledge anti-racism and engage in anti-racism efforts to dismantle systemic racism that drives cultural change for better OPS employment outcomes.footnote 4

The future of the organization should support:

  • all employees in seeing themselves reflected in their senior leaders across the OPS
  • hiring managers and HR partners in using anti-racism knowledge and skills to inform their approaches to address barriers to recruitment, hiring and promotion
  • employees in being equipped with anti-racism knowledge and tools to address the negative impact of racism at the individual and systems levels to deliver stronger public services
  • good quality data and consistent measures are used to guide our efforts
  • employees and leaders in having access to anti-racism competency capacity building training that is engaging, practical and relevant to their work
  • hearing all OPS employee voices as essential
  • OPS employee networks to continue in their anti-racism, diversity and inclusion work, as they play a vital role for continuous improvement of the policies, practices and programs that impact all employees
  • an OPS with equitable policies, procedures and practices to better enable an organization where all employees regardless of their racial identity are able to achieve their full potential


Huggins Report recommendations

Systemic recommendations

  1. Revise WDHP to include systemic issues under the Respectful Workplace Policy. Assign race-based complaints to specialized teams of WDHP advisors.
  2. Collect disaggregated data on WDHP complainants and respondents annually.
  3. Mandate widespread anti-racism training for management by qualified individuals.
  4. Devise and implement early resolution initiatives to address issues giving rise to potential WDHP complaints.
  5. Conduct an overview of hiring, recruitment and promotion competitions and appointment policies and practices with a systemic anti-racism lens.
  6. Create "championship" opportunities for racialized employees.
  7. Establish management accountability.

Operational recommendations

  1. Train WDHP advisors at a minimum, every three years.
  2. Explain preliminary assessments for "in-scope" and "out-of-scope" complaints clearly.
  3. Provide timely notice in writing upon change of WDHP advisors.
  4. Complaints and responses should be drafted by participants where possible.
  5. Exchange complaint and response between the parties early in the process.
  6. Conduct intake interviews in-person if requested.
  7. Mandate communication of timing delays in writing.
  8. Provide regular WDHP process status updates in writing.
  9. Provide notice of initiation of WDHP process in writing.
  10. Update pre-approved list of external investigators with anti-racism and cultural sensitivity training.
  11. Dispense with the internal investigations process.
  12. Recommend support for participants such as engaging early with Employee and Family Assistance Program services and consider finding comparable positions for complainants.