Facebook Logo twitter logo

OSSTF/FEESO work to dismantle racism and oppression

Equality problem: a female Asian character standing next to a giant, sexism and racism at work

OSSTF/FEESO recognizes that structural and systemic discrimination within society and our organization provide us with both the opportunity and the responsibility to make foundational changes locally and provincially. The process and practice of the dismantling of systemic racism, including anti-Indigenous racism, anti-Black racism, and all forms of discrimination and oppression within our organization, must incorporate the input from members and the commitment of all leaders within the organization. While this is not new work for our Federation, we acknowledge and embrace the fact that there is much more to do.

Based on the advice of many members, several initiatives and programs to address inequity within our union have been implemented. Using equity, diversity, inclusion anti-oppression discourse, education, and training as the centre of our practice, the following initiatives and programs have been developed in addition to the many pre-existing initiatives and programs that are already in place:

  • Action Plan to Support Equity and Anti-Oppression
    • this living document creates a path to identify and eliminate discriminatory organizational practices, systemic barriers, and bias within OSSTF/FEESO; it was approved at AMPA 2021
    • the plan includes a commitment to undertake a demographic census of the membership during the 2021/22 year
  • Provincial Advisory Work Groups (advise the Provincial Executive)
    • members apply and are selected on the basis of experience and expertise
    • Work Groups advise the Provincial Executive
    • the provincial office covers the wages and expenses of the member to release them for the day(s) from their employer in order to participate
    • the provincial office provides a meal, transportation, and child care allowance for eligible expenses
    • the advisory work groups include,
      • First Nations, Métis and Inuit Advisory Work Group
      • Equity Advisory Work Group
      • The Black Persons and Persons of Colour Advisory Work Group
  • Equity caucuses
    • time allocated for equity caucus at all provincial meetings
    • open to all members who are attending the provincial meeting
    • the members of the equity caucus determine the agenda and topics of conversation
    • the equity caucuses are open to members who self-identify as,
      • First Nations, Métis, and Inuit
      • Black
      • Racialized
      • Women
      • Francophone
      • Members with Disability(ies)
      • LGTBQ2SI
  • Provincial Committees
    • Human Rights Committee
    • Status of Women Committee
  • Equity Officer – a provincial office staff position that was created by AMPA.
  • In-house Equity Team – made up of four (4) provincial office staff, including the Equity Officer, who have the promotion of equity within the union included in their portfolios (Est. 2021)
  • Equity Mentorship Program (Est. 2017)
    • Created to increase access to leadership opportunities through the mentoring of individuals who are members of equity seeking groups
  • Professional Development and Training
    • OSSTF/FEESO written and delivered workshops and resources include,
      • Truth and Reconciliation
      • Combating anti-Black racism
      • Allyship
      • History of Canadian Black Lives
      • Canadian’s Women History
      • Racial Justice
      • Challenging Misogyny
      • Addressing Homophobia and Transphobia
  • Advocacy, Outreach, Support
    • Outreach to a number of organizations, including but not limited to:
      • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
      • Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses
      • Anishnawbe Health Network
      • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance
      • Black Youth Helpline
  • Annual Donations
    • Donations and financial support annually to a number of organizations, including:
      • Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
      • Common Frontiers
      • Migrant Rights Network
      • White Ribbon Campaign
      • Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care
      • EGALE
      • Workers Action Centre
  • Partnerships in development
    • Ontario Black History Society (OBHS)
    • Ontario Alliance of Black School Educators (ONABSE)
    • Facing History and Ourselves
  • Have nearly completed the process of hiring an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (EDI) Coordinator
    • an individual who is an expert in developing a culture of representation and value in equal opportunity
    • will advise the provincial organization on improving policy and practice to support EDI
  • In the process of updating a tool for voluntary self-identification
    • Information will be used to monitor the equity performance of initiatives and design new measures that achieve greater equity, diversity, and inclusion

The Provincial Executive will continue to look inward to address systemic racism while challenging discrimination in all of its forms. Collectively, OSSTF/FEESO has an opportunity and responsibility to move this organization forward employing anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices. The first step in this process is engaging in thoughtful conversations around racism and discrimination, listening to each other.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.