OPEN LETTER TO MINISTER OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION LAURA ALBANESE
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We are a coalition of concerned African-Canadian community members and allies, shocked, appalled and dismayed at the discriminatory treatment and anti-black racism sentiments faced by Arlene Davis working within the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. Ms. Davis has bravely come forward, but there are other African-Canadian workers within your Ministry who have been plagued by systemic racism and discrimination for decades.
The Government of Ontario has a publicly stated goal to build a safer more equitable province that recognizes mental health, systemic racism and discrimination as a growing concern and has committed to challenging these issues head on.
As the Ministry responsible for welcoming new Canadians to Ontario, it is imperative that the staff that make the work of the Ministry possible, be treated with respect and dignity in a healthy workplace to help its members bring their best selves to work and achieve their full potential - free from discrimination of all forms.
Ms. Davis, a long standing employee in the Ontario Public Service for the past 28 years, has developed a disability and alleges the Employer has failed to accommodate her disability. It is deeply concerning that Ms. Davis is sitting in a position where she been cut off from payroll and has been without pay for the past six months. This appears to be non-aligned with the Government of Ontario’s stated goals and commitment to a workplace free from discrimination of all forms.
“I have worked for the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration for the past 16 years and continue to be treated like a second-class citizen. I have had to endure the wounds and indignities of the Employer’s systemic ableism, racism and discrimination which came to a height in 2016 when I could not get appropriate accommodation for my disability. The anguish I have experienced over the past year has been perilous. I believe this case will open the door to more women coming forward with their stories in the coming year.” – Arlene Davis
We will continue to reach out to MPPs and civil society organizations to build awareness. As concerned citizens and taxpayers, we are urging you, to stay true to your equity commitment and act promptly to ensure that this matter is resolved in a swift manner to ensure that this Ministry exemplify the type of culture we want Ontario to have.
1) An immediate and public apology from your office
2) Immediate reinstatement of Ms. Davis into her position
3) The establishment of an Anti-Discrimination Taskforce tasked with investigating systemic racism and discrimination within the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration.
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