Toronto & York Region Labour Council and Urban Alliance on Race Relations urge City Council to get serious about eliminating racism in Toronto

TORONTO, March 21, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In commemoration of the 64th International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Toronto & York Region Labour Council and the Urban Alliance on Race Relations urged Toronto City Council to offer more than band-aid solutions and go further than previous governments had in combating racial inequity in Toronto.

The two organizations, speaking together at a press conference at City Hall on Thursday, proposed that the City immediately take the following actions:

1) Commit to a yearly racial inequity audit of its programs and agencies.
2) Establish a racial justice advisory committee to report on the findings of the audit, propose changes, work with the City’s programs and agencies to implement those changes and hold the City accountable to making them in a timely manner.
3) Convene a city-wide conversation on racism that culminates in a summit.

“While the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination recognizes a horrific event at the international level, much of our work to challenge racism is done at the local level,” Andria Babbington, President of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council said. “With a more visibly and culturally-representative council and Mayor, more than ever before, a Toronto that is free of racism and discrimination is achievable through our joint struggle,” she continued.
Further, the two organizations noted that, in particular, housing, good jobs, transit, community services, and policing are where racial inequity is felt deeply in Toronto. They released their solutions in their joint statement which can be found here.

"Throughout the past 50 years, the Urban Alliance on Race Relations has seen the highs and lows of the fight for Racial Justice in Toronto. While we have a progressive and diverse City Council, we must continue to hold our local leaders accountable to continuing this important fight." Nigel Barriffe, President of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations said.

Andrea Vásquez Jiménez, Director of Policing-Free Schools, and Melissa Wong, Director, Engagement & Strategic Initiatives at Social Planning Toronto, joined Babbington, Barriffe and UARR Executive Director Neethan Shan, in pressing for robust anti-racism commitments from City Council, especially around policing and community services.

Following the press conference, CUPE Local 79 President Nas Yadollahi, York-South Weston Tenants Union Co-Chair Sharlene Henry and TTCriders Community Planner August Puranauth, will join the above speakers for an interactive panel discussion at Metro Hall.

For more information and media inquiries, please contact
Susan McMurray, Executive Assistant, Toronto & York Region Labour Council
Phone: 416-882-2247 Email:

The Toronto & York Region Labour Council represents over 220,000 workers from diverse sectors across the Toronto region. Committed to fighting for economic, social, racial and climate justice, the Council works tirelessly to create a fair and equitable future for all.

The Urban Alliance on Race Relations works with the community, public and private sectors to provide educational programs and research critical to addressing racism in our society.