Toronto is the most diverse city in the world. 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 who call Toronto home.
According to an interim report released by the Ontario Human Rights Commission about racial profiling and racial discrimination by the Toronto Police Service:
Anti-Black racism is 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 legacy of anti-Black racism lies in the current social, economic, and political marginalization of Torontonians of African descent. It is experienced as a lack of opportunity, poor health and mental health outcomes, poor education outcomes, higher rates of precarious employment and unemployment, significant poverty, and overrepresentation in the criminal justice, mental health, and child welfare systems.
To begin confronting anti-Black racism in Toronto, the City of Toronto partnered with Black leaders and organizations to create and implement a four-phase process that culminated in Council’s unanimous adoption of the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism.
Phase one was the development and launch of the Toronto For All campaign in November 2016, naming and challenging anti-Black racism through public education. Phase two was the review of 41 years’ worth of research and recommendations about addressing anti-Black racism in Toronto. This review created the foundation for the 41 Community Conversations in phase three to determine how best to take meaningful action going forward. Black Torontonians reviewed a draft action plan at a city-wide workshop in May 2017 and provided feedback. In Phase four, City staff and subject matter experts from across Toronto’s Black communities worked together to create work plans and to identify resource requirements to begin implementation. The Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism is the result of this collaborative effort between the City of Toronto and Torontonians of African descent to take corrective action.
This five-year plan leverages the talents, knowledge, and experiences of Black residents and Black organizations as partners in making municipal services, spaces and policies fully inclusive and accessible to Torontonians of African descent in both intent and in practice. The Action Plan includes 22 recommendations and 80 actions to address five issue areas:
The action plan is aligned with the passed provincial Anti-Racism Act, 2017, which provides for various anti-racism measures that are complementary and supportive of actions in the action plan.
Key accomplishments in year one of implementing the plan include:
For more information about the Confronting Anti-Black Racism unit and the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism, please visit: www.toronto.ca/abr.
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.