ONRC Systemic Racism Pilot Project 2021

January 15, 2021

Society of Saint Vincent de Paul
Ontario Regional Council
Diversity & Inclusion Pilot Project
February, 2021.

In response to the current discussions at our National Council level regarding systemic racism in Canada, the ONRC formed a Systemic Racism Working Group (SRWG) to discuss this issue and how it affects BIPOC persons (Black, Indigenous & People of Colour), especially those living in poverty.

There are three reasons we believe SSVP should be taking action on this issue.

  • The existing added barriers and challenges faced by our neighbours in need who are members of a BIPOC group. These barriers can include education, housing, criminal justice and food insecurity.
  • Catholic social teachings obligate us to take action, as they may relate to the principles of the dignity of every human being, the common good and the preferential option of the poor.
  • Social justice calls on us to advocate with and on behalf of BIPOC persons for systemic changes in the structural barriers that keep them living in poverty and having to face discrimination.

We would propose approval of the below outlined Pilot Project with a proposed start date of February, 2021. It is anticipated this pilot will act as the base for a similar action at the National Council level later this year.

ONRC Systemic Racism Pilot Project 2021

  • To re-educate SSVP members on systemic racism and the need for diversity and inclusion in SSVP.
  • To provide resources on how systemic racism affects BIPOC persons with an emphasis on those living in poverty.
  • To encourage acknowledgment, dialogue and collaboration with BIPOC groups.
SRWG Team:
The SRWG has been meeting monthly and consists of the following members:
Bernadette Ling, Hamilton Linda Dollard, ONRC
Gwen Waeijen, All Saints, Strathroy Marichu Marra, St. Mathews, Oakville
Jim Paddon, ONRC Omar Ellis, St. Leonard’s, Brampton
Kathleen Hauwert, St. John’s, Burlington Sonali Coelho Peterson, St. Mathews, Oakville
Lillian Mulder, ONRC, London Valerie Alexander, St. Mary’s, Tillsonburg
Guido Kelly, Hamilton  

Action Plan:


  1. The SRWG will continue as a group to oversee the pilot project, reporting to the ONRC executive.
  2. Pilot to launch in February, 2021.
  3. February Vincentimes edition to focus on the pilot.
  4. Survey to all Presidents to assess interest in pilot and to gather comments.
  5. Doodle video to be distributed to presidents and placed on website.
  6. Website and Facebook to publish important dates related to BIPOC persons with resource material.
  7. ONRC Zoom call for all members in April. This would raise awareness of systemic racism.
  8. Conferences to be encouraged to reach out to BIPOC parishioners with an invitation to join SSVP.
  9. Contact nearby First Nations and invite a speaker to attend a council/conference meeting to discuss Indigenous culture, history, faith traditions.
  10. Use the home visit or other engagement opportunities with BIPOC persons and listen to their stories and how we may advocate for needed systemic changes that affect them.

The SRWG to gather resource information:
  1. Other organizations which we may collaborate with on these actions.
  2. School curriculums
  3. Website and Facebook resource materials.