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Ontario Human Rights Commission hosts ‘Taking It Local’ session in London

Community leaders from London and the surrounding area gathered at the Convention Centre for an update on human rights from the OHRC. Travis Dolynny/AM980

The Ontario Human Rights Commission brought their agenda to the London Convention Centre Thursday as part of the organization’s Taking It Local series.

Hosted in partnership with the Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination and the City of London, community leaders gathered to listen and share their thoughts on a broad range of human rights issues.

READ MORE: Racial profiling harmful and pervasive in Ontario: report

“We heard a lot about racism in the education sector, on campus,” said Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane, who spoke at the event.

“Hopefully this training day will give a bit of … a way of understanding these experiences and these concerns through a kind of legal framework.”

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Racial profiling is a topic that is close to home as London’s police service continues the practice of street checks.

READ MORE: London Police Services Board approves symbolic anti-carding motion

Mandhane said the OHRC wants to see organizations collect data to understand where discrimination may be happening, uncover the source and create new policies.

“It’s really important to understand that these aren’t just one-off experiences. They actually create barriers to participation in society, and ultimately to public trust in big institutions,” she explained.

“Racialized people face profiling — that is excessive scrutiny based on the colour of their skin or their perceived religion or ancestry — in education, in malls, in public transit. So this is a pervasive experience for many people.”

READ MORE: Hamilton cop who stopped city councillor faces discreditable conduct hearing

The event also included remarks from Chief Roger Thomas of Munsee-Delaware Nation, Chief Leslee White-Eye of Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, London Mayor Matt Brown, and other senior members of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Attendees were encouraged to share information they learned at the session with their peers and throughout the community.

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