General recommendations for all stakeholders



A party that has an interest in an endeavour and can either affect or be affected by the work at hand.

a party → you!
an endeavour → a Belonging Hamilton
affect the work at hand → we each have a part to play
be affected by the work at hand → we all benefit

The people who work in stakeholder organizations and sectors across Hamilton are critical to our collective effort to address hate and promote equity, diversity, and inclusion. Whether you are in a large or small organization, there is good work to be done that fits your capacity.

These first recommendations are for all stakeholders.

1. Implement Indigenous Calls to Action and Justice

Implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice that apply to your organization. Encourage the organizations you work with to do the same.

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released 94 Calls to Action to work towards reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada1.

The calls are specific policy recommendations that aim to:

  1. acknowledge the full truth of colonialism and the residential school system; and
  2. create ways to prevent these abuses from happening again2.

The Calls to Action are divided into sections that relate to specific sectors, such as the healthcare, education, and justice sectors2. We recommend that all stakeholder organizations in Hamilton fully implement the Calls to Action that are relevant to their practices. This would be a step in working towards a more equitable future with Indigenous people.

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was formed in response to repeated calls from Indigenous groups, activists, and organizations3. The National Inquiry aims to address the disproportionately high levels of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people4. In 2019, the National Inquiry released its final report5. This report contains 231 Calls for Justice that call upon governments, institutions, social service providers, industries, and individuals to take action and end genocide against Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people6. To read the full list of the Calls for Justice, please see:

The Calls for Justice are organized into sections that relate to specific stakeholders, such as all levels of government, health and wellness service providers, police services, educators, social workers, and individuals7. We recommend that all stakeholder organizations in Hamilton fully implement the Calls for Justice that are relevant to their practices.

2. Increase diversity and representation

Understand the difference between diversity and representation in your team and across your organization, and create a plan to increase or maintain both of these measures of inclusion.

Diversity and representation go hand-in-hand, but they don’t mean the same thing. Diversity refers to a wide variety of perspectives from people of different races, ethnicities, gender identities, socioeconomic statuses, religions, sexual orientations, neurodiversities, and experiences8. However, representation refers to ensuring that people of different identities are represented at all levels of an institution8. For example, an institution can promote diversity but not representation if it has a wide variety of employees but disproportionately groups employees of similar backgrounds together. True inclusion means hiring diverse people and making sure that this diversity exists throughout an organization.

3. Write, share, and follow an implementation action plan

Develop and implement an Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression Action Plan to organize and evaluate collaborative efforts to embed anti-oppressive practice in all organization processes.

The meaning and importance of anti-racist and anti-oppressive practice is explored in the Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression Pathway.

Bringing this practice into an organization often requires a lot of learning, negotiation, emotional labour, and process development over an extended period of time. Commit to this work by developing a formal action plan that sets objectives and timelines that are ambitious and feasible.

The purpose of an action plan is to:

  • Embed anti-racist and anti-oppressive values at all levels of the organization;
  • Implement policies, procedures, and practices that place all decision-making on a foundation of these values, whether external (e.g. programs and services) or internal (e.g. human resources);
  • Evaluate progress on a regular basis; and
  • Create and sustain system-wide change that ensures clients and staff alike are treated equitably, feel respected, and can find success9.

The goal is to have anti-racist and anti-oppressive practice integrated into the DNA of your organization.

See ARAO and EDI Action Plans in the Inclusive Practices section of the toolkit for more information about setting action plans and resources to help develop your own.

4. Cultivate a shared understanding of safer, brave, and accountable spaces

Employ policy, formal training, and continuous learning to define, develop, and support spaces where the dialog necessary for anti-oppressive practice and systemic change can occur.

Creating  Accountable Spaces allows proper dialogue to occur when the organization or individuals are learning approaches to discussions about anti-racism and anti-oppression or addressing problematic behaviours or issues. . Individuals and organizations will not be able to move forward without having the ability to discuss openly about  issues of race, ability, orientation, gender etc.

You may have heard of the term “safe space.” Safe spaces are “environments where [people] are willing and able to participate and honestly struggle with challenging issues” and where “everyone feels comfortable […] participating fully, without fear of attack, ridicule, or denial of experience”10.

Change does not come without discomfort, risk, and difficult work.

Authentic learning about anti-racism and anti-oppression often involves risk, difficulty, and controversy, which creates discomfort10.

Learning how to work towards equity, diversity, and inclusion is meant to take us outside of our comfort zones – these are complex topics that require introspection, reflection, and reflexivity.

You may have also heard of the term “brave space.” Brave spaces emphasize the need for courage when discussing diversity and social justice. Bravery is needed because learning about anti-racism and anti-oppression usually involves adopting new perspectives, which can be uncomfortable at first10. Fear and discomfort are part of the learning process, and brave spaces use courage to embrace these emotions head-on.

There are some limitations to “Brave Spaces” as it may ignore the daily bravery of marginalized communities11. Brave spaces can also ask members of marginalized groups to be brave while educating others, leading to additional pressure11.

We recommend creating “Accountable Spaces”.

Accountable Spaces don’t burden marginalized groups11. They place an equal amount of responsibility for everyone to behave equitably and inclusively11. Accountability means being responsible for yourself, your intentions, words, and actions. It means entering a space with good intentions and understanding that your intentions and impact matter11. In Accountable Spaces, marginalized communities and allies typically agree on guidelines that outline actionable behaviours to show allyship during discussions.

Resources and further reading

5. Prioritize education and skill-development

Provide formal learning programs for leaders, employees, and volunteers across the organization to achieve a base understanding and culture of continuous improvement in anti-oppressive practice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Equity is about removing systemic barriers and providing everyone with resources and support to succeed12. This support is unique and tailored for each individual according to their needs. Diversity is defined as differences in race, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religion, and socioeconomic status12. Inclusion makes sure that everyone is valued, respected, and supported so that they are meaningfully included12

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are important for many reasons. These principles help people access equitable opportunities, ensure that policies and practices are fair, and support a diverse range of people to work together effectively12. Everyone should feel like they belong and can be themselves. Everyone should know that they matter. 

6. Make public commitments

Rely on community partners to share the communal work of speaking out against hate. Sign public declarations in support of inclusion. Build relationships with organizations led by communities affected by hate and amplify their messages.

It can be a challenge to decide what to say publicly in support of communities affected by hate and discrimination. Validating hateful groups by giving them the attention they want is not appealing to anyone, but staying silent sends a signal to the community that you don’t see their hate as a problem.

One way to balance these issues is to join in coalition with other organizations, especially those that are committed to centring the voices of members of historically marginalized communities rather than speaking for them.

Some examples are:

CivicAction’s BoardShift Inclusivity Charter

Designed to help organizational leaders work towards addressing hate. The charter discusses ten different commitments to enhance equity, diversity, and inclusion in an organization. Read through the charter, and discuss ways to fulfill these commitments and measure your progress.

No Hate in the Hammer’s Belonging Pledge

A locally-developed public commitment to standing against hate and nurturing an inclusive Hamilton.

The Federal government’s 50-30 Challenge

A public declaration that helps organizations increase representation and inclusion of diverse groups in senior management.

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