The City’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism unit (CABR) is responsible for rolling out the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism. The action plan is SMART – strategic and specific; measurable; achievable; relevant and realistic; and timely. Most importantly, it responds to the priorities identified by Toronto’s diverse Black communities.
Black Torontonians (African descent or origin, African Black Caribbean, African-Canadian, Canadians of African descent) are contributing to all areas of city life-adding their talents and assets to make Toronto stronger, more vibrant and more successful.
However, studies continue to show that anti-Black racism still exists in this city, affecting the life chances of more than 200,000 people of African descent or origin who call Toronto home. Anti-Black racism has had detrimental impacts on the life and work of Black people in our city.
As the government closest to the people, the City of Toronto recognizes its responsibility to create a city that works for all residents. Confronting and removing barriers caused by Anti-Black Racism benefits all Torontonians, especially other Toronto communities experiencing racism and marginalization.
To begin confronting anti-Black racism in Toronto, City Council adopted on December 5, 2017 the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism.
The Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism is the result of a collaborative effort between the City of Toronto and Torontonians of African descent. The review of 41 years of reports and recommendations on anti-Black racism formed the basis for 41 community conversations in partnership with 18 community agencies, and engagement from over 800 members of Toronto’s diverse Black communities.
The chart below captures the Year Four actions from the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism. The CABR Unit continues to work with the City’s Agencies, Boards, Commissions and Divisions to track, evaluate, and report out on the status of actions. The Year One, Year Two and Year Three work plan summaries are also available for review.
|Priorities||Rec. #||Key Deliverables||Status|
|1. Service Targeting & Coordination
Year Four will prioritize integrating and coordinating action to improve the health and wellbeing of Black communities, as well as leveraging the City’s diverse networks, relationships and convening power to align existing and new investments through and beyond COVID-19, with a focus on delivering improved outcomes across seven integral social determinants of health.
|#1.1||Develop and implement training on effective programming for Black children and youth, through an Anti-Black Racism Lens.|
|#1.2||Increase supply and variety of culturally-appropriate before- and after-school programs with clear learning objectives, including STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) programs.|
|#4.2||Work with the Province to leverage Black cultural knowledge to lead and provide more mental health services across the city for Black Torontonians, including clinics, on-call counsellors, harm reduction programs and supports for post-traumatic stress disorder.|
|#5.2||Replicate and expand effective models of Black-led health and community services to underserved neighbourhoods and populations of Black Torontonians.|
|2. Inclusive Economic Development
Year Four will prioritize the develop and support of equitable economic development opportunities that foster increased neighbourhood resilience, access to decent work and increased income opportunities for Black residents, youth and businesses, as well as the intentional application of an equity lens to economic development supports for employment, entrepreneurship and community assets to advance workforce development and career navigation.
|Leverage federal and provincial funding to create mentorship programs for Black youth to support skills development and the building of professional networks.|
|#13.1||Work with public and private sectors to create effective career pathways for Black youth, addressing the specific needs of young women, young Francophones, and queer and trans youth from Toronto’s Black communities by leveraging federal and provincial youth employment funding.|
|#15.1||Target Black-owned businesses and social enterprises for outreach, training and vendor networking as part of the City of Toronto Social Procurement Program.|
|#15.2||Support the start-up and incubation of Black-owned businesses.|
|#21.4||Outreach to diverse Black people to share information about City grants processes for applications and deadlines.|
|3. Accessible and Equitable Housing
Year Four will prioritize addressing the overrepresentation of Black residents in Toronto’s homeless and underhoused population by supporting increased community engagement, research, partnerships, and the use of disaggregated race- based data to advance Black-led housing solutions.
