National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

As you may be aware, today marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. In June, the Federal Government passed legislation to recognize September 30th as a statutory holiday, making it a paid day off for federal employees and staff in federally regulated workplaces.

From the 1880s through the 1990s, the Canadian government forcibly removed at least 150,000 Indigenous children from their homes and sent them to residential schools designed to sever them from their culture and assimilate them into Western ways — a system that a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2008 called “cultural genocide”. At the schools, 70% of which were run by the Catholic Church, sexual, physical, and emotional abuse and violence were commonplace.

Since that time there have been multiple discoveries of unmarked graves containing the remains of Indigenous children at the sites of defunct Canadian Indian residential schools in several provinces. The National Truth and Reconciliation Commission has estimated that approximately 4,100 children went missing from the schools, but a former Indigenous judge who headed the commission, Murray Sinclair, declared in an email, that he now believes the number to be “well over 10,000”.

These discoveries are a grim reminder of centuries of discrimination, abuse, and injustice that Indigenous people have faced and continue to face today.

Let us honour the Indigenous community by taking the time to learn, reflect and acknowledge the intergenerational harm that these residential schools have caused to them and stand in solidarity with the survivors and their families. The goals of this day in part will be to educate the Canadian public about the suffering of survivors. If this educational goal is met with success, it will alter the ways in which Canadians think about their culture and history, challenging their identity as members of a community. Such transformation, many believe, is the first step toward reconciliation between the two communities.

For those of you who would like to learn more about the efforts towards Truth and Reconciliation you can find the Calls to Action that resulted from the profoundly important work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission attached HERE.

In Solidarity,

Your Component Diversity Committee

Your New Component Diversity Committee

After numerous discussions and experiences of racist events unfolding in our workplace, here in Canada and around the world, we would like to introduce you to the Air Canada Component Diversity Committee.

What is Diversity? In simple words, it is understanding that we are all unique individuals with individual differences. We can reap the benefits and unleash the power of Diversity only once we recognize our differences and respect and value one another, irrelevant of our backgrounds.

The Diversity committee will aim to illuminate the challenges and opportunities that arise when individuals from different backgrounds come together in the workplace. We will also highlight the experiences of disenfranchised populations as well as our cultural strengths in order to promote empowerment.

Moreover, we will encourage the employer to develop comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategies, including but not limited to cultural awareness campaigns, employee and leadership Diversity & Inclusion training, accessibility to development opportunities etc.

The Diversity Committee will be committed to supporting and helping our members to flourish within their role and to see themselves represented in the workplace.

Air Canada’s People, Culture and Communications branch has launched their first Diversity and inclusion survey that is intended to guide them in their efforts to foster an inclusive environment where our members of diverse backgrounds can thrive. We are hopeful that the feedback to the survey will help the company to find ways to ensure that they include the voices of our members who might otherwise be marginalized.

They will be analyzing the results across a wide spectrum of demographics, such as race/ethnicity, gender, age, religion etc.

We believe that this is a positive step in the right direction and strongly encourage you to participate as they are looking to gather as much feedback as they can about the collective experience of those working within the company. Your responses will remain confidential.
The survey was sent to all employees via their Air Canada email. Please check your inbox for the survey.  You can complete and submit your survey by 11:59 PM EST, Tuesday, November 10, 2020.

Our newly formed committee looks forward to what we can collectively accomplish. We will create a mandate that can stimulate meaningful change and respect for all members and to create a culture within our ranks that is built on respect for one another.

Please feel free to reach out to the Committee Chairperson, Dionne Solomon at diversity@accomponent.ca. I am very pleased to take on this role and hope that this committee can influence meaningful change within our workplace and beyond.

“Diversity is a reality created by individuals and groups from a broad spectrum of demographic and philosophical differences. Diversity, broadly defined, describes a range of personal experiences, values, and world views that arise from differences in culture and circumstance. These differences include race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, language, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and geographic region, among others. It is extremely important to support and protect diversity because by valuing individuals and groups free from prejudice and by fostering a climate where equity and mutual respect are intrinsic, we will create a success-oriented cooperative, and caring community that draws intellectual strength and produces innovative solutions from the synergy of our people.”
North Carolina State’s Diversity Definition as adopted on Nov. 12, 1997, by the Administrative Council

In Solidarity,

Your Component Diversity Committee