Toward greater inclusion and diversity

A comprehensive approach to address systemic racism and discrimination.

We are committed to creating a safe and healthy workplace where we respect and value all who work with us.

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Message from the Museum’s Board Chair and CEO

We are continuing to have many conversations within the Museum and within the community about our mission, mandate and actions. We acknowledge the courage of every individual who has taken a stand against discrimination. We apologize for the harm that has been caused to our current and former staff and the communities around us. We are committed to creating a safe and healthy workplace where staff are respected and are enabled to call out discrimination.

We will take this opportunity to earn the trust and respect of those who believe in our Museum’s work. We are devoting time to envisioning what we want our Museum to be. For this work to be meaningful, it must take time. For this work to be lasting, it must be thoughtful.

To guide us, we have identified key outcomes and strategies that bring us together with a common purpose of creating a safe, respectful and healthy workplace. This process of discussion and reflection has pushed all of us to hold each other accountable. We recognize that many of the standard approaches to addressing racism and addressing diversity and inclusion have not worked. We need to do things differently and we need to do it together.

We will continue to share our journey as it unfolds.

Pauline Rafferty
Chair, Board of Trustees

Isha Khan
President and CEO

Reports and responses

In September 2020, after much consultation with each other and the community around us, we developed an outcome-based framework that would ensure we are accountable for the changes we need to make in our workplace. We actively sought and encouraged staff feedback on this framework before sharing it publicly.

Creating an equitable museum: A framework to create a safe, respectful and healthy workplace (text only)

Creating an equitable museum: A framework to create a safe, respectful and healthy workplace (includes table)

On July 31, 2020, Laurelle Harris completed an external review to determine the extent to which systemic racism and oppression is affecting the Museum and its