|#10.2||Apply an Anti-Black Racism Lens to shelter standards and procedures.|
|#10.4||Create safe spaces within new LGBTQ2S shelters for Black queer and trans youth.|
|#10.3||Ensure shelter staff are trained on anti-Black racism as a trigger to mental illness.|
|#10.7||Apply an Anti-Black Racism Lens to the Rent Supplement provision process.|
|#10.8||Apply an Anti-Black Racism Lens to the Eviction Prevention Framework in the 2017-2018 Eviction Prevention Strategy.|
|4. Alternative Police Responses, Restorative Justice, and Repair
Year Four will prioritize the promotion the wellbeing, healing and justice in Black communities by supporting alternative enforcement and police responses. Interventions are inclusive of policy and police reform and community outreach programs that invest in people-centred, collaborative, accountable and restorative responses to violence in Black communities.
|#16.3||Review police use of force protocols from an anti-Black racism lens.|
|#16.4||Review police and community training, including Community Crisis Response Programs, to include use of force issues.|
|#16.5||Improve training to better equip Law Enforcement Officers with knowledge and skills to better protect and serve diverse Black people.|
|#16.6||Strengthen protocols for police response to Person in Crisis (PIC) and report regularly on police-PIC interactions, using an Anti-Black Racism Lens.|
|#17.1||Collect and publicly report mandatory race-based data for greater transparency.|
|#17.3||Strengthen community capacity to report and police capacity to investigate Islamophobia, transphobic and anti-Black hate crimes through a Community Police Hate Crimes Advisory Committee.|
|#18.2||Use an anti-Black racism lens to develop and implement alternative models of policing that focus on community engagement.|
|#18.3||Use effective alternative models to incarceration such as the use of restorative justice models developed and implemented with elders in Black communities.|
|5. Transformative Culture Change at the City
Year Four will prioritize transformational systems change by increasing community accountability in City processes through actively applying anti-Black racism analysis and Confronting Anti-Black Racism Training, while deepening and expanding Black staff leadership and professional development opportunities and working to embed community-informed, decolonized funding, monitoring and evaluation practices to better assess the impacts of the Action Plan and associated initiatives.
|#1.4||Increase hiring of Black Torontonians and partnerships with diverse Black communities to ensure that children and youth programs reflect the diversity of the communities they serve|
|#1.5||Develop and implement intergenerational and cultural connections through Black mentorship initiatives.|
|#4.1||Work with the Province to support training for community mental health service providers through an Anti-Black Racism Lens.|
|#5.1||Increase stable funding to Black community organizations providing essential services to better meet the needs and aspirations of Black Torontonians.|
|#6.1||Outreach, recruit and hire from diverse Black communities to increase number of permanent Black health, social and community workers.|
|#6.2||Develop and implement an outreach initiative to recruit and train diverse Black Torontonians for leadership and governance roles in health and community organizations.|
|#6.3||Coordinate with funders to require the collection and public reporting of health and community service data disaggregated by race and other characteristics.|
|#6.4||Coordinate with funders to invest in community capacity to comply with the collection of data disaggregated by race.|
|#11.1||Outreach to, recruit and hire diverse Black people to increase the number of Black employees at the City of Toronto.|
|#11.3||Include socio-demographics, including race and gender identity, as part of the City’s Count Yourself In employee survey.|
|#11.4||Enhance current City internship programs to include youth of African descent, including Black queer and trans youth.|
|#17.1||Collect and publicly report mandatory race-based data for greater transparency.|
|#19.4||Apply an Anti-Black Racism Lens to City’s complaint processes.|
|#19.5||Advertise the City’s complaint processes in Black communities.|
|6. Recognition and Placemaking
Year Four will prioritize recognizing reimagining and re-investing in neighbourhoods and public spaces to create safe and accessible public and virtual spaces for diverse Black communities. Celebrate and preserve Black culture, assets and heritage to strengthen Black representation and leadership in local decision making, and to foster deeper connections between Black families, children, residents and the places where they live.
|#7.1||Improve recreation spaces in neighbourhoods with high proportions of Black residents.|
|#7.2||Regularly engage with diverse Black Torontonians on how to expand and improve recreational programming and facilities.|
|#20.1||Leverage City spaces to create a Black community hub in partnership with Black service providers.|
|#20.2||Conduct an audit using an Anti-Black Racism Lens to evaluate City spaces and programs.|
The City of Toronto commits more than $1.2 million in cultural and economic investments to confront anti-Black racism. The City is making multiple investments in Toronto’s Black arts and culture community and business sector to address the systemic economic, social and cultural exclusion facing Black communities in Toronto.
