News / Toronto

Toronto council approves action plan to confront anti-Black racism

It still needs budget approval, but over five years, the plan will address policies and practices embedded in Canadian institutions that reflect and reinforce beliefs, attitudes, prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination directed at people of African descent.

Activist Ravyn Wngz, centre, a member of Black Lives Matter Toronto, reviews a draft of the city's anti-black-racism action plan in May 2017. The action plan still needs to be approved in the 2018 budget, which will be considered next week.

Jesse Winter / Torstar News Service Order this photo

Activist Ravyn Wngz, centre, a member of Black Lives Matter Toronto, reviews a draft of the city's anti-black-racism action plan in May 2017. The action plan still needs to be approved in the 2018 budget, which will be considered next week.

Council has approved an action plan to confront anti-Black racism.

The action plan still needs to be approved in the 2018 budget, to be considered next week. In its report, city staff said it is requesting close to $1 million to get started.

Over five years, the action plan will address “policies and practices embedded in Canadian institutions that reflect and reinforce beliefs, attitudes, prejudice, stereotyping and/or discrimination that is directed at people of African descent and is rooted in their unique history and experience of enslavement and colonization here in Canada,” the report said.

In Toronto, there are more than 200,000 Black residents, many of whom experience a lack of opportunity, poor health, mental health and education, unemployment and precarious employment and poverty, according to the report.

In 2018, budget permitting, the city will develop an anti-Black racism unit to spearhead the action plan, a professional development tool for Black public servants, a mayor’s roundtable on Black business, a race-based data collection strategy, and a community team to help Toronto police eliminate anti-Black racism in its policies.

It will also invest in a Black youth leadership grant, internship program and queer and trans youth services, and develop a mandatory learning program for city staff and law enforcement.

“These are good first steps towards confronting entrenched racism in key institutions, supporting the economic empowerment of Black Torontonians and creating greater space for Black youth,” wrote the Jamaican Canadian Association board of directors to the executive committee Nov. 28.

CUPE Local also supported the action plan. In a letter to the executive committee, it said many of its members experience and serve clients who experience anti-Black racism.

“We are deeply saddened to report that incidences of racism still occur in city workplaces and services,” it said. “It is critically important that the action plan be funded and implemented in 2018.”

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