As a national leader in the charitable sector, we recognize the important role United Way Centraide has to play in order to help eliminate racism in our communities. Data shows that disparities and inequities in various sectors are more pronounced for racialized groups across Canada. In light of that insight, we commit to supporting those farthest from opportunity to create thriving communities that prioritize equity. From coast to coast to coast, we are continually learning from and following the guidance of and learning from Indigenous, Black, and racialized groups and looking to amplify their voices in decision-making that directly impacts their communities.
In 2021, we launched our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion & Indigenous Collaboration (DEI & IC) Strategy, and integrated it into our strategic plan. Last year, in implementing this strategy, we began by looking inwards and prioritizing learning and unlearning as we seek to improve the work we do and how we do it. And we are continuing to pursue this important work in 2023.
The United Way Centraide network is not only committed to pursuing an equitable future for all, but also for our organizations to operate with an equity lens. At United Way Centraide Canada (UWCC), we are preparing to launch a Diversity Council comprised of members across our network who will provide advice and guidance to our national office on the implementation of our DEI & IC strategy. United Way Centraides are also adapting their investment strategies for more inclusivity and equity across the community service organizations they support. Through the Lived Experience Honorarium, United Way Halifax is committed to hearing and amplifying the voices of those who are often left out of community impact work by working collaboratively with the people who are closest to their funded agencies, allowing them to meaningfully shape the work in progress. United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin is committed to providing capital and opportunities through their Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Funding Stream to support smaller, grassroots organizations and organizations led by marginalized communities. Additionally, United Way Greater Toronto brings together the private, public, and community sectors to find innovative ways to reduce gaps in economic prosperity at the neighbourhood level through the Inclusive Local Economic Opportunity (ILEO). ILEO is convened by United Way Greater Toronto in partnership with BMO.
Our commitment to pursuing an equitable future for all is reflected in how we are learning from racialized communities and incorporating what we learn into the programs and initiatives we support. For example, Centraide of Greater Montreal funds the Bureau de la communauté haïtienne de Montréal (BCHM), an agency that supports children and teenagers throughout their journey to adulthood while relying on the skills and contribution of seniors, primarily in Montreal’s Haitian community. 211 Saskatchewan offers culturally specific services and access to resources for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people, and 211 Central has consulted with agencies to improve the way they serve members of Black communities across the Greater Toronto area.
In Canada, the progress towards an equitable society is a work in progress. Today, we recognize the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and we remain committed to doing our part to build a more equitable future and to realize our vision of a country where everyone in every community has the opportunity to reach their full potential.