This year, the City will make the following investments in arts, heritage and creative industries to confront anti-Black racism:
The City will make the following economic development investments to confront anti-Black racism:
The City is also committed to establishing a Community Accountability Circle, with key leaders from the Black business and cultural communities to co-develop goals and programs to confront anti-Black racism.
As part of the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism, the City engages with Black Torontonians (African descent or origin, African Black Caribbean, African-Canadian, Canadians of African descent) as part of the Partnership & Accountability Circle (PAC) to guide and support the full implementation of the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism.
The Confronting Anti-Black Racism Advisory Committee, established by City Council at its meeting of September 2020 (EX16.1), will help to further advance the objectives of the Toronto Action Plan to Confronting Anti-Black Racism. You can follow the issues and priorities the Advisory Committee will address on the Toronto City Council and Committees Meetings, Agendas and Minutes web page.
Below are brief biographies for the members of the committee.
Read about Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson on his Councillor page
Justice Betty is the co-founder of Révolutionnaire—a digital education and action platform for change-makers. She worked as a management consultant with a focus on inclusive economic growth, diversity and inclusion strategy, and the social sector. Justice is also the co-founder of a social entrepreneurship program that has taught more than 200 high school students across four continents. Prior to this work Justice graduated from the Dual Bachelors of Arts Program at Columbia University and Sciences Po Paris. With a longstanding commitment to civic engagement, Justice is a champion for underrepresented voices in the political sphere and is particularly passionate about issues related to the racial wealth gap, access to education, and youth empowerment.
Theophilus Adjei has been working as a mental health clinician for more than five years and has supported hundreds of individuals to achieve their mental health and wellness goals. Prior to his work as a mental health clinician, Theophilus worked as a child and youth worker for at-risk and homeless youth and a program facilitator for children, youth and adults with disabilities. Growing up in a low-income area in Toronto, he believes it is his mission to address the issues and barriers that prevent Black Torontonians from accessing services and experiencing positive outcomes. Theophilus completed his Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Toronto and has been steadfast in his community work, helping to create youth programs. He is also a co-founder of Black Urbanism Toronto, which provides Black Torontonians with resources to cultivate personal, social, economic and cultural advancement to sustain their communities.
Monicke Hanson is a Vice Principal for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) in the heart of the St. James Town Community. As an educator and leader at the TDSB, Monicke has developed school improvement plans to support Black families and students and address anti-Black racism in the education system. As a former youth worker, she has also worked in a variety of communities. Experiences growing up as a Black woman in Toronto, and as a former Toronto Community Housing resident, have allowed Monicke to build foresight into some of the inequities faced by Toronto’s racialized communities. Monicke does not see these experiences from a deficit lens, but instead, uses them to strengthen, motivate and inform change in her line of work and future endeavours. Through her experience in the public school system, Monicke identified that there were not many teachers or educators who looked like her and has dedicated her life to making a difference for her community. Monicke completed a Master of Education degree in Social Justice Education and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology Public Health.
Apefa Adjivon is a young leader in youth programming and advocacy. She has supported numerous organizations in the creation of mentorship programs for Black youth, supporting more than 300 young people in the Greater Toronto Area. As a speaker and advocate, she has addressed more than 25,000 people worldwide, discussing youth empowerment, gender equity, and social justice. Apefa has been recognized as one of 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women and one of Canada’s Top 30 Under 30 for her impact in advocacy. Working with Women’s Health in Women’s Hands Community Health Centre she contributed to the development of their NetWORKING mentorship program for Black women in the Greater Toronto Area. She also serves as a member of the Youth Advisory Group to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, where she supports initiatives for the International Decade for Peoples of African Descent. Apefa is excited to draw from both her lived experience as a Black woman and her youth advocacy expertise to inform the work of the Advisory Committee.
