Regional council hears first report from task force investigating systemic racism

The first report from a regional task force looking into ways to eliminate systemic racism in Waterloo Region was presented to council on Wednesday evening.

The working group outlined five areas that needed improvement, along with specific suggestions on how to make those improvements.

That includes:

  •  Hiring practices ensuring leadership reflects community diversity and considering more than just education.
  •  Non-police responses to mental health calls.
  •  Regional funding for Indigenous initiatives and groups.
  •  Space for Indigenous groups through ongoing consultation with organizations to find community spaces.
  • Splitting the position of Director of Reconciliation, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion into two jobs, since reconciliation and equity are two different things.

Council didn't vote on any specific action, funding or a timeline at Wednesday's meeting.

"(We're) recognizing that systemic racism does exist in the community and we will go quick, but we won't go fast enough," Chair Karen Redman said.

Donna Dubie with the advisory committee said diverse workplaces are necessary to create an anti-racist environment for employees. The group said there are ways to make this environment happen.

"How it will be done and the cost, because there are no figures or recommendations, that is the job of the region," Maedith Radlein with the group said.

Council has decided to ask regional staff to consult with the working group and come back with a report on how to put the recommendations in place.

The full report is available here.

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