Collective Power

A Message from the President and the Executive Director

The onset of the global pandemic in 2020 exposed deep structural and systemic inequities in our society. But awareness alone is not enough to bring about systemic change. We learned we must keep working with communities for progressive change, at home, at work, at school and in governments and public institutions.

Despite a promise to do better, we saw a differential response by the federal government to humanitarian crises facing racialized peoples, and insufficient response to calls for immigration status regularization for migrant workers and others. Governments promised to put internationally educated health practitioners to work to fill the shortfall in trained healthcare personnel. But we are still waiting for results.

We were encouraged that all orders of government collected disaggregated health data during the pandemic – after years of advocacy by OCASI and others. The data showed health outcomes disparities for Black people in particular and racialized peoples in general. But these measures may soon be stopped. We will continue to advocate for the collection of disaggregated race data across all government and public institution activities.

Across the country, social justice groups and all human service sectors agreed that we cannot return to a status quo that perpetuates ongoing colonization, keeps women subordinate, and upholds structural and systemic racism. We must continue to call for change. Our new three-year strategic plan will focus on the themes of strengthening organizational health, capacity and infrastructure; fostering the collective capacity of the im/migrant and refugee serving sector; and advocating for equitable policy outcomes. We began some of this work with the webinar series, “Racial Equity: From Intention to Action”.

We will continue to call for action and hold governments, media, and the social media industry accountable for the deep harm done to our communities by narratives of racism, xenophobia, anti-Asian and anti-Muslim racism, antisemitism and hate; a broad and inclusive immigration status regularization program free of the discriminatory criteria of past programs; and systemic change to the entire immigration and refugee system, beyond anti-racism training for government employees.

We will continue to call for systemic change to eliminate racialized poverty; call for racial equity in the federal government’s GBA+ framework; support for initiatives to end gender-based violence and labour exploitation; and pay equity for the immigrant and refugee-serving sector.

We are committing to leave no one behind. As your provincial Council, we will continue to fight the good fight!

Janet Madume, President

Debbie Douglas, Executive Director