Position Overview

The Animator will be tasked with promotion, planning, structuring, and facilitation of workshops with either a boys or girls group in respective schools. Each group will be run within the project guidelines by the animator who will facilitate structured activities in accordance with objectives set out by the BCRC and the school they reside within. This person will report to the Project Coordinator on activities, issues, and act as an intermediary for general communication between school staff, parents and other facilitators and will be tasked with keeping detailed notes. The Animator(s) will work both in the school, and on occasion in, the community.


Duties and Responsibilities



  • Plan and facilitate group workshops in accordance with the program guidelines and the participants’ skills and needs.
  • Develop monthly work plans in accordance with program objectives.
  • Serve as liaisons between students, homes, schools and other contacts to help children who face problems, such as disabilities, abuse, or poverty.
  • Interview clients individually, or in groups, assessing their situations, capabilities, and problems to determine what services are required to meet their needs.
  • Counsel students whose behavior, school progress, or mental or physical impairment indicate a need for assistance, identifying students’ problems.
  • Encourage group participants to provide mutual assistance and emotional support to each other.


  • Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, Psychology or DEC in Social Service, CRLT, Special Care Counselling or related field.
  • Previous experience working with children and families.
  • Excellent oral and verbal communication skills/exceptional client service skills
  • Ability to problem solve and multi-task.
  • Detail-oriented; strong organizational skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to work under pressure while juggling several competing priorities.
  • Ability to work and problem solve independently and as a team member.
  • Excellent computer skills (Microsoft Office: Power Point, Excel, and Word).
  • Spoken and written English (French an asset)
  • Crisis intervention skills an asset.
  • Cultural Sensitivity.
  • Experience (or related experience) with “at risk” youth an asset.

All interested candidates ready for this challenge are requested to send their resume to the attention of Ms. Raeanne Francis, Administrative Coordinator  at nfo@bcrcmontreal.com. Applications will be accepted until November 30th, 2017. Please note that we will only contact those candidates retained for an interview. . We thank you for your interest in working for BCRC.

By Ashlie Bienvenu


It seems appropriate to dedicate this article to Oliver Jones, as he recently performed in Little Burgundy at the renaming of Sainte-Cunegonde Social Centre, into the Oliver-Jones Centre. The renaming was to honour a talented and renowned musician; however, the honour was also due to his dedication and commitment to his hometown, Little Burgundy. Oliver Jones has led a very amazing life, from his childhood as a prodigy, to his performing and recording points in his career, to the growing fame and subsequent world tours, and to his recent retirement. However, throughout all of these milestones, Jones has stayed true to his roots and remained a prominent influential figure in his community.

Born on September 11, 1934, in Little Burgundy, Montreal, to Barbadian parents, Jones had an early affinity for music. Considered a child prodigy, Jones was playing the piano in the Union United Church at the age of five, and playing in Café St-Michel at the age of nine. He later went on to play at clubs, one of which was the famous Rockhead’s Paradise. During his childhood Jones was tutored in classical piano by Madame Bonner, and later by Daisy Peterson Sweeney, the sister of Oscar Peterson. Jones later went on to tour the United States with a show called the Bandwagon. (Ware & Gagnon, 2016)

Jones worked in Montreal until approximately 1963, until he moved to Puerto Rico with his family to become the music director for the Kenny Hamilton Show Band. Jones returned to Montreal in 1980 and began to collaborate with Charles Biddle. They performed around Montreal, in bars and clubs, before opening a club of their own, the Biddle’s Jazz and Ribs, now called the House of Jazz, for which Jones was the in-house pianist. In 1985 Jones and Biddle recorded an album that caught the interest of Jim West, a record producer for the Jazz label, Justin Time. Jones, in a trio with Biddle and Bernard Primeau, recorded numerous songs. However, as Jones’ solo career took off, he was unable to devote his time to Biddle’s club. He played in Jazz festivals, went on tour around the world, and recorded over 15 albums. (Ware & Gagnon, 2016)

Jones also taught at Laurentian University, in 1987, and McGill University, in 1988, until his retirement in 1995. He was given many honours and awards, such as the PROCAN award, for his contributions to the world of Jazz, the Oscar Peterson Award, the Golden Ducat, Knight of the Ordre national du Québec, Officer of the Order of Canada, Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Award, for his contributions to the Black community in Canada, especially Montreal. Jones announced his retirement, originally, in 2000. He decided to continue touring in 2002 and continued with his music career until 2016, where, at the tenth annual International Jazz Festival, he announced his retirement due to health issues. Jones hoped that there would be young Jazz musicians to pick up the torch after him. (Ware & Gagnon, 2016)

