In the spirit of National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21) and Pride Month (June), we encourage all of our clients to educate themselves on the significance of these days/months of recognition and how we as a community can work towards achieving diversity, equity and inclusion for all.
It is critically important for us to listen to those who are underrepresented in society, hear their stories, and recognize that having a diversity of perspectives and fostering an inclusive workplace will not only lead to better business outcomes, but help to contribute to a diverse and inclusive society as a whole. We encourage all of our clients to reach out to members of their communities to see how they can get involved in DEI initiatives.
Those historically excluded and underrepresented in society include but are not limited to: Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, individuals from racialized groups, people of diverse faiths and creeds, people of all ages, people who identify as LGBTQIA2S+, and women. The following information is intended to start the education process and encourage you to continue the conversation.
National Indigenous History Month
In Canada, June is National Indigenous History Month. It is important for all Canadians to take time to study and celebrate Indigenous history, and find ways to support Indigenous peoples in meaningful ways.
June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada. This particular day is intended to be a day to learn about the lived experience and history of Indigenous peoples such as First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people, and celebrate each unique culture and heritage, while also acknowledging the need for meaningful reconciliation.
How Can You Celebrate and Honour National Indigenous Peoples Day?
- Identify and acknowledge the Indigenous land you live on. Click here to find out more.
- Consider making a monetary donation to an Indigenous-led organization. Click here for a list of suggested organizations.
- Review the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation archives, which includes hours of statements from residential school survivors and their families, and read the final report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which includes 94 calls to action.
- Watch Indigenous-made Feature Films, Short Films, and Documentaries.
- Read books by Indigenous authors, including children’s books.
- Take an online course to learn more about the experiences and history of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Indigenous Canada is a course offered through the University of Alberta that is free to enroll in. Click here for more information.
- Attend a celebration organized by a local Indigenous community or organization. Check out the links below for some ideas:
Every year in June, millions of Canadians come together to celebrate Pride Month; a month-long celebration of the LGBTQIA2S+ community. LGBTQIA2S+ is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit, and any other ways that individuals choose to identify themselves.
Pride month takes place in June because of a critical point in queer history in North America, which was the Stonewall Uprising. The Stonewall Uprising took place in June of 1969 in New York City. Police officers raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, which started a riot among the employees, local neighbours, and bar patrons. Six days of protests followed, and the incident garnered national media attention.
It is critical to remember that the first Pride wasn’t a celebration, but a protest and fight for equal rights, led by queer members of the BIPOC community. In the decades since Stonewall, protests and pride events have continued to take place to acknowledge the history of systemic oppression and the challenges still faced, as well as to celebrate and honour the queer community.
How Can You Celebrate Pride?
- Get educated on the history of the LGBTQIA+ rights movement.
- Support a queer charitable organization.
- Include your pronouns in your email signature to normalize discussing pronouns and support inclusion.
- Support queer-owned businesses in your area.
- Look for local Pride events in your area: click here and here to find an event near you.
Human Rights and the Law
It is important to note that in Ontario, discrimination on the basis of sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding), sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression is illegal under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
In Canada, each province and territory has their own human rights legislation, which typically includes sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression as prohibited grounds for discrimination.