By Damon Levine, PRUDE Inc. Anti-Racism Coordinator
Earlier this month, I was honoured to be the PRUDE Inc. representative at the 5th Metropolis Identities Summit in Winnipeg. The conference featured presentations by academics and DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion)-industry professionals on topics such as newcomer employment challenges, Indigenous-specific racism, community-centred mental health, opportunities for underrepresented Canadians and more.
As my focus is squarely on equitable workplaces, I attended a handful of presentations that highlighted the work being done throughout the country to get Black, Indigenous and other underrepresented Canadians into the workforce in roles commensurate with their education and experience. Among the programs of note were Skills for Change and Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University)’s ADaPT program. ADaPT (Advanced Digital and Professional Training) is noteworthy because they focus on helping established professionals learn technical skills that make them more desirable in the job market. Among the offerings by Skills for Change were trade pre-apprenticeship programs for members of underrepresented communities, a youth-in-STEM program and a Black Advisory Hub to support Black Canadian entrepreneurs.
Mohja Alia, manager of Employment and Bridging Programs at the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) spoke about the work her organization–and others in the region–do to help professional newcomers get their foreign credentials recognized in Canada. Recognition of foreign professional credentials is a concern throughout the Maritime region, particularly in the medical field. And Alia said she hopes other provinces in the region develop clear pathways for recognition of foreign professional credentials.
And representatives from Winnipeg’s Newcomer Education Coalition spoke about the findings from their 2021 State of Equity in Education Report, findings they attained by conducting diversity audits in Winnipeg-region school districts.
In addition to the panel discussions, conference attendees were invited to a welcoming event at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. The museum, as the name suggests, chronicles the fight for human rights throughout recorded human history, with a special emphasis on that same struggle here in Canada.
The 5th Metropolis Identities Summit’s various DEI-focused panels offered information for attendees on all aspects of equity work in Canada. Additionally, there were many opportunities for professional connections. I would recommend this event–and similar events–to anyone interested in doing DEI work that gets results.