Career Professionals Come Together in Opposition to Racism

Racism In Canada

Message from Executive Director

Dear friends,

Deep and disturbing injustices across North America have once again underscored our long and ongoing history of racism. Canada is not immune.

This highly charged political environment has put a spotlight on something that has always existed. Anti-Black racial profiling and inequalities are deeply rooted and ongoing – and is now making national headlines. Across Canada there has been a steady rise in anti-Muslim sentiment and an increase in Islamophobia. Anti-Aboriginal racism in Canada is also prevalent and has been rising with recent tensions. The pandemic has propelled entirely unacceptable anti-Asian rhetoric. Career Professionals of Canada denounces all such incidents of bigotry and discrimination.

It is my hope that we all rise up together to speak out against these types of injustices. Career Professionals of Canada has a history of — and a commitment to — promoting ethical practices within our profession. As a community of professionals, our culture is one of “engagement.” For change to happen, we must take up this banner together.

Racism has no place in career development. It is incumbent on us all to unambiguously and robustly denounce institutional and systemic bias that occurs in workplaces and in our communities.

Our labour market disadvantages ethnic and visible minorities. Overt and hidden racism is directed to communities of colour, new immigrants, Indigenous Peoples, people with disabilities, foreign workers, members of other visible minorities, and many other marginalized groups.

Our Standards and Ethics Statement reminds us that we must know, honour, and adhere to a personal and professional code of conduct. One of our key principles is that we must always respect human dignity and human rights. This means that we refrain from discriminating against anyone based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or any other grounds. If we are to practice ethically, it is our duty to learn about these standards that apply to all Career Development Professionals.

Everyone deserves a fair chance to succeed in living, learning, and working. However, the distribution of wealth and opportunities is unfair and privileges some of us over others. Economic and social barriers can prevent people from reaching their fullest potential.

Social justice is everyone’s responsibility. Even if we have not lived the experience of racism, discrimination, and bigotry, we must be allies. Workplace privilege can be invisible to those who have it. Yet it’s critical for us to acknowledge this privilege and learn how we can be better allies to those who need us most.

Our clients have the right to be treated fairly in workplaces, and our country has laws and programs to protect this right. We have a responsibility to know and understand our clients’ rights in the Canadian workplace. Employers also have a duty to accommodate their employees to prevent or reduce discrimination.

As a profession, we have work to do. Our leaders in workplaces, institutions, and other environments must evaluate and overhaul interventions, systems, and educational programs that create institutional barriers. We need to implement more diversity training within our own profession so that practitioners understand cultural nuances, recognize unconscious or implicit bias, and enable clients to overcome barriers that they will encounter.

Working together, our members are committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion in our profession, and also across the communities we serve. Let us unite and rise to our obligation. Observe, speak up, and participate actively so that we can do our part in eradicating racial injustices across Canada and beyond our borders.

Keep safe and stay well.

Your number one fan,

Sharon Graham is founder and executive director of Career Professionals of Canada. Committed to setting the standard for excellence in the career development profession, Sharon has authored top selling paperback publications and textbooks, and has established a range of certification, professional development, community development, mentoring and award programs. As executive director of CPC, she provides foresight and leadership within the career development sector and ensures that the mandate of this national organization is upheld with integrity.

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I learned a new acronym this week — BIPOC — Black, Indigenous, People of Colour. And I found this insightful article from CBC Prince Edward Island about what it means to be an ally:

Want to be an ally to black, Indigenous, and people of colour? Here’s what you need to know.