Racism has been recognized as a key contributor to inequitable health outcomes for Indigenous and racialized peoples– something the COVID-19 pandemic recently amplified1,2. Moving toward a more equitable system requires dedicated and consistent efforts by the collective – institutions, government and individuals alike – to address systemic racism, eliminate racial disparities in health care and build on equity, diversity and inclusion efforts within our healthcare system.
To support the work of hospitals on behalf of their patients and staff, and to highlight this important issue, the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) has developed this page to share resources related to anti-racism. Although our aim is to be as inclusive as possible, the resources listed here do not represent the full breadth of information and supports available locally and internationally. As such, we invite readers to share their feedback and suggestions for additional content by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members are encouraged to engage in additional research and due diligence as required. This resource will be updated as more information becomes available.
Disclaimer: This resource has been created for general information purposes only. The OHA assumes no responsibility or liability for any harm, damage or other losses, direct or indirect, resulting from any reliance on the use or the misuse of any information contained on this web page (including sub-pages). Facts, figures and resources mentioned in the referenced resources have not been validated by the OHA.
Key Terminology and Acronyms
This section includes definitions of key terms quoted directly from the resources cited. Please note that this is not a comprehensive list; a list of glossary resources with additional information is included at the bottom of the page.
- Anti-Black racism is prejudice, attitudes, beliefs, stereotyping and discrimination directed at people of African descent and is rooted in their unique history and experience of enslavement and its legacy. Anti-Black racism is deeply entrenched in Canadian institutions, policies and practices, to the extent that anti-Black racism is either functionally normalized or rendered invisible to the larger White society. Anti-Black racism is manifest in the current social, economic, and political marginalization of African Canadians, which includes unequal opportunities, lower socio-economic status, higher unemployment, significant poverty rates and overrepresentation in the criminal justice system (Anti-Racism Directorate, Government of Ontario).
- Anti-Indigenous racism is the ongoing race-based discrimination, negative stereotyping, and injustice experienced by Indigenous peoples within Canada. It includes ideas and practices that establish, maintain and perpetuate power imbalances, systemic barriers, and inequitable outcomes that stem from the legacy of colonial policies and practices in Canada.
- Systemic anti-Indigenous racism is evident in discriminatory federal policies such as the Indian Act and the residential school system. It is also manifest in the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in provincial criminal justice and child welfare systems, as well as inequitable outcomes in education, well-being, and health. Individual lived-experiences of anti-Indigenous racism can be seen in the rise in acts of hostility and violence directed at Indigenous people (Anti-Racism Directorate, Government of Ontario).
- Anti-racism is a process, a systematic method of analysis, and a proactive course of action rooted in the recognition of the existence of racism, including systemic racism. Anti-racism actively seeks to identify, remove, prevent, and mitigate racially inequitable outcomes and power imbalances between groups and change the structures that sustain inequities (Anti-Racism Directorate, Government of Ontario).
- Antisemitism is latent or overt hostility, or hatred directed towards, or discrimination against, individual Jewish people or the Jewish people for reasons connected to their religion, ethnicity, and their cultural, historical, intellectual, and religious heritage (Anti-Racism Directorate, Government of Ontario).
- A community of status Indians recognized by the federal government under the Indian Act. There are over 600 recognized Indian bands in Canada. Bands often have land set apart for their collective use (see "Reserve"). Each band has its own governing council, usually consisting of a chief and several councillors. The members of a band share common values, traditions, and practices rooted in their ancestral heritage. Today, many Indian bands prefer to use the word "First Nation" to describe their communities (Canadian Race Relations Foundation: Glossary of Terms).
- An acronym referring to Black, Indigenous and People of Colour
- Colonialism is the historical practice of European expansion into territories already inhabited by Indigenous peoples for the purposes of acquiring new lands and resources. This expansion is rooted in the violent suppression of Indigenous peoples' governance, legal, social and cultural structures. Colonialism attempts to force Indigenous peoples to accept and integrate into institutions that are designed to force them to conform with the structures of the colonial state. "Colonialism remains an ongoing process, shaping both the structure and the quality of the relationship between settlers and Indigenous peoples." (TRC Final Report, 2016 What We Have Learned: Principles of Truth and Reconciliation) (Anti-Racism Directorate, Government of Ontario).
- A term that came into common usage in the 1980's, to replace the term "Indian," which some people find offensive – it has no legal definition. "First Nation peoples" or "First Nations" refers to the Indian peoples of Canada, both status and non-status, who are descendants of the original inhabitants of Canada who lived here for millennia before explorers arrived from Europe, and can also refer to a community of people as a replacement term for "band" (see "Band").
- First Nation peoples are one of the distinct cultural groups of Aboriginal peoples in Canada. There are 52 First Nations cultures in Canada, and more than 50 languages. The term "First Nation" is not interchangeable with "Aboriginal," because it does not include Métis or Inuit (Canadian Race Relations Foundation: Glossary of Terms).
People of Colour
- A term which applies to non-White racial or ethnic groups; generally used by racialized peoples as an alternative to the term "visible minority." The word is not used to refer to Aboriginal peoples, as they are considered distinct societies under the Canadian Constitution. When including Indigenous peoples, it is correct to say "people of colour and Aboriginal / Indigenous peoples." (Canadian Race Relations Foundation: Glossary of Terms).
- A term used to classify people into groups based principally on physical traits (phenotypes) such as skin colour. Racial categories are not based on science or biology but on differences that society has created (i.e. "socially constructed"), with significant consequences for people's lives. Racial categories may vary over time and place and can overlap with ethnic, cultural or religious groupings (Anti-Racism Directorate, Government of Ontario).
Racialized (person or group)
- Racialized persons and/or groups can have racial meanings attributed to them in ways that negatively impact their social, political, and economic life. This includes but is not necessarily limited to people classified as "visible minorities" under the Canadian census and may include people impacted by antisemitism and Islamophobia (Anti-Racism Directorate, Government of Ontario).
- According to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (to which Canada is a signatory), racial discrimination is "any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin, which nullifies or impairs the recognition, enjoyment or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life." (Canadian Race Relations Foundation: Glossary of Terms).
- A fear or dislike of China, or Chinese people, their language or culture; a fear of goods made in China or goods labelled as made in China (Collins Dictionary)
- This is an interlocking and reciprocal relationship between the individual, institutional and structural levels which function as a system of racism. These various levels of racism operate together in a lockstep model and function together as whole system. These levels are:
- A term used to describe people who are not White. Although it is a legal term widely used in human rights legislation and various policies, currently the terms racialized minority or people of colour are preferred by people labelled as 'visible minorities' (Canadian Race Relations Foundation: Glossary of Terms).
- The inherent advantages possessed by a White person on the basis of their race in a society characterized by racial inequality and injustice. This concept does not imply that a White person has not worked for their accomplishments, but rather, that they have not faced barriers encountered by others (Canadian Race Relations Foundation: Glossary of Terms).
For more related terminology, please refer to the following resources: