As part of the City of Mississauga’s ongoing commitment to address anti-Black racism and to create a more inclusive, equitable and accessible city, the first Black Community Engagement (BCE) report was received by Council on April 20, 2022. The Report, entitled “First Steps: A Community Driven Report on Making Mississauga More Equitable for Black Communities,” is based on the recommendations made by Black community members during community consultations hosted by the Mayor and the Black Caucus between May and June 2021. Post consultation, these recommendations were refined and presented in a report by an independent consultant.
“First Steps” Black Community Engagement Report
“First Steps” is a report that will help inform how the City of Mississauga can work to ensure its services, programs and policies are adapted through an equity lens. It further provides suggestions on ways the City can further engage Black residents to actively participate in local decision-making processes.
The Report is based on feedback, ideas and lived experiences of hundreds of community members who took part in the Black Community Engagement sessions. The process was guided with input from the Black Caucus advisory group. The final report has consolidated the input received into 58 recommendations that have been categorized into various themes, including: political engagement and inclusion, health and well-being, economic empowerment and the criminal justice system.
“First Steps” is part of the larger commitment that the City of Mississauga made when Council passed Resolution 207 in June 2020 to address anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, which have been identified as historic, pervasive, institutional and systemic issues in Mississauga.
Now that the report has been received by Council, the Black Caucus will work to form an independent organization that will help oversee the delivery of the recommendations, working closely with the Mayor’s Office, Councillors and the Corporation to create policies, structures, and initiatives to diminish the systemic barriers to the communal success of Black communities.
Black Community Engagement
More than 900 community members, subject matter experts, locally elected officials and City staff took part in the Black Community Engagement sessions between May and June 2021. There were six community consultations and a further four co-design sessions that refined recommendations to the City.
The overarching goal of the consultations was to develop mutual understanding, trust, and partnership between the City and Black community members.
Importantly, the engagement sessions were also an opportunity for Black community members to speak candidly about their lived experiences and challenges, and to identify opportunities on how the City of Mississauga could make improvements to programs and services to make them more responsive to the needs of the community.
About session #1
Accessing Political Power in Canada specifically aimed to empower Black communities by inviting them to learn more about Canada’s political structures and how to best utilize those structures to enrich their lives in Mississauga. To do so, the session first acknowledged the historical challenges Black communities have had accessing political spaces. Then, the session hosted a presentation given by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who discussed the powers of each level of government and explained what each level of government oversees and how best to access them.
SME presentations included Mississauga’s Mayor Bonnie Crombie, Peel Regional Chair, Nando Iannicca, MPP Michael Coteau and MP Greg Fergus who all discussed the powers and limitations of each level of government.
About session #2
Accessing Mississauga’s Resources specifically aimed to empower Black communities by both inviting them to learn more about how to access the resources of the City of Mississauga as well as provide feedback to the City on how it might deliver those services to better serve Black communities and their needs. Furthermore, this session explored ways to better promote Black culture and history. The session first acknowledged the historical challenges Black communities have had accessing resources in the City of Mississauga. Then, the session hosted a presentation given by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who discussed the vast number of resources the City of Mississauga’s offers.
About session #3
There has been a rise of police and community tensions, especially in the past few years. Such tensions have made it clear that there is growing mistrust and anxiety within the community when it comes to policing. Yet, every community needs effective policing for safety and crisis response. How do we get there?
The session on Policing specifically aimed to empower Black communities by inviting them to share ideas and pathways for better relations and effective strategies to improve safety, well-being and positive policing in Mississauga and across Peel. To do so, the session first acknowledged the historical challenges between Black communities and Peel Regional Police (PRP). Participants looked at City Corporate Security and the challenges and opportunities that communities face when accessing City facilities. Then, the session hosted presentations given by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who discussed policing and its impact on Black Communities in Mississauga and across Peel.
The SMEs included community advocates along with presentations from Justice Michael Tulloch, the Peel Police Service Board Chair, Ahmad Attia and Peel Regional Police Deputy Chief, Marc Andrews, who outlined the current challenges and opportunities for Black communities and the police to foster better relationships.
About session #4
Wellbeing: Designing Healthy Black Communities specifically aimed to empower Black communities by informing the City of Mississauga what they need to achieve greater health and wellbeing. To do so, the session first acknowledged the historical challenges of Black communities accessing great health care in the City of Mississauga. Then, the session hosted a presentation given by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who explored programs, services and access to public health, mental health, and housing. Participants engaged the community by receiving feedback on solutions that would support the wellbeing and health of Black communities and the ways that the City can assist in the process.
About session #5
Accessing an Age Friendly Society explored ways to create an accessible City through programs for children, youth and older adults (seniors). The session specifically aimed to empower Black communities by inviting them to discuss Mississauga’s and Peel Region’s services and programs around children, youth, and older adults, including accessibility services. During the session, participants heard from community members on where the gaps in the system exist and what further could be done to create a more inclusive and accessible City and Region for residents. The session hosted presentations given by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who discussed cradle-to-retirement services and programs.
About session #6
Black Economic Empowerment specifically aimed to empower Black communities by inviting them to share their insights on the resources required in building successful Black businesses, entrepreneurs, employment opportunities and wealth. To do so, the session first acknowledged the historical challenges that Black communities have had in building and accessing economic development resources within the City of Mississauga and across Peel Region. The session then hosted presentations given by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who discussed strategies on how to nurture Black economic empowerment in Mississauga.