Tackling discrimination in the workplace

TORONTO – There is no room, nor tolerance, for system racism or discrimination in any environment, especially the workplace. Sadly, it exists. Unfortunately, when people commit reprehensible acts of bigotry within the community, it is a reminder that we must do better as a society.

The Carpenters District Council of Ontario (CDCO) is one of many organizations joining the City of Toronto in standing up against prejudicial attitudes. They are among a growing coalition of developers, employers, contractors, unions and workers in the construction industry that support the Toronto Declaration of Inclusive Workplaces and Communities.

Recognizing the need for change, the City together with its stakeholders have come together and drafted the Declaration. Those who support the declaration affirm a “zero tolerance for discrimination or acts of hate against anyone in our workplaces or enterprises”.

Every individual has the right to work in a safe, healthy and welcoming workplace. It is a basic principle.

Any place of employment should be one where people are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of race, religion, background or any other difference which infringe on their human rights.

The Corriere Canadese asked Mike Yorke, President of the CDCO what the Declaration means to the construction industry: “This is a public acknowledgement how the industry at large wants to make a contribution and deliver a clear message that it is in opposition to racist incidents and any form of discrimination on the jobsite.”

“It is a positive message not only to people of colour but to all workers that these types of incidents will not be tolerated in the industry”, he said.

To invoke change of any kind requires improved policies, programs and initiatives that aim to reduce and hopefully one day, eliminate all forms of racism and intolerance.

For example, the CDCO has established an Equity and Diversity Committee to better educate its members on how to create a safe and equitable environment in the industry. Also, they support community-building initiatives that champion diversity and inclusion.

In a press release, Chris Campbell, Equity and Diversity Representative for the CDCO said: “We’re working with a third-party company to deliver anti-racism training for staff, shop stewards and eventually all of our members”.

It requires a collective effort to enact change. When industry leaders stand united with all members of society and take meaningful action to end discrimination and hateful acts in the workplace, it can only promote healthy, positive change.

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