Adam Lake is a member of the Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity and is part of the Impact COVID team. He is also engaged in work supporting police reform initiatives and has helped to found organizations that tackle issues like education within correctional facilities. Adam completed his Master’s degree at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. A Toronto-born community activist and advocate, he is passionate about using his voice to address intersecting discrimination that disproportionately impacts racial and sexual minorities within legal and political systems. Adam’s professional goal is to combat social injustice, decrease recidivism rates and eliminate the lack of community knowledge surrounding legal services and rights for the Black community.
Maya Yaya is in her final year of study, majoring in Political Science and Sociology at the University of Toronto and currently works at CEE, the Centre for Young Black Professionals. In addition to her considerable experience with needs assessment and program evaluation-based research, she is an experienced project manager, skilled in leading capacity building and other community development initiatives for Black youth. Throughout her studies at the University of Toronto, Maya has championed a variety of anti-Black racism initiatives on campus, through her work with the Black Students Association, and the University of Toronto Anti-Racism Task Force. Maya is dedicated to increasing access and opportunities for Black Torontonians as a member of the Advisory Committee and hopes to bring her intersectional experience as an African-Canadian, Francophone, woman and youth.
Halimo Hashi is a Somali-Canadian critical social worker practicing with diverse and racialized communities in Scarborough. Halimo is also the Executive Director of Shifting Ways, an agency that provides critical workshops, research and resources on topics including intersectionality, race, gun violence, trauma, migration process, vicarious trauma, and challenges/ opportunities for racialized families and newcomers to Canada. Halimo works across many fields, including forensics, mental health, settlement and academia. In her positions as a hospital and community worker, as well as a university lecturer at York University, Halimo champions a critical and intersectional lens that honours the lived experience of her clients and students. Halimo is a firm believer in bottom-up solutions that place the power of change in the hands of the people while recognizing the need for support and resources from those with influence and know-how. She looks forward to bringing this approach and her expertise to the Advisory Committee.
Deborah Barnes is a Social Worker and Sociologist whose work focuses on anti-racism and anti-Black racism policies and practices. Deborah is currently writing her dissertation for her Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. She brings more than 30 years of experience as a social worker working in the areas of addiction, mental health, child protection, homelessness and criminal justice. Deborah has previously worked as the Director of Diversity at the Children’s Aid Society, as well as the Diversity Consultant for the Addictions Programs at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Her research interest falls in the area of deconstructing workplace diversity. Throughout her career, she has served on various local boards and advisory committees that focused on advancing issues that impact the African Canadian community in Toronto.
Charis Newton-Thompson is a retired educator who has worked in elementary, secondary and tertiary institutions at the Ontario Ministry of Education and in the Caribbean. She holds a Ph.D. and brings insights gained during her 40 years of volunteering in Black community organizations in Toronto. Her Ph.D. thesis focused on the mentorship experiences of Black female public secondary school principals and vice-principals in Southern Ontario. Charis previously worked as the Manager of Curriculum Review for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), as a secondary school principal, and currently sits on the Urban Alliance on Race Relations Steering Committee for the Black Youth Fellowship. As a member of this historic Advisory Committee, Charis intends to shed light on the disproportionately low resources allocated to Black communities in the education system, despite the significant contributions they make to Toronto.
Dr. Daniel is an Assistant Professor at Ryerson University and holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and Equity Studies in Education. Dr. Daniel also holds a Master’s in Counselling, a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Psychology, and a Graduate Certificate in Women and Gender Studies. Her research, publications and community work focuses on the education sector and the factors that promote academic, personal and career success among Black community members. For more than 25 years, her academic work has investigated race and racialization as it relates to urban education. She has been a strong proponent for addressing anti-Black racism, and its impact on Black communities.
