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Anti-Racism Directorate Youth Engagement Session

May 2018

Anti-Racism Directorate Youth Engagement Session

Executive Summary

One of Ontario’s greatest strengths is diversity. Yet, systemic racism is a prevalent issue in Ontario despite the abundance of diverse backgrounds and cultures in local cities and communities. Systemic racism occurs when an institution or set of institutions working together creates or maintains racial inequity. This can be unintentional, and does not necessarily mean that people within an organization are racist. It is often caused by hidden institutional biases in policies, practices, and processes that privilege or disadvantage people based on race. It can be the result of doing things the way they have always been done, without considering how they impact particular groups differently.

Decades of research show that Ontario’s Indigenous and Black populations experience systemic racism and inequitable outcomes. Individuals in Ontario also face racism due to their religion; this includes Islamophobia and antisemitism. The systemic nature of the problem impacts many throughout society, including vulnerable groups such as Ontario’s youth. The Anti-Racism Directorate (ARD) was created to target systemic racism by building an anti-racism approach into the way government develops policies, makes decisions, evaluates programs, and monitors outcomes. The ARD takes a collaborative approach to better understand the causes and impacts of systemic racism. It does this by working with ministries across government on policy interventions, collaborating with communities that are impacted by systemic racism, and working to increase public awareness. By engaging the public, the ARD seeks to better understand how people have experienced or witnessed racism across different population groups, geographies, and demographics. Combining insights from engagement with data and traditional research, the ARD will develop and lead public education initiatives to increase awareness of systemic racism and how it impacts Indigenous and racialized people.