One such young musician, who was inspired and supported by Jones, is the seventeen year old Montrealer, Daniel Clarke Bouchard. This young piano prodigy credits Jones as being his mentor and says that “It’s really changed [his] whole career, being able to be around [Jones] and have [his] career progress with his watchful eye.” (CBC News) Jones has made an impact on many young musicians from the Montreal Black Community. In fact, at his performance this past month, at the renaming of the Sainte-Cunegonde Social Centre, Jones gave a speech in which he declared he was “passing the baton to the next generations.” (CBC News) He also used this speech to give hope to the children who come from less influential homes and neighbourhoods. He uses himself as an example that, if you work hard enough, it does not matter which walk of life you come from. (CBC News)

Therefore, even though Jones is set to retire, his memory, legend, and good works will live on in Little Burgundy and, more generally, Montreal. Indeed, his name will live on in Little Burgundy, through the newly named Oliver-Jones Centre, which provides services to the St. Henri/Little Burgundy community. His hard work and dedication will always serve as an example to children to follow their dreams, no matter their circumstances.


Jazz legend Oliver Jones gives another ‘last’ performance after community centre renamed in his honour. (September 17, 2017). CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/oliver-jones-little-burgundy-1.4293790.

Ware, E. & Gagnon, A.J. (October 6, 2016). Canadian Encyclopedia: Oliver Jones. Historica Canada. Retrieved from http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/oliver-jones-emc/.


For Full Version of Semaji September 2017 Click Here

By Ashlie Bienvenu

We are pleased to announce that, as of September 11th, 2017, the Queen Elizabeth Health Complex (QEHC), which predominantly serves the Anglophone community in NDG, has been given the status of “super-clinic.” (CBC News) “Ensuring ready access to both medical and alternative health services, the QEHC is an attractive option to avoid the overcrowding, delays and other inconveniences so often experienced in hospitals and CLSCs.” (QEHC)

The QEHC has a long history of service to the community, since “1894 when it used to be the Montreal Homeopathic Hospital,” (QEHC) situated on McGill College Avenue. The hospital was later moved to Marlowe Avenue, its current NDG location, in 1927, when there was a demand for more beds and space. This hospital became renowned for their cutting edge medical practices and attentive staff, so much so that they were honored with the name of King George VI’s wife, Queen Elizabeth. However, the hospital’s very existence was put in jeopardy when there was a government directive, in 1995, to cut health care costs through the closure of “Montreal-area acute-care hospitals.” (QEHC) In the year after this directive, “the QEH Board of Directors, the QEH Foundation and other bodies and individuals in the community joined forces and decided to take matters into their own hands by forming the Centre-West Community Health Corporation (CWCHC).” (QEHC) This new not-for-profit organization allowed for the continuation of acute care services in the community.

“The Queen Elizabeth Health Complex, under the management of the CWCHC, is therefore a reincarnation and a new legal form for a century-old community institution. Its mission is to provide efficient, readily accessible medical services, complementary and alternative therapy, as well as emotional and mental health services that will contribute to improving the health of our community in accordance with the policies and guidelines of the Government of Quebec.” (QEHC)

The QEHC offers services such as:
-A walk-in clinic, open 365 days a year
-A medical specialist clinic: cardiology, internal medicine, neurology, urology, otolaryngology, endocrinology, ophthalmology, and a special educational diabetes program.
-Imaging centre: radiology, ultrasound, digital mammography, bone density, and fluoroscopy services.
– The MUHC Department of Family Medicine.
– A dental clinic affiliated with the McGill University Faculty of Dentistry.
– Health services, such as chiropractic, nutrition, dietetics, physiotherapy, osteopathy, audiology and aesthetic medicine.
-Provides in-home nursing services.
-Mental health services.
-Complementary and alternative health care services: acupuncture, massotherapy, homeopathy, etc. (QEHC)

Please visit the QEHC website (http://www.qehc.org/) for more information.


