The Board of Directors of the Association of Ontario Health Centres (AOHC) is committed to embedding anti-oppression in all aspects of its governance policies, processes and practices. The Board seeks to:
- Increase access, participation, equity, inclusiveness and social justice by eliminating systemic barriers to full participation
- Promote positive relations and attitudinal change by creating a climate where discriminatory or oppressive behaviours are not tolerated;
- Foster an AOHC Board that is reflective of its membership and inclusive of racialized[i] and minoritized[ii] groups, consistent with the Ontario Human Rights Code definition.
The Board believes and understands that:
- Oppression is manifested in racism, sexism, homophobia, heterosexism, transphobia, ageism, ableism and other forms of social exclusion
- Oppression is pervasive, restricting, hierarchical and dominant.
Historically, the Board has struggled with implementing initiatives to address systemic patterns of racism, homophobia/heterosexism and ableism.
The three foci for AOHC are: racism, homophobia and heterosexism and ableism.
The Board understands that there are similarities, intersections and differences between these and other forms of oppression and the ways in which they manifest themselves. There is also recognition of the issues of power and privilege and how they inform organizational dynamics. The Board acknowledges the particular pervasiveness and impact of racism in society at large even after decades of legislation and initiatives.
Strategies will explicitly recognize, examine and address the similar, intersecting and distinct systemic manifestations of issues of racism, homophobia/heterosexism and ableism.
The Board recognizes Aboriginal and Francophone communities as having distinct and specific histories, needs, legal rights and constitutionally-protected rights.
Strategies will facilitate the organizational commitment and desire to collaborate with Aboriginal and Francophone communities in a manner that demonstrates principles of respect, inclusion, accountability and equity.
The Board recognizes that in addition to anti-oppression work being about access and inclusion for traditionally marginalized communities and stakeholders, it is critical that there are changes in the core organizational culture, institutional structures and personal attitudes of the Board to ensure optimum organizational effectiveness and accountability to the membership.
Strategies will be purposeful and proactive in facilitating a real shift in the organizational culture to ensure that issues of oppression will be addressed by the Board and clear mechanisms will be identified to actively engage and interact with the AOHC membership throughout the process.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission speaks to the term racialized and racialization accordingly: While biological notions of race have been discredited, the social construction of race remains a potent force in society. The process of social construction of race is termed “racialization.” The Report of the Commission on Systemic Racism in the Ontario Criminal Justice System defined “racialization” as the process by which societies construct races as real, different and unequal in ways that matter to economic, political and social life.”
When it is necessary to describe people collectively, the term “racialized person” or “racialized group” is preferred over "racial minority", “visible minority", "person of colour" or “non-White” as it expresses race as a social construct rather than as a description based on perceived biological traits.
The term minoritized acknowledges the fact that there are social, economic, cultural and political factors that serve to actively systemically disadvantage, oppress and marginalize, thus minoritize specific categories of people in relation to more privileged and or dominant groups, i.e. people of colour, Aboriginals, the disabled, women, GLBTTIQ, among others.