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Ontario Announces a Three Year Anti-Racism Strategic Plan

March 15, 2017

Cover page for A Better Way ForwardThe Ontario government has announced a new provincial plan which aims to target systemic racism in government policies, decisions and programs.

 

A Better Way Forward: Ontario’s 3-year Anti-Racism Strategic Plan, will work to identify and eliminate barriers for racialized populations, which includes Black, Indigenous, and other racialized communities. The plan is composed of initiatives under four categories: Policy, Research and Evaluation, Sustainability and Accountability; Public Education and Awareness and Community Collaboration.

Key components of the strategy include:

  • The development of a data framework and guidelines that would collect race-based data in various sectors in order to better understand where racial inequalities exist.
  • Implementing an anti-racism impact assessment framework to assist in removing unconscious bias in proposed policies, programs and decisions, beginning with impact assessment pilot projects within child welfare, justice and education sectors in spring, 2017.
  • Anti-racism legislation that would give government authority to mandate the use of race-related data collection and the anti-racism impact assessment framework.
  • A four-year commitment with $47 million in funding for Ontario’s Black Youth Action Plan to provide supports for black youth and their families to address outcome disparities.
  • Community collaboration, which includes the minister’s anti-racism consultation group and anti-racism conference.
  • Targeted public education and awareness initiatives to deepen the public’s understanding of the many forms of racism.

Systemic racism is defined throughout the document as the process in which an institution or set of institutions work to maintain racial inequality. This can be unintentional, and may be informed by racist policies and practices from the past (including colonization and slavery) that can continue to impact institutions at a systemic level and further create gaps for racialized populations.

Individuals limited by systemic racism are at greater risk for poor mental health and, in some cases, mental health conditions. CMHA Ontario discussed the need to embed equity in provincial mental health policy and planning in our paper on equity and mental health.

The proposed anti-racism strategy plans to build on the work that has taken place in other ministries, including the Anti-Racism Directorate in the MCSCS Strategy for a Safer Ontario, and the Ministry of Educations Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy.

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