Ratna Omidvar: “The people who sit in boardrooms and hold corporate power look like Old Canada; they don’t look like New Canada.”

Ratna Omidvar on growth through diversity: ‘The people who … hold corporate power look like Old Canada’


Contributed to The Globe and Mail


Last updated 

In a six-week series of interviews, Canadians with a variety of experiences discuss the major challenges our country is facing and how best to address them. This instalment deals with increasing the innovativeness of our economy.

Ratna Omidvar, executive director of the Global Diversity Exchange at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, was interviewed on Oct. 16 by Elizabeth Pinnington, a consultant with Reos Partners.

TORONTO: Racism is cause of so many black children in foster and group homes, claim advocates

Why are so many black children in foster and group homes?

A disproportionate number of Toronto-area children in foster and group-home care are black. Advocates are blaming poverty, cultural misunderstanding and racism.

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Paul Chapman, who was 9 when he was removed from his family home, says many black youth "struggle" while in care. "They kind of lose themselves," he says.
JIM RANKIN / TORONTO STAR Order this photo

Paul Chapman, who was 9 when he was removed from his family home, says many black youth “struggle” while in care. “They kind of lose themselves,” he says.

By:  News, Insight , Social justice reporter ,Published on Thu Dec 11 2014

In the Toronto area, black children are being taken from their families and placed into foster and group-home care at much higher rates than white children.

Numbers obtained by the Star indicate that 41 per cent of the children and youth in the care of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto are black. Yet only 8.2 per cent of Toronto’s population under the age of 18 is black.

TORONTO: Jamie Forbes arrested in sex trade case

CBC News Posted: Dec 01, 2014 3:25 PM ET Last Updated: Dec 01, 2014 3:25 PM ET

Police have laid 20 charges against a man they allege forced two teenage girls into the sex trade industry.

Toronto police say two 15-year-old girls were assaulted and taken to a Toronto hotel where they were forced to work in the sex trade over two days and forfeit all of their money to the male suspect.

Investigators from the Sex Crimes — Human Trafficking Enforcement Team began their investigation last Friday. On the same day, they arrested 32-year-old Jamie Forbes, of Toronto.

He faces several charges, including two counts of trafficking in persons by recruiting, two counts of forcible confinement and two counts of assault.

Police say there may be more victims.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-7474 or via Crime Stoppers.

OTTAWA: Woman angry that bus driver refused to let her and her stroller on crowded bus

Mother filed complaint with OC Transpo last week, hasn’t received a response

CBC News Posted: Nov 26, 2014 5:00 PM ET Last Updated: Nov 26, 2014 5:58 PM ET

An Ottawa woman says she’s still waiting for a response from OC Transpo and doesn’t plan on riding buses with her baby on cold days in the future after a bus driver asked her to get off a bus with her stroller and two-month-old baby.

Robin Noel baby OC Transpo complaint asked to get off stroller Nov 26 2014Noel says she filed a complaint with OC Transpo that night and hasn’t yet heard back. (CBC)

“I was extremely frustrated, to say the least,” said Robin Noel, nearly a week after the Thursday, Nov. 20 incident during the afternoon rush hour.

She was waiting for a No. 2 bus on Somerset Street West and had timed it so she’d be waiting outside for only five minutes.

But the first bus was full and didn’t stop and the second, smaller bus was 20 minutes late. She said she watched six to eight people get off, but that the driver wouldn’t let her on.

“As I was starting to get on the bus, the driver looks at me and says, ‘I can’t fit a stroller, you have to get off,’” Noel recalled.

OTTAWA: University of Ottawa professor Joanne St. Lewis awarded $350,000 in damages in racial slur case

Racism in Canada finds fertile ground online

Joanne St. Lewis case is just one that shows how internet easily spreads racist message

By Terry Reith, Briar Stewart, CBC News Posted: Nov 12, 2014 4:50 PM MT Last Updated: Nov 12, 2014 6:04 PM MT

When Joanne St. Lewis wrote a critical evaluation of a student racism project, she could not have known the grief it would cause. And certainly not the years it would take to finally erase the racial slur that accompanied her name in every online search.

It began six years ago, and continues today in spite of an Ontario Superior Court decision in June. The decision found an Ottawa blogger had defamed St. Lewis by attaching a racial epithet meaning to “sell out,” stemming from the black slave experience, to her name.

St. Lewis, a University of Ottawa law professor, has taken steps most would find daunting. Going to court, winning a decision and now fighting an appeal.

TORONTO: Councillor Ceta Ramkhalawansingh says “It’s not a big deal, sh*t happens” after flubbing names and ranks of our two soldiers killed by terrorists

Councillor flub soldiers’ names: ‘S— happens’



TORONTO - Lest we forget.

Councillor Ceta Ramkhalawansingh failed to remember the ranks of the two Canadian soldiers killed just a few weeks ago in two separate terrorist attacks during her speech at the city’s Remembrance Day ceremony.

Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was killed last month in Quebec just two days before Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot and killed in a separate attack while guarding the National War Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

“This year is of course particularly sad as we honour the memory of Mr. Cirillo and Mr. Vincent — I forget his name. I’m sorry, I’m a little nervous,” she told the hundreds gathered around the Cenotaph at Queen and Bay Sts.

“Those are very sad reminders of what we must continue to fight for.”

After the ceremony, Ramkhalawansingh said she couldn’t remember the soldiers’ ranks.

“It is not a big deal,” she insisted.

Asked what she would say to people who may be offended by the omission, Ramkhalawansingh said she doesn’t know “anybody that would be upset by that.

“When you get asked to stand in at the last minute — trying to prepare with remarks because I had to rewrite some of it — s— happens,” she said.