Acting Against Racism and Intolerance

A Message from ACOT’s Registrar

Over the past 12 days we have seen the world react to the killing of George Floyd. Widespread protests have occurred calling for changes to address the systemic racism and intolerance that contributed to Mr. Floyd’s death. We know that systemic racism and intolerance exists in Canada as well, from our colonial history that impacts us all to this day, to our mistreatment of many ethnic, visible and non-visible minority communities. The deaths of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Chantel Moore, Jake Sansom, Maurice Cardinal, Cindy Gladue and countless Indigenous women and girls show how insidious and current this is in our country.

Verna Yiu, CEO of Alberta Health Services (AHS) noted “for us to be mere bystanders during this moment of history would represent a failure of morality and leadership, as well as a lost opportunity”. (click for full message) ACOT will be seizing this moment in history to learn how to become an effective ally. This will require a look at ourselves as an organization and as individuals, to identify and address our own practices that may be rooted in a position of privilege. We will take inspiration from leaders such as The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) (click here for CAOT’s full message).

For my part, I have been learning about the harmful effects of colonialism, white privilege and white fragility. I am encouraging ACOT staff to do the same. We will prioritize seeking out and implementing meaningful short- and long-term measures that will make us a more inclusive and just organization. We invite you to join us in being part of this learning journey – look for an invitation to new opportunities later this year to safely explore peoples’ experiences and ideas for positive change.

A Message from ACOT’s Council

The Council of ACOT would like to acknowledge a need for increased vigilance in matters of systemic racism and discrimination. As a Regulatory College, we are members of Alberta’s trusted institutions and we acknowledge our responsibility to take steps to identify and change elements of ACOT’s systems that disproportionately benefit people of privilege. We know that racism will not end until addressing it becomes as much of a priority for Council as it is for the people who experience it personally in their everyday lives. 

We are learning that one of the expressions of systemic racism and discrimination is the lack of understanding many of us have of the manifestations of this inequality. ACOT will be reviewing the resources shared by CAOT, AHS and other organizations to inform new language, new policies and ways to govern. We commit to finding a way for people who experience racism and discrimination to guide our efforts, starting with a frank discussion at our next Council meeting. We will also support ACOT’s plan for change as an organization. We invite you to join us on this critical journey. 

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about today’s eNews. Email is the easiest way to contact us as we are working remotely: