DEI Task Group Meeting Highlights for August 17, 2021

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Group was established to assist the College in moving forward on its commitment to increase diversity, equity and inclusion – a key priority in the College’s 2020-2023 Strategic Plan.

August 17, 2021

  • Council Co-Chair Sanjay Govindaraj, RSW read a Land Acknowledgement.
  • Co-Chairs Sanjay Govindaraj, RSW and Brian Seng-Low, RSSW welcomed the Task Group members to the meeting.
  • Task Group member Sandra Southwind set the intention for the meeting.
  • The minutes from the June 29, 2021 meeting of the Task Group were reviewed.
  • The Co-Chairs made introductory comments, speaking to: the feedback given by Task Group members as part of “check ins” with the Co-Chairs after the last meeting; they also sought input on the Terms of Reference and gave an overview of the work ahead.
  • It was agreed that the Task Group would provide recommendations to Council in relation to identified issues, rather than undertaking the work itself, and that the Task Group might want to consider what further information and/or expertise it would need to fully consider the issues and make its recommendations to Council.
  • It was also agreed that the Task Group may choose to make its recommendations to Council on an ongoing basis, rather than waiting to issue one larger report upon completion of its work.
  • Three areas of potential focus from the draft Work Plan were discussed in more detail:
    • The collection of race-based data – It was agreed that the Task Group required more information to properly consider this issue and make its recommendation, and that staff would reach out to the consultant who delivered a recent educational session to Council to see if they could present at the next meeting.
    • Building relationships with Indigenous communities – It was agreed that any recommendation to Council in relation to this issue should emphasize: the importance of being strategic, respectful and intentional; the need to ensure that efforts were made to build and sustain relationships; and a recognition that this work would entail conversations over the long-term, and not be a one-time event. It was also agreed that there should be further discussion as to the elements of any recommended approach.
    • Engaging a consultant to assist in the work of the Task Group – It was agreed that this might include consideration of a large-scale project or several smaller projects/consultancies, and that it would be helpful for the Task Group to learn more about the review of the Standards of Practice that is currently underway in order to avoid duplication. The Task Group also discussed how it might provide input as part of this project.
  • As part of its discussion about the draft Work Plan, the Task Group discussed College communications, the importance of being broadly inclusive and the important role of language – whether in legislation, bylaw, policies or communications.
  • The Task Group was provided with a copy of the letter that led to the College’s most recent eBulletin issued in relation to the rise in anti-Semitism. It was noted that the Task Group had highlighted at its last meeting the importance of, and its ongoing intention to be, broadly inclusive in its work, considering the voices of all equity-deserving groups.
  • Sandra Southwind closed the intention for the meeting with a smudging ceremony to purify the mind, spirit and physical surroundings.