March 21 marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is informed by the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. This is a timely reminder to acknowledge the prevalence of racially motivated biases and violence in our society today.

In the Canadian context, this day can serve as an occasion to critically reflect on the current state of relations with Indigenous communities as well as the present-day realities facing Canada’s religious minorities and racialized people [1]. While we may be moving in the right direction, now is also the time to revitalize the complex but much-needed work of tackling racism at the home front. We can start by recognizing the systemic nature of such oppression and then work towards cultivating a world that is characterized by safety for all, inclusivity and fair access to opportunities.

The Role of HR in Creating Equitable Workplaces

Of course, workplaces are spaces where equity should prevail, and it is here that HR professionals can play a pivotal role. To truly champion the core principles of IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equality and accessibility), HR leaders need to be equipped with effective skills and tools that can sustainably move the needle on anti-racism. If you or your team is looking for the right learning opportunity to advance your abilities in creating equitable workplaces, here are a few upcoming professional development programs that address this in various ways.

Pay Equity Certificate

Clearly, ensuring pay equity is one way to make your organization more welcoming and inclusive. This certificate will give you familiarity with the Ontario Pay Equity Act and how it can be enforced, the mechanisms for achieving and maintaining pay equity and the possible consequences of non-compliance. Over the course of three modules, attendees will learn about employer’s obligations in Ontario along with a roadmap to assess your company’s level of compliance with relevant legislation. Importantly, you will gain a deeper understanding of the legal underpinnings of pay equity in the province, including how the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal and the Pay Equity Commission enforce the law.

Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program

In the era of social uprisings, activism and mobilization against racism and other forms of discrimination, the Canadian workforce is following suit and demanding that workplaces also reflect an anti-racist ethos. Increasingly, HR professionals are being called upon to examine, measure and enhance diversity and inclusion at work. This program, presented in partnership with Diversio, teaches HR professionals how to do exactly this in a comprehensive manner. It will also go over key performance indicators for D&I initiatives and ways to collect data and analyze primary metrics that speak to D&I, including how to formulate and execute D&I surveys.

Indigenous Inclusion Thought Leadership Series Webinar – Creating a Competency Framework for HR Professionals that Want to Learn more about Indigenous Issues

HR today demands greater rigor and competence, given the contemporary focus on diversity and on meeting a wide variety of employer and employee needs. This calls for broader competencies in HR that account for these new contours of how work is organized. Added to this, the developments in Indigenous relations, the moves towards truth and reconciliation and the initiatives promoting self-determination and self-government are also informing the world of work. This is especially applicable when we look at the need for talent management strategies that cater to Indigenous candidates and employees. Keeping this in mind, this webinar, hosted by Indigenous Works, provides HR professionals with the knowledge they need to respond to this particular gap.

Mental Health Certificate for HR Professionals

Last but certainly not least, experiences of racialization can impact an individual’s mental health. For employees facing racial discrimination in any aspect of their life, it is imperative to have tools in place to address their mental health needs as they manifest at work. This means that HR professionals need up-to-date frameworks for supporting mental health across their organizations and challenging stigma associated with this. Taking on what can be unchartered waters for HR leaders, this certificate offers tactics to skillfully navigate mental health in the workplace, especially in light of employers’ legal obligations and ethical considerations. From introducing mental health conversations at work to practicing active and mindful listening to ensuring organizational objectives focus on business goals as well as people practices, this program covers it all.

If you are interested in browsing through these and other professional development opportunities at HRPA, please visit our Calendar of Events. To learn more about the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, visit this UN website.


[1] Government of Canada – March 21 — International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination