We deeply value the trust and confidence placed in Peel CAS by our community as we work together to support children, youth and families in Peel region. We would like to address recent concerns shared with the agency and reported in the media.
Last week, we received a report entitled Conversations about Anti-Black Racism at Peel Children’s Aid Society: A Way Forward. The report provides a summary of conversations with CUPE 4914 members regarding their perceptions and experiences of anti-Black racism.
Peel CAS has a long history of leadership and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and we take any issues related to racism, including anti-Black racism (ABR), very seriously. We care deeply about the well-being of our staff and we are committed to providing a supportive work environment for everyone. We are concerned about the experiences reported in this document and are working closely with the CUPE 4914 executive to chart a path forward.
For the past several weeks, Peel CAS’s senior management team has been working collaboratively with CUPE 4914 on a strategy for confronting anti-Black racism. An independent third party will be selected to engage everyone in the organization to ensure that every voice is heard and the broadest possible feedback and experiences are reflected. The independent third party will then provide the agency with their analysis of the information and recommendations moving forward.
The results and recommendations will be used to help formulate and enhance the agency’s anti-racism and ABR plan of action. It will also inform the agency’s strategies for expanding diversity at all levels, strengthening our current workplace discrimination and harassment policy and complaint procedure, advancing staff engagement strategies, and other initiatives.
Peel Children’s Aid Society is fully committed to combatting racism in all its forms. Systemic racism is a serious and pressing issue in society at large and in all institutions. Peel CAS is not immune to its effects. It is our firm belief that this is a problem that needs to be confronted head-on and on an ongoing basis.
This year, Peel CAS facilitated several conversations with staff and our caregiver community to provide a safe space to discuss racism, ABR and systemic discrimination. This included separate debriefing sessions for Black staff, White staff, and all staff, youth success forums, ABR conversations for Black foster caregivers and volunteers; and ABR and Black Lives Matter conversations with White and racialized caregivers and volunteers. We have recently facilitated 11 DEI and ABR training sessions with our staff.
Our work in diversity, equity and inclusion began many years ago, and we know we still have much more work to do. However, with the support of our community partners, staff, caregivers and volunteers, we are proud of the progress we have made so far, including:
Peel CAS has the lowest number of children in care per capita of any CAS in Ontario, and, notably, one of the lowest numbers of Black children in care per capita.
We benefit from having one of the most diverse staff groups among all child protection agencies. 60% of Peel CAS front line staff and 65% of management staff are racialized. Further, 60% of the Directors on our Board are racialized.
- We offer an array of ethno-culturally responsive programs and service models to ensure that we continue to meet the unique needs of families in our region. Click here to learn more about these programs and service models.
We are grateful for the opportunity to serve this diverse community. We believe that diversity, equity and inclusion is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do to achieve positive outcomes for the children, youth, and families we work with. We look forward to continuing to work with our staff, caregivers, volunteers and community partners to enhance DEI in our agency, and combat racism and discrimination in all its forms.