These have been challenging weeks in challenging times. We are gutted by the deaths of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Chantel Moore, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and too many others. And we are gripped by the urgency of the work yet to be done to build the communities, country and world we want.
FCM is the national voice of Canada’s local governments. These are the governments working closest to people’s everyday hopes and challenges. We are united by a commitment—as we often express it—to build better lives for Canadians. And fundamentally, we hold that every one of those lives should be lived free from racism, systemic oppression and racialized violence.
That freedom should permeate our cities and communities where we live, work, attend school and raise families. It should permeate the workplaces, including FCM’s own, where we go to earn a living and help move Canada forward. But, in all these places, Black, Indigenous and other racialized people continue to face pervasive systemic racism and injustice. Acknowledging this reality is essential to changing it.
As an employer, we have work to do to continue to confront systemic racism. We are fully committed to taking specific, measurable and continued action. As a start, here is what that will look like:
- We will deploy the findings of FCM’s recent gender and diversity audit to inform a meaningful process with staff in the coming months to develop an action plan with measurable targets.
- We will engage external expertise in anti-racism, justice and equity to support an internal dialogue and continued conversation that drives action.
- We will assess FCM’s internal policies and practices through a racialized lens, with expert support. This will include recruitment and evaluation practices, and specific efforts to promote diversity and address systemic barriers, including through leadership and anti-racism training for all staff.
- We will ensure FCM’s mental health supports are comprehensive to the unique mental health needs and realities of Black, Indigenous and other racialized colleagues.
- We will resource and begin a meaningful exploration of building an equity lens into our work and programs, with a commitment to communicate the outcomes.
As a national federation, FCM has both responsibilities and opportunities to drive change. We specifically acknowledge that racialized voices are under-represented on elected municipal councils across the country, and that this is reflected in the ranks of FCM’s own nationally elected board and senior leadership. Initiatives like FCM’s Diverse Voices for Change have fueled progress in some communities—but also a deeper analysis of how much work remains to be done.
FCM’s member municipalities have their own levers, as governments and as employers, and we recognize those who are openly pledging to do more. FCM commits to engage and resource an assessment of how we can best help them build local capacity to eliminate systemic racism.
And because unlearning and re-learning is a dynamic process, we recognize that dialogue and action on anti-oppressive practice will need to be ongoing and not a one-time commitment.
FCM’s message to racialized staff, colleagues, members and Canadians: We see and hear you. Confronting racism is something we will do together—as allies, and as a work in progress.