NDG’s Queen Elizabeth Health Complex to become ‘super-clinic’. (August 25, 2017). CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-health-care-super-clinic-1.4262321.
QEHC. Queen Elizabeth Health Complex. Retrieved from http://www.qehc.org/.


For Full Version of Semaji September 2017 Click Here

By Yvonne Sam (Chairman of the Rights and Freedoms Committee)
Originally Published in The Montreal Gazette, September 18, 2017


Testimony has a greater impact if one can see and hear the person testifying. The hearings are an opportunity to heighten public awareness.

The Quebec inquiry on systemic discrimination and racism has yet to begin hearings, but what’s already apparent is that the Couillard government does not want the exercise to be transparent.

When the consultation was announced in July, all Quebecers were urged to participate, with the hearings being touted as an occasion to find tangible and permanent solutions to the issues at hand. Now we learn that Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil and the Quebec Human Rights Commission have indicated that local consultations will be held behind closed doors, hidden from the eyes of the media and the citizenry, away from the public setting that was expected by the public.

According to a spokesperson for Weil, “The people who wish to be heard will be heard.”

But by whom?

Weil herself has proffered the defense that privacy will ensure that those testifying will feel open to relaying their experience.

No way! Poor say!

Systemic racism concerns the denial of political, economic and social opportunities to individuals on account of their race or ethnic background. Marginalized groups who regularly deal with discrimination, mistreatment and unfair treatment are used to not being heard and, above all, not being taken seriously, and may view testifying behind closed doors as an extension of that attitude.

Let us not forget that there are many who already have little faith in the government and its previous handling of racism and discrimination, and now are called upon to sit behind closed doors to discuss their sufferings and injustices. This is similar to the fox declaring that he is now a vegan so that he can oversee the hen house. The history of the beleaguered Human Rights Commission, mandated to oversee the hearings but currently embroiled in its own issues, speaks volumes in itself; if it had, over the years, done a better job of carrying out its functions, this public consultation may have not been needed. It seems as plain as falling rain that hearings behind closed doors must be for the benefit of the rights commission, as they are not helpful to the victims.

The decision to hold closed-door hearings may additionally be because the province is unwilling to stir up debate as was evoked by the Bouchard-Taylor hearings on reasonable accommodation a decade ago.

Certainly, testimony has a greater impact if one can see and hear the person testifying. For those who do not feel the impact of systemic discrimination and racism, and may not even know it exists, hearing testimony as relayed by media could be educational. It is challenging to see a problem or barrier if it is not within our lived experience, or to comprehend its urgency. The hearings are a good opportunity to heighten public awareness of these issues.

The second phase of the inquiry, open to the public, begins in November and features the testimony of experts and transmission of some of the issues raised by working groups that are to focus on specific areas, like education and employment. Why would only some of the issues be given priority, rather than have them all addressed?

Of further concern is the fact that the government intends to release the findings along with an action plan in the spring, just months shy of the general election scheduled for October 2018. That does not leave much time for implementation of any recommendations.

It is not too late for the government to clean the slate, for at the end of the day the objective is to have a better Quebec, where racism and discrimination would be sent into remission.

The closed doors should be opened wide, so there is nothing to hide.


For Full Version of Semaji September 2017 Click Here

Position: Animator


Position Overview

The Animator will be tasked with promotion, planning, structuring, and facilitation of workshops with either a boys or girls group in respective schools. Each group will be run within the project guidelines by the animator who will facilitate structured activities in accordance with objectives set out by the BCRC and the school they reside within. This person will report to the Project Coordinator on activities, issues, and act as an intermediary for general communication between school staff, parents and other facilitators and will be tasked with keeping detailed notes. The Animator(s) will work both in the school, and on occasion in, the community.


Duties and Responsibilities

  • Plan and facilitate group workshops in accordance with the program guidelines and the participants’ skills and needs.
  • Develop monthly work plans in accordance with program objectives.
  • Serve as liaisons between students, homes, schools and other contacts to help children who face problems, such as disabilities, abuse, or poverty.
  • Interview clients individually, or in groups, assessing their situations, capabilities, and problems to determine what services are required to meet their needs.
  • Counsel students whose behavior, school progress, or mental or physical impairment indicate a need for assistance, Identifying students’ problems.
  • Assist parents with understanding social dynamics of High School, and intervening appropriately with students.
  • Encourage group participants to provide mutual assistance and emotional support to each other.


Qualifications: DEC or Bachelors in Social Work, Psychology, Social Service, CRLT, Special Care Counselling or related field.


All interested candidates ready for this challenge are requested to send their resume to info@bcrcmontreal.com. Applications will be accepted until November 30th, 2017.

Canada’s Black Walk Of Fame: Dr. Charles R. Drew

By Ashlie Bienvenu


For our next inductee into the Black Walk of Fame, we look to someone who, while not born in Canada, gained the inspiration for his ground-breaking blood plasma discoveries at Montreal’s own McGill University. The story of his never ending determination in the face of adversity, and his fight for racial equality in the medical field, are truly awe-inspiring. This man surely deserves recognition, not only for his innovative medical discoveries, but also for his activism in the field of racial equality.


Charles Drew was born in Washington, D.C., in the year 1904. Even as a child he was hardworking, driven and goal oriented. These characteristics would later help him in his pursuit of education, in a field that did not admit many Black figures. While Drew ended up entering the medical field, he began his education with a focus toward sports. In his high school, Drew lettered in four different sports and was given the James E. Walker Medal for excellence in sports. Drew later went on to Amherst College, with an athletic scholarship, and received a reputation as a legendary athlete that brought his school to numerous victories. However, it was during this time that he developed his interest in medicine through his biology classes, his football injuries, and the death of his sister from tuberculosis. Drew graduated from Amherst in 1926 and began to move forward with his vision of medical school. Drew never gave up his sports, in fact, he turned many of his schools’ sports teams into champions; but, his new focus became medical school.


Drew, as a Black man, in a pre-Civil Rights Movement society, did not have many options in the racially segregated academics. Receiving an education in medicine was even harder, as many patients would have refused the services of a Black doctor. This did not stop Drew, however, and, when he was made to wait a year to get into Harvard, he decided to apply to McGill, which had a reputation for better treatment of racial minorities. While at McGill, Drew became a star athlete and student. He graduated second in a class of 137 students and won numerous prizes and fellowships in his time there. Drew finished off his time in Montreal by completing his residency at Montreal General Hospital, alongside Professor John Beattie, a bacteriologist who was working to treat shock patients with blood transfusions. It was during this time that Drew formed his interest in transfusion medicine. During his time at Montreal General, 1933-1935, Drew experienced a hospital fire, with many casualties. At the time, if someone needed a transfusion, they needed to find a donor on short notice, as there was no way to preserve blood for more than a few days. Therefore, a lot of the patients, during this fire, died without access to transfusions. This experience would later influence his research on blood preservation and blood banks.


Drew later decided to move back to the United States to teach medicine. With limited spaces available for Black men he was restricted to a position at Howard University. Drew would later push against these boundaries by continuing to rise in academia, as well as working to create a more tolerant environment for Black medical students. During Drew’s surgical residency at Columbia University, where he was the first Black man to do so, he specialized in research on fluid chemistry, alongside Dr. John Scudder. The focus of his research centered on how to “bank” blood, or preserve it. Drew and Scudder set up their research in Presbyterian Hospital, in 1939, where they set up an experimental blood bank. During this experiment, Drew and Scudder researched the best variables and conditions that would allow the blood to last longer. They eventually found, along with other researchers, that when blood plasma is separated from the blood it lasts longer and is more easily preserved. This discovery came in handy during the course of World War II, especially in Britain, which had been hit hard by the Germans.


During World War II, the American Red Cross Association and the National Research Council (NRC) got together to create a relief program for Britain, called “Blood for Britain”. Drew and Scudder joined the NRC’s Committee on Transfusions. Drew was later asked by the Blood Transfusion Betterment Association (BTBA) to take a more active role and lead the initiative for Britain, as the medical supervisor. Drew was credited with creating a standardized system for quality transfusion preservation methods. It was through his leadership that the program became a success. However, Drew eventually gave up his position due to the Red Cross’s segregated blood transfusion policy. Instead, he went on to become the Chair for the Department of Surgery for Howard University and train young Black surgeons to propel them to excellence.


Therefore, Dr. Charles Drew leaves a lasting legacy on the world. He revolutionized the system of blood transfusions, trained more than half of America’s Black surgeons between 1941 and 1950, and had an impact on the preservation of lives during the Second World War. Many people are alive today due to discoveries that were made by Dr. Charles Drew, and it is thanks to him that we have a large-scale blood bank system today.



The Charles R. Drew Papers. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from https://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/ps/retrieve/Narrative/BG/p-nid/336


For Full Version of Semaji June 2017 Click Here

Quebec’s Glory shown through our Story?

Quebec and diversity are not fully compatible, but is there also a continued historical dissonance?

By Yvonne Sam: Chairman (Rights and Freedoms Committee) At BCRC


The recent outrage and consequent debacle that surrounded the St. Jean Baptiste parade, with singer Annie Villeneuve, on a float being pushed solely by Black males, calls for all concerned to nose dive into history books before sounding the alarm. Surrounding the float were droves of singing parade goers, fully bedecked in white from head-to-toe, which further caused social media to erupt in a brouhaha, criticizing the lack of representation and diversity by the organizers of the parade. The community quickly compared the images of the parade to historical depiction of slavery.


Let us not for one nano of a second forget the real meaning behind St. Jean Baptiste Day. According to the Prime Minister Hon. Justin Trudeau, “it is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the essential contributions Francophones have made to build the diverse, strong and inclusive country that we all call home.” In a like manner, Federal Heritage Minister, Mélanie Joly, said this year’s St-Jean and Canada Day celebrations are unique because they form part of 150th festivities from June 21 to July 2.


“On this important day, I invite Canadians to let the French language shine all across the country, and to celebrate the bright future of the Francophonie in Canada. This exceptional year gives us a fantastic opportunity to open doors and build bridges between the various Francophone communities that are at the heart of our history and our future,” she said in a statement.


Very clearly stated are the sentiments underpinning the celebrations. What was not stated, and was all wrong from the beginning, is the fact that no part of that display referred to Blacks during slavery. Maxime Laporte, head of the Societe Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montreal, and organizer of the event, felt that the accusations were somewhat exaggerated and unfair. In his opinion it was pure chance that the Blacks were pulling the float. No time would be wasted on asking in what manner was the request for help stated and solicited, and did it not strike him as somewhat odd that only Blacks offered their strength. The head coach of the school’s football team also dodged the bullet by saying that he failed to see the imminent controversy and that the students were happy to be a part of the parade. Again, that behavior merits no input, for if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then the nomenclature duck is applicable.


A quick history lesson shows how far out the organizers were, and yet we allowed our racist animosities to run rampant. We played right into the hands of all segments of the Francophonies, rather than guide them back into the safe lane. If diversity represents a rattlesnake in Quebec’s garden, then slavery represents a python under our bed.


History is clear, as in Quebecois parlance, “clair comme l’eau de roche”. From its inception as a French colony in the early 1600s, Quebec has had an African-descent presence. In 1709, slavery was legalized in the French colony of Quebec. The first recorded case of Black slavery in this province was a young man “owned” by the English and “bought” by one Guillame Couillard, who was Champlain’s master builder.


Not much is known about this first Black resident of Canada except that he was baptized under the name Olivier Le Jeune, served as a domestic, and died, still a young man and a slave, in 1654. Two thirds of all slaves in the colony were Natives; one third were of African descent. In all, during the 1700s, 1400 Black slaves toiled in Quebec mostly as domestic help. They served as servants in the employ of individual households. The rationale behind the absence of mass slavery such as that in the United States was due to the colder northern climate present in Quebec that did not require massive numbers of slave laborers to work on plantations. It is further evident that no Black male slave could have been pushing any cart in Quebec.


Even in the face of slavery, there were different types of slaves, such as: chattel slaves, debt bondage slaves, forced labour slaves and serfdom slaves, names of which all speak for themselves.


Which manner of slavery was being depicted in the St. Jean Baptiste float? Or better still which type of slave was on duty pushing the float?


We must stand on guard always prepared to act and not react especially in the face of contrived pretext, agencies camouflaging an agenda in order to remain politically viable. Take time to examine the agenda. It is being disguised and hidden within the fabric of succinctly instigated racism, sexism and other forms of hatred and bigotry.


We allowed our clear thinking to be circumvented, and be thrown off the track by agencies displaying a blatant historical lack.


Aleuta—The struggle continues.


