June 24th, 2020

Lindo: Ford must urgently address systemic anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism in the Ontario government

QUEEN’S PARK – Laura Mae Lindo MPP (Kitchener Centre), the NDP’s critic for Anti-Racism and chair of the Ontario NDP Black Caucus, has asked Doug Ford to outline concrete steps he is taking to address systemic racism in his government’s ministries.

A CBC News report Tuesday revealed that 45 lawyers working in the Ministry of the Attorney General wrote a letter on June 12 to the secretary of cabinet Steven Davidson describing “countless instances” of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism.

“The letter paints a disturbing picture of the experiences of racialized professionals working in this government. They describe degrading comments from colleagues, including being told they were not as qualified to do their job as their white peers,” said Lindo during question period Wednesday in the Ontario legislature. “The minister has stated that he takes this seriously, but people need more than pledges of support. They need action. Will the premier outline the steps that we being taken to address systemic racism in his ministries?,” asked Lindo.

Lindo told the legislature that systemic racism was a problem under the Liberals and has not gotten any better under the Ford government. In 2017 reports of similar experiences from Ministry of the Attorney General employees was also released and dating as far back as 2007, Ontario public service (OPS) employees raised issues of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism in the government.

“At that time they were promised action would be taken at lightning speed to change the culture. It was only in 2017 that an anti-Racism policy for the OPS was developed, and OPS employees were promised anti-Racism programs with measurable targets and indicators,” said Lindo.

“Unfortunately there’s no record of actual concrete change from this government”.

Lindo urged Ford and his attorney general to make public not only the work but also the impact of all they claim to be doing to address systemic racism in the Ontario public service so that OPS workers, no matter who they are, or what colour they are, or what their ethnic background is, will finally feel safe and valued working in government in Ontario.