The early results of a survey conducted by the Timmins Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) show that over 75 per cent of respondents have witnessed racism and discrimination while living in Timmins.
The survey was conducted as part of the Timmins Diversity Awareness Project. It is one of 85 projects across Canada funded through the Anti-Racism Action Program.
The project, launched in March, will end in spring 2022. It also includes a public awareness campaign and a workplace-focused initiative aimed to create and promote more inclusive communities and workplaces.
The survey results will be presented in a report later this year, said Madison Mizzau, a TEDC community development consultant.
“With this project, we’re really trying to create a welcoming community, so that people do feel like they belong in Timmins and they are able to participate in community life,” she said.
Survey respondents included both racialized and non-racialized community members.
The survey showed that the incidences of racism and discrimination were based on ethnic or cultural background as well as skin colour or race, according to Mizzau.
"The results show it's happening in many places: on the streets, at stores and at work," she said. "The most negative impact people are feeling from this is it's impacting their sense of belonging in the community and their ability to participate in community life."
The public awareness campaign is currently in the process of development. The project advisory group is also finishing work on the workplace inclusion charter which is expected to be released in late summer.
The charter will be a declaration of commitment to diversity and inclusion within the workplace, recognizing that everyone deserves a safe and respectful work environment and that diversity contributes to strength and prosperity within businesses and organizations, Mizzau said.
“It’s going to be released throughout the community targeting businesses and organizations. It will be something they sign on, declaring they believe in these principles and in the vision of what the charter is embodying,” she said. “There’s a variety of commitments our project advisory group developed ranging from looking at policy, communication, recruitment. Just a variety of things."
Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com