For Full Version of Semaji June 2017 Click Here

We, Society, Must Say No to Systemic Racism and Biases Against Minorities and the Mentally Ill. Wake up Quebec! You Cannot Truly be Master in the House if You Do Not Respect and Protect All of its Members


By Dr. Clarence S. Bayne


It is my opinion that police have become society’s paid killers. Policing and military defense is a natural response of the specie to preserve and perpetuate life. But, in racialized environments, and situations where members of the specie are mentally ill, there seems to be a social license given to police to kill, as oppose to apprehend and control, members of those two classes of persons whose actions may, at the time, arbitrarily be interpreted as a threat. So a Black, mentally disturbed, man holding a screw driver in two hands is judged to be a threat. A Black child waving a toy gun in a park is shot as a threat. Obviously, what we are dealing with here are brains that are maladjusted and lack the capacity and the empathy to react in situations like these. They lack the respect for the life of what they see as aggressive threating objects. If you look at the mythology and histories that have shaped these brains, they tend to transform the victims into living things that have no souls. This profiling can only be eliminated if society, and all of its structures and interacting agencies, create and retain behavioral algorithms that exclude these responses. The last few weeks in Montreal and Quebec have produced instances (including the Saint Jean de Baptiste galley slave parade social disaster) that did not inspire hope that such adjustments were possible. I, then, received an email of hope from my friend, Kingley Gilliam, Director of BADC Communications, declaring: “We are going to hold their feet to the fire.”


Mr. Gilliam wrote, concerning the ruling and recommendations relating to the Andrew Loku case in Toronto, that: “After Four weeks of hearings and 28 witnesses, a ruling by presiding Coroner, Dr. John Carlyle, said that he had examined the evidence in the case of Andrew Loku and found no evidence of racism, nor implicit bias in the circumstances leading to the Police shooting death of Andrew Loku, and that he would not allow any questions about racism, Anti-Black Racism nor Institutional Racism to be put to the final witness, Dr. Kwame Mc Kenzie, a world renowned Psychiatrist, with over 200 publications including five books and an international consultant and expert on Implicit Bias, Anti- Black Racism and institutional Racism”.


Mr. Gilliam then goes on to say that he objected and instructed their lawyer, Selwyn Pieters, to prepare to appeal that ruling to Division Court. Selwyn stayed up all night and prepared a motion, applying for reconsideration of the ruling by the coroner. The Jury has since delivered its verdict, which was read out in the open court by the Coroner. The recommendations are very enlightening and impressive. See below for the first 26 recommendations:



1. Using reputable, external educators and other experts, TPS should ensure that the Service develops and implements annual/regular training at division and platoon meetings with a focus on the equitable delivery of policing services. The training should acknowledge the social inequities and challenges faced by racialized communities and consumer survivors who have experienced mental health challenges and equip officers with skills needed to provide appropriate responses and service delivery. Training topics should include, but not be limited to:

-Bias-free service delivery

-Social disparity

-Equitable outcomes for all

-Stress and fear inoculation techniques

-Mindfulness techniques


-Crisis communication


-Implicit bias

-Trauma informed approaches

-Anti-Black Racism

-Visible and invisible disabilities


2. Measure the effectiveness of the above mentioned training in anti-Black racism and persons in crisis by requiring both a written and oral exam of the participants. Failure in such exams should result in requiring re-attendance at such training.


3. Mandate that all officers complete the Implicit Association Test as part of initial and requalification training.


4. TPS should continue to emphasize the importance of planning in a crisis situation to identify the lead in communication.


5. Expose or continue to expose officers in training to the perspectives and lived experience of racialized communities, the Black community and individuals with mental health issues and/or addictions.

6. Review the Intercultural Development Program deployed by the Toronto Police Service and consider the continued use of the Intercultural Development Inventory or other similar tool, as well as in-house intercultural competence facilitators, to further the intercultural competence of Toronto Police Service members.


7. Amend the annual Use of Force recertification to include qualification in areas such as mental health and/or addictions, anti-racism, particularly anti-Black racism, implicit and unconscious bias, fear inoculation, de-escalation and crisis communication.


8. Continue to emphasize that where the police challenge is issued and the subject does not comply, where possible, alternative methods of communication, de-escalation, disengagement and containment should be attempted. For example, consider making it clear that lethal force will be used if commands aren’t obeyed.


9. Consider the use of trained de-briefers to be deployed following exceptional critical incidents, having regard to any SIU investigation and the rights of officers, with a view to using the knowledge gained to inform de-escalation training. If resources permit, consider using the de-briefers in situations with positive outcomes as well as negative ones, even if they are less serious incidents, in order to learn from those occurrences.


