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Diversity & Equity

FIFSW’s commitment to diversity and equity extends to all areas of the Faculty and is aligned with the University of Toronto’s commitment to Diversity, Equity and Excellence.

The Faculty is in the process of developing a new equity and diversity strategy, which will be shared with our communities and on this page soon. In the meantime, below is an overview of our current initiatives and resources.

FIFSW Diversity and Equity Committee

FIFSW’s Diversity and Equity Committee contributes to faculty’s efforts to build equity structures and processes that are sustainable, ensure engagement with key stakeholders and support communication and accountability. This Committee serves to ensure that there are Faculty-wide initiatives and strategies for equity with formal accountability in the Office of the Dean. It acts in an advisory capacity and facilitates the exchange of information, ideas and issues between FIFSW’s varied communities.

Diversity & Equity in Social Work: Workshop for first year MSW students

All first year MSW students are required to take an interactive workshop that explores key issues and strategies to address diversity and equity in social work practice and education. Issues of diversity, power, equity & inclusion are core to social work practice and require capacities in terms of awareness, knowledge and skills applied in a range of practice settings. The “Diversity & Equity in Social Work: Engaging the Learning Edge Workshop” identifies core competencies in each of these areas and provides a foundational analysis of the impact of systemic and micro-level power relations.

Workshops and Special Events 

FIFSW and other offices within the University of Toronto regularly host workshops, discussions, gatherings and exhibitions to support life-long-learning, increase awareness, build competencies, and foster inclusion. Events are shared with FIFSW students via the FIFSW student e-digest, which is sent out to all students every Friday. Examples of past events include: “Adopting an Anti-Islamophobia Lens,” “Navigating Systems as a Black MSW,” and the “Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) Potluck.”

Equity Resources at the University of Toronto

The University of Toronto has several equity offices that engage in outreach and education across all campuses and provide guidance on specific issues as they arise.

They include:

  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities (AODA) Office
  • Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office
  • Sexual & Gender Diversity Office
  • Office of Indigenous Initiatives

For a full listing and description of these offices, please consult the Human Resources and Equity site.

U of T Anti-Black Racism Task Force

In 2020, the University of Toronto created the U of T Institutional Anti-Black Racism Task Force to capture the experiences of Black students, faculty, staff, librarians, and other community members, and help identify and address the barriers faced by Black community members in order to promote Black inclusion and excellence. The work of the task force builds on previous anti-Black racism reports and initiatives, identifies gaps and offers actionable recommendations to address Black racial inequities within the tri-campus community. U of T held a virtual entrustment ceremony on May 5, 2021 to hand over the Anti-Black Racism Task Force’s final report [PDF]. All 56 recommendations contained in the report were accepted by the university administration. 

U of T Antisemitism Working Group

The University of Toronto commissioned a Presidential, Provostial, and Vice-Presidential Working Group to review programming, activities, processes, and practices in place at the institution and make recommendations to support the University’s response to antisemitism. The Antisemitism Working Group was planned in early 2020 and began its work in December 2020 as part of the University of Toronto’s commitment to addressing forms of racism and discrimination faced by members of its community. The Working Group’s final report was completed in December 2021, and an entrustment Ceremony was held on February 14, during which the University reaffirmed its commitment to implement the recommendations outlined in the report in collaboration with community partners as well as students, staff, faculty, and librarians across U of T.

University of Toronto’s 34 Calls to Action

On January 15, 2016, the President and the Vice-President and Provost announced the creation of the Steering Committee for the University of Toronto Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, one month following the release of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. The primary work of the Committee was to “review and recommend priorities concerning the [TRC] of Canada’s Calls to Action that are applicable to the University of Toronto.”  This resource has been created as a useful quick reference for the U of T Calls to Action. The Calls to Action are derived from Answering the Call Wecheehetowin: Final Report of the Steering Committee for the University of Toronto Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. 

Public discourse

FIFSW faculty members are increasingly speaking out publicly on issues related to diversity and equity. Recent examples include (but are not limited to) Associate Professor Tanya Sharpe’s 30@8:30 series, presented by her research centre The CRIB on Instagram Live and Zoom, and Associate Professor Carmen Logie’s new podcast on Stigma. Faculty have also been using their voice to speak out in the media, in policy briefings and reports, in the House of Commons, and beyond on issues such as anti-Black racism, blood donor policies that discriminate against men who have sex with men, xenophobia’s role in shaping public perception of the pandemic, ageism, mental health support and homophobia. In the past FIFSW has released statements of solidarity in response to global events, which can be viewed here.

Resource List

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE): Center for Diversity

Each month, CSWE’s Center for Diversity publishes resources, available here, offering creative pedagogical approaches to diversity and justice education. The resources featured are developed by experts in the field and map to the CSWE Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards competencies in diversity and social justice. Educators can use the materials for developing assignments or a variety of teaching activities. Search member-curated educational resources here.

Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Services Workers (OCSWSSW)

OCSWSSW’s website lists diversity, equity and inclusion resources, including presentations from the College’s Educational Forums and practice notes.

Among the presentations is a talk by Prof. Keith Adamson on the impact of racism on people of colour and the steps social workers and social service workers can take steps to help remedy and promote healing within their own practice and the communities and clients they serve.

Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE-ACFTS)

CASWE-ACFTS’s website provides a list os Reconciliation – Settler Resources.