Diversity, Inclusion + Anti-racism

Our Commitment to diversity, inclusion and anti-racism

The Ontario Science Centre is committed to advancing and supporting priorities that ensure diversity, inclusion, accessibility and anti-racism.

We acknowledge that racism, discrimination and systemic bias exists against Black, Indigenous, and other racialized communities in our society–and we know there is much work to be done. We are committed to examining and addressing systemic racism and bias within our organization, and also to playing a role in our community to raise awareness, to fight racism and work to help bring about real social change.

Our goal at the Ontario Science Centre has always been to create a space–physical and psychological–that is welcoming to our visitors, staff and partners. We recognize that it is not enough to have this only as a goal–we must take concrete actions to create positive and sustainable change for our entire community, both inside and outside of the Science Centre.

That is why we have committed to significantly advancing anti-racism through the following actions:

Develop an anti-racism framework

  • Create with input from our staff, our community and the Ontario Public Service—a framework that will identify specific actions with measurable goals.

Listen with intent, humility and openness to change

  • Learn from one another within the Science Centre and from existing relationships in our community as well as create new partnerships to ensure we reflect diversity of thought and cultures.
  • Create space for conversations within our organization and with our community about people’s experiences with the Centre and eliminate any barriers that exist to making our organization a welcoming place to visit.

Develop leaders

  • Actively apply a diversity, equity and inclusion lens to our recruitment and hiring practices, succession planning, mentorship, onboarding and learning and development programs.

Leverage our platform

  • Use our strong and trusted voice to fight systemic racism and discrimination to bring about real societal change.
  • Amplify voices, share our platform and prioritize contributions from Black, Indigenous and People of Colour as well as people from the LGBTQ2S+ community in programs, events and exhibits.

We will make our framework available publicly, measure what we do, and be accountable–and ensure that the Science Centre is a leader for change.

Paul Kortenaar, PhD
CEO, Ontario Science Centre

2022 Update

An internal working group was formed in the fall of 2020 and has worked closely together to gain a shared understanding of goals, listen to the voices of our colleagues and our communities, and develop an Anti-racism Framework for the Ontario Science Centre. The group was initially led by two senior managers, after which co-chairs were established that represented staff and management. The working group was comprised of racialized and white employees, and an early decision by this group was to primarily have an internal focus and work towards a goal of being an anti-racist science centre.

Employee responses to a survey identified areas where there were real and perceived barriers. In response, commitments for action, with timelines, were established and aligned to the three key objectives identified in the OPS (Ontario Public Service) Roadmap to Racial Equity and Anti-racism Policy:

  • Building Anti-racism Competency and Capacity
  • Diversifying Talent
  • Foster and Be Accountable for an Anti-racist and Inclusive Workplace. 

Over the past two years we have shared our progress and actions internally through staff bulletins and at all-staff meetings, senior management team meetings and at meetings of our Board of Trustees. We have also shared with peers in the Ontario Public Service (OPS) as well as within our science centre industry. 

Some of our internally-focused actions include: participation in the OPS Diverse Interview Panel and Advancing into Management programs; provision of Indigenous cultural competency training for all staff; inclusion of anti-racism commitments in all employee performance plans; and review of internal processes and policies, including onboarding, through an equity lens.

Some of our externally-focused actions include: partnership with the Canadian Race Relations Foundation to create an exhibition exploring biases, racism and discrimination; a Youth-for-Youth program offered to Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Park teens; hosting a Michael Garron Hospital vaccination clinic; partnership with the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto on the  STEM Education for Children and Youth from Marginalized Communities Report; and online resources for teachers to support equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM.

We recognize this is a journey with much work to be done. As our learning progresses, our actions will advance accordingly. And as practices and policies shift, so will we.