10. Make mental health and/or addictions and policing of racialized communities, in particular Toronto’s Black community, a key component of Coach Officer training.


11. Ensure that all patrol cars are equipped with less lethal weapons, e.g., CEW, sock or beanbag guns and that all officers are trained in the use of such weapons along with defensive equipment such as shields and helmets.


12. Undertake a structural/cultural review and analysis to ensure that the Service has a clear policy with respect to serving and protecting persons with mental health or addiction issues and/or racialized persons, in particular, Black persons. The Chief’s review and analysis should include input from experts in this field together with persons in the communities falling within the above-mentioned descriptors. Following this, the Chief shall clearly state the TPS policy and communicate it in detail to all officers and employees. The Chief shall ensure that all members through continuous training have a clear understanding of the Chief’s mandate in this regard. Failure to follow the Chief’s mandate should have consequences and sanctions.


13. When making decisions about promotions, supervisors should consider an officer’s skill and experience in dealing with Emotionally Disturbed Persons (EDPs), members of the Black community and racialized communities, including their ability to de-escalate and negotiate during crisis situations.


14. Encourage the Toronto Police Service to make use of the Gerstein Crisis Centre police telephone line when interacting with a person in crisis.


15. Consider additional funding and training for 911 operators in order to improve their skills in extracting more pertinant information during an emergency call. Consider beginning the de-escalation process during a 911 call.



16. Maintain its existing committee on mental health in ongoing partnership with members of the mental health community (throughout this document, ‘mental health community’ means to include the phrase in particular people who have been directly affected by mental health issues), the Toronto Police Service and subject matter experts.


17. Establish a new committee to consider possible or identified disparities in services and outcomes for racialized persons and consider interventions to address any such disparities. The committee should include representatives of the Toronto Police Service, subject matter experts and members of racialized communities, including the Black community. The committee should consider the intersectionality of mental health and race both in terms of member composition and issues to be addressed.


18. Conduct a pilot study of two divisions (preferably 14 and 51 division) where there would be more intensive community involvement, education, and training (keeping in mind resourcing) concerning interactions with people who have racial and/or mental health and/or addiction differences to determine whether this has a positive impact on reducing ‘use of force’ incidents.



19. Offer education to the appropriate building superintendents and managers on information sharing policies; in particular, what sort of information ought to be shared with CMHA (Toronto Branch) housing or support workers about CMHA (Toronto Branch) residential clients. In addition, it should deliver in-service training on how to better serve these clients.


20. Together with Across Boundaries study ways of ensuring that clients are able to access the services that they require across multiple agencies so that clients don’t ‘fall through the cracks’.



21. Fund a province-wide telephone crisis support line staffed by people trained in crisis intervention or peer support to be available to clients in supportive housing and community mental health and addiction programs, 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.


22. Provide additional funding for a sufficient number of nurses to staff Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams (MCIT) in Toronto, 24 hours a day in each police division.


23. Together with the Toronto Police Service, explore all possible avenues to assess whether MCITs could be Not Official Verdict

24. Fund and create a program to provide appropriate housing support to individuals suffering from noise sensitivity.



25. Using a research based approach, update provincial standards for de-escalation, crisis communication and biasfree police training.


26. Provide funding to research and establish appropriate benchmarks for measuring effectiveness and outcomes of current police response to persons in crisis.


For full document go to: http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/3883244/Andrew-Loku-Verdict-of-Coroners-Jury.pdf

For Full Version of Semaji June 2017 Click Here

By Ashlie Bienvenu

As there has been a lot of recognition of this historical figure in the past few years, with her inclusion in the Canadian Heritage Minutes and the decision to place her on the new ten dollar bill, I thought it would be appropriate to start our new series, Canadian Black Walk of Fame, with Viola Desmond. This series not only looks at the life and contributions of these important figures in Canada’s Black history, but also looks at the way that they have shaped Canadian society with their contributions and actions. With Ms. Desmond, we will look at her background of fighting for an equal opportunity, for herself and her community, her courageous actions when her basic human rights were violated, her impassioned battle with the courts to fight for her rights, and the rights of her community, and her lasting impact on Canada as a Civil Rights pioneer.