Moliann Weir is currently an Associate with the Ontario Growth Secretariat at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, wearing many hats, as a mother, student and a professional. She has more than fifteen years of experience in the public sector in various capacities, including housing, education and the criminal justice system. Moliann has been working in the Black community for more than 20 years and has extensive training in trauma-informed healing and mental health training, from an anti-Black racism lens, and has always applied this lens when engaging with Black communities. Moliann is interested in developing a governance structure to advance Black representation in diverse spaces and hopes to provide sustainable solutions to reduce the over-representation of Black children and youth in the child welfare and youth justice system.
Dr. Phillips is Manager of Community Health and Chronic Disease at South Riverdale CHC. As a mixed-race Black woman who has worked in the arenas of women’s health, community and public, and Indigenous health, she has a deep understanding of the impacts of anti-racism, health inequity and broader social determinants of health on Black communities. Ann is a Geneticist with a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies and understands race, not only as a biological construct, but primarily as a social, political and ethnocultural one. Ann has served on the board of the Ontario Coalition of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women, was Chair of the Board of Women’s Health in Women’s Hands Community Health Centre, and has worked in the Jane-Finch Community for the Women Moving Forward program. She is passionate about the issues of environmental racism and environmental racialization, discrimination in health care and health services, as well as issues of food insecurity as they relate to urban agriculture and Black food sovereignty.
Justine Namara is the Director, Policy and Strategic Partnerships at the Africa Trade Desk. An internationally trained lawyer, Justine brings more than 10 years of experience in championing people-centred development solutions from the grassroots through to global policy change. A strong champion and advocate for inclusive, sustainable growth for all, Justine brings in-depth expertise and strategic insights to working with diverse stakeholder networks to drive impact. Through her lived experience, Justine aims to actively contribute to policies, efforts and discussions to combat anti-Black Racism and would support the work of the Confronting Anti-Black Racism Advisory Committee, by providing fresh ideas and innovative approaches to tackling anti-Black racism challenges. She is looking forward to seizing opportunities where this work can be amplified.
Juanita Kwarteng is a Diversity and Inclusion Program Manager at Publicis Groupe Canada and believes the stories we tell matter. Juanita is a data-driven digital professional that uses storytelling to execute inclusive brand programming while equipping leaders with the tools they need to build diverse, inclusive teams within a culture of belonging. Juanita has a Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology, a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Human Rights, and certificates in Corporate Communications and Leadership and Inclusion. She brings extensive experience in creating and implementing business-driven diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, and is proficient in key concepts and approaches, such as allyship, building a culture of belonging and inclusive leadership.
In 2021 the House of Commons officially designated August 1 as Emancipation Day across Canada. August 1, 1834, marks the day that the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 came into effect across the British Empire emancipating more than 800,000 enslaved Africans in British-controlled regions across the globe, including Canada. Here in Toronto, we recognize the entire month of August as Emancipation Month and acknowledge the legacy and history of slavery in Canada.
During the month of August, the Black Liberation Flag will be raised at North York Civic Centre, Scarborough Civic Centre, and City Hall.
The Toronto sign was illuminated in red, black, and green on August 1st.
On August 2, the CABR Unit hosted an in-person Flag Raising Ceremony and Community Gathering to commemorate the beginning of Emancipation Month 2022. This event took place at North York Civic Centre at Mel Lastman Square.
More CABR led events to celebrate Emancipation Month can be found at toronto.ca/emancipation
There are many resources available to learn more about anti-Black racism and systemic racism in the areas of education, unemployment and housing, child and family health and welfare, and policing and justice. Learn more about what Canadian, Ontario and international resources are available.
In November 2016, the City and its community partner, OCASI-Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants launched a public education campaign to raise awareness about anti-Black racism in Toronto and to equip people with the means to identify it, question it and challenge it.
This was the second phase of the City’s Toronto For All initiative which is intended to challenge people’s perspectives and beliefs and encourage them to self-identify their implicit biases and negative attitudes in order to support a Toronto that says “no” to all forms of discrimination and racism, and which supports Toronto’s motto: Diversity Our Strength.
Visit the Toronto For All Anti-Black Racism page to see all the phases of our campaign.
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