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Anti-Racism, Access and Equity Policy, including Complaints Procedure

Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services

Anti-Racism, Access and Equity Policy

This Anti-Racism, Access and Equity Policy was approved by Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services Board of Directors at their meeting on February 13, 2014.

A:  STATEMENT OF COMMITMENT

The City of Toronto is made up of people from diverse communities and equity‑seeking groups.  Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services recognize that the changing nature of the population has implications in terms of delivering and/or providing access to its services (e.g. programming, activities, etc.).

We recognize that barriers to services exist for members of diverse communities, particularly for equity‑seeking groups, and we are committed to acting as a positive force in eliminating these barriers.

To achieve this, Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services will:

  • ensure that diverse communities have equitable access to its services, resources and decision‑making.

  • be non‑discriminatory and promote the goals of anti‑racism, access and equity; and

  • take reasonable steps to ensure its services, programs and decision‑making reflect the community it serves.

Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services prohibits discrimination or harassment and protects the right to be free from hate activity based on age, ancestry, citizenship, creed (religion), colour, disability, ethnic origin, family status, gender identity, level of literacy, marital status, place of origin, membership in a union or staff association, political affiliation, race, receipt of public assistance, record of offences, sex, sexual orientation or any other personal characteristic by or within the organization.

1. For the purposes of this policy, equity-seeking groups include Aboriginal/First Nations people, women, people with disabilities, racial minorities, the socio-economically disadvantaged, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons.

Definitions

Anti-racism: a set of practices and systems designed to eliminate racism. Racism includes racist ideologies, prejudiced attitudes, discriminatory behaviours, structural arrangements and institutionalized practices resulting in racial inequality as well as the fallacious notion that discriminatory relations between groups are morally and scientifically justifiable.

Access: the ability of or extents to which communities or residents can attain needed services and achieve full participation in the planning, development, administration and delivery of those services. Access includes client access and organizational access.

Equity: practices designed to remove systemic barriers to equality of outcome by identifying and eliminating discriminatory policies and practices.

Discrimination:  the act of treating a person unequally by imposing unequal burdens or denying benefits, rather than treating a person fairly on the basis of individual merit. Discrimination is usually based upon personal prejudices and stereotypical assumptions related to at least one of the grounds set out in this Policy. It is not necessary to have an intent to discriminate under the Code. Workplace rules, policies, procedures, requirements, qualifications or factors may not be directly or intentionally discriminatory but may nonetheless have an adverse effect. This may create barriers to achievement and opportunity.

Harassment: a course of conduct of comments or actions that are unwelcome or should be known to be unwelcome. A person has the right to be free of humiliating or annoying behaviour that is based on one or more grounds in the Code.

B:  POLICY AND ACTIONS ON ANTI-RACISM, ACCESS & EQUITY

Governance

Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services is committed to achieving representation of the diversity of the Toronto community on its Board of Directors by ensuring that it has an equitable and transparent nominations process that is communicated to all members, and that members are committed to outreach beyond the current membership if necessary, to achieve this goal.

Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services has always governed in a non-discriminatory way. Currently, all members of our board reflect members from different genders, religions, cultures, ages, educational backgrounds and experiences. All members elected on to the board have equal decision-making power. Minutes are generally distributed to all members. They are required to be present to ensure an equitable nomination process.

All community members have access to becoming a member of the board through our website. Previous placements students and volunteers are informed of this opportunity alongside its benefits of contributing to building capacities of our community in the organization’s best attempts to representing the population. The process is instructive and transparent to meeting the needs of all desired members.  

Employment

Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services is committed to achieving representation of diverse groups on its staff by ensuring that members of diverse communities have equitable access to employment. This includes recruitment, selection, staff development, performance evaluation, retention, promotion, termination.

Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services is committed to maintaining an environment where all individuals are treated with dignity and respect and are free from all forms of discriminatory treatment, behaviour or practice. Discrimination, harassment, violence, and any other form of discriminatory practices will not be tolerated by Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services. Discrimination does not have to be intentional. It can result from practices or policies that appear to be neutral but, in reality, have a negative effect on groups or individuals based on race, religion, gender, etc.

Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services ensures that the policies and procedures of employment equity is evenly distributed amongst all employees and communicated through quarterly seminars by way of increasing competency of organization members on matters related to employment equity or in conjunction with it. Monthly meetings will be conducted for participatory staff development; updating all members of changed policies, procedures while practicing through culturally sensitive lenses. All employment notices will also be communicated through varied media, via our website.

Staffs and Volunteers working with youth are obliged to obtain a vulnerable screening police reference check in good standing. Other volunteers are required to submit a current criminal reference check with their applications.

Services

Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services is committed to ensuring that its services and programs are accessible to diverse communities. This involves a constant review of current outreach, communications, program planning and evaluation, to ensure goal is being met.

Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services has made and continue to develop outreach programs to accessing a much broader cross-section of the community. We have established several partnerships with other charitable organizations all over the Greater Toronto Area by way of combining resources to servicing greater vulnerable populations like youth, women, seniors, visible minorities, newcomers. Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services has also delivered public presentations at their hub, local schools and community centres on the services offered (or coming); advertisements and web broadcasts are also constantly updated to meet the evolving needs of our community. 

In addition, Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services will take into consideration provision of services to disadvantaged individuals, low‑income persons, families in poverty, and equity‑seeking communities. Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services expects to achieve this commitment through the implementation of free programming and activities to all of its clients who partake in them. Community events and outings will also be free of charge and will continue to be so with the exception to fundraising events.

Training and Education

Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services is committed to ensuring that those involved in the delivery of services and programs have the knowledge, understanding and skills to work with and provide services to members of diverse communities, particularly equity‑seeking communities.

The Executive Director of Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services provides all staff members with the necessary training to ensure the delivery of services are effective. In doing so, people and organizations external to the organization may be contacted to seek advice on specific programming, education and outreach matters.

Information and Communications

Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services is committed to ensuring that all of its communications, including information on its services and programs, are accessible to diverse communities. In doing so, Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services will continue to outreach initiatives to ensuring that we reach diverse communities; regularly update website with current policies and procedures to increase its accessibility.

C:  HUMAN RIGHTS COMPLAINT PROCEDURE
Definitions

Complainant: the individual alleging the discriminatory treatment or behaviour

Respondent: the individual against whom the allegation of discrimination is made.

Employee: for the purpose of this policy, the term employee includes employees, volunteers, contractors and consultants working with Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services.

Avenues of Complaint

Complaints will be dealt with by the Executive Director. Where appropriate, the Executive Director will consult with the President of the Board of Directors and the Human Resources Committee.

All situations in which the Executive Director has been named in a complaint will be dealt with directly by the President of the Board of Directors in consultation with the Human Resources Committee.

Right to Complain

Individuals have the right to complain about situations they believe to be discriminatory or harassing in nature.

This policy prohibits reprisals against employees because they have complained or have provided information regarding a complaint. Alleged reprisals are subject to the same complaints’ procedures and penalties as complaints of discrimination.

Reporting a Complaint

Although individuals may first choose to make a verbal complaint, a written summary of the incident will be required.

Complaints should be reported as soon as possible. If the complaint is delayed beyond three months, the complainant should outline the reason for the delay in reporting the incident(s).

A letter of complaint should contain a brief account of the offensive incident(s), when it occurred, the person(s) involved and the names of witnesses, if any. The letter should be signed and dated by the complainant.

Investigation

Within three working days of receiving a complaint, the Executive Director and/or President of the Board of Directors must initiate the investigation process.

As soon a possible after receiving the complaint, the Executive Director will notify the individual(s) being named in the complaint. All individuals named in the complaint have a right to reply to the allegations against them.

Individuals named in the complaint as witnesses will be interviewed.

Settlement and Mediation

With the consent of the complainant and the respondent, the investigator may attempt to mediate a settlement of a complaint at any point prior to or during an investigation.

Every effort will be made to reach a settlement satisfactory to the complainant and the respondent.

Confidentiality

All individuals involved with a complaint must ensure the matter remains confidential.

The investigator will release information only on a need-to-know basis.  Whenever possible, investigation reports are presented in a summary format without the names of witnesses.

Findings and Recommendations

Once the investigation is complete, the investigator will prepare a written report summarizing investigation findings.

Final Decision

The individual(s) who filed the complaint and those named in the complaint have the right to review and comment on the investigation findings with the Executive Director or the President of the Board of Directors.

Remedy

A response to a founded complaint could include remedial action ranging from:

  • requiring the respondent to provide a verbal of written apology;

  • giving a verbal or written reprimand with a copy to the respondent’s personnel file;

  • dismissal of the respondent.

If the findings do not support the complaint, Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services might:

  • make a recommendation for training or better communications; or 

  • recommend that no further action is necessary.

It may be that no action is taken against the respondent, but there might be a need for some management or systemic activity.

A person who is found to have made a frivolous or vexatious complaint may be subject to disciplinary action.

Timeframe

Complaints should be reported within three months of the incident. If the report is made after three months, an explanation of the delay should accompany the complaint.

Complaints will be dealt with in a timely manner.

Records

When remedial action requires discipline of an employee, a record of the disciplinary action will be placed on an individual’s personnel file. All other records of the investigation will be kept separate and apart from the personnel file.

Ontario Human Rights Commission

This internal procedure is available to individuals to resolve complaints of discrimination. Parties also have recourse to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, however, once a grievance is filed with OHRC, the internal procedure is not an option.

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