Viola Desmond’s dream, of owning a Black beauty salon, was not easily attained in the 1940’s. Not only was it difficult for Black people to open a business, but very few beauty schools would admit Black students. In fact, Desmond had to travel all the way to Montreal get accepted into beauty school (Annett). She then went on to open her own salon that provided services for Black women; however, she didn’t stop there. Desmond expanded her business over the years, and also created a beauty school that Black women could study in, so they would not have the difficulty of finding a school like she did (CBC News). Desmond’s sister said that this was due to her passion for people; “she inspired them and she inspires us (CBC News).”

Even though Desmond did a lot to help her community before 1946, it wasn’t until November 1946, that Desmond managed to “raise awareness about the reality of Canadian segregation (Black History Canada).” The incident that sparked this awareness began when Desmond had traveled to New Glasgow, looking to expand her business, when she encountered car trouble. Looking to for something to do while waiting for her car to be fixed, Desmond decided on watching a movie, not knowing that this theatre segregated its clients. When Ms. Desmond asked the ticket booth for a seat in the first few rows, due to her nearsightedness, the ticket-seller refused to sell her a ticket for the main floor; she could only get the balcony, even though she was capable of buying the more expensive floor tickets. Angry that she would be denied access to a seat, simply because of the colour of her skin, Desmond walked into the main floor and sat in a chair. This then resulted in the manager telling her to leave because she did not pay for a floor seat, to which Desmond responded she would be willing to pay for the extra cost. The manager refused to sell her a floor seat ticket, due to the fact that she was Black, and called the police, who brutally dragged her out of the theatre, injuring her hip and knee (Heritage Minutes). Desmond was then put into a police cell for the entire night, where she “maintained her composure, sitting bolt upright in her cell all night long, awaiting her trial the following morning (Heritage Minutes).”

Desmond was then charged with tax evasion and given a fine of twenty-six dollars, due to the fact that main floor seats were one penny more than balcony seats. Ironically, even though her “real ‘offence’ was to violate the Roseland Theatre’s implicit segregated seating rule (Heritage Minutes),” race was never mentioned. After paying the fine, Desmond tried twice, unsuccessfully to get the decision appealed at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court (Heritage Minutes). In fact, Desmond went to her grave, in 1965, “without any acknowledgment of racial discrimination in her case (Annett).” This “miscarriage of justice (Heritage Minutes)” was only acknowledged in 2010, in a posthumous pardon presented by Nova Scotia’s Lieutenant-Governor Mayann Francis (Heritage Minutes).

This, then, brings us to Desmond’s memory in current times and her impact on Canadian society. Ms. Desmond is often called the Rosa Parks of Canada, even though Desmond’s standoff occurred nine years before Parks. This is conveniently glossed over in Canadian history, due to the Country’s pattern of “whitewashing history (CBC News).” Be that as it may, Desmond was key in setting a precedent of fighting for civil rights in Canada. Even though the appeals of the trial were not won, “her story and her vigilant activism through the Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People were important factors in the eventual abolition of the province’s segregation laws in 1954 (CBC News).” Desmond’s legacy of civil rights advocacy has not gone unnoticed recently. In 2018, she will be the first Canadian female, as well as Black figure, to be featured on the Canadian ten dollar bill. She is also the first Black female to get a Canadian Heritage Minute (Annett).

Therefore, Desmond was one of the first key figures to fight for the Black community’s civil rights. She may not have been successful with her appeals of the trial; however, she managed to bring to light the implicit pattern of racism in Canada. According to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, “Viola Desmond’s own story reminds all of us that big change can start with moment of dignity and bravery (Annett).”



Annett, E. (2016, Dec. 09). Who’s the woman on Canada’s new $10 bill? A Viola Desmond primer. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/women-on-banknotes-viola-desmond/article33264617/

Black History Canada. Viola Desmond. Historica Canada. Retrieved from http://www.blackhistorycanada.ca/profiles.php?themeid=20&id=13

CBC News. (2016, Dec. 08). How civil rights icon Viola Desmond helped change course of Canadian history. CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/viola-desmond-bio-1.3886923

Heritage Minutes. (2016). The story of Viola Desmond, an entrepreneur who challenged segregation in Nova Scotia in the 1940s. Historica Canada. Retrieved from https://www.historicacanada.ca/content/heritage-minutes/viola-desmond

Picture: https://heritageday.novascotia.ca/content/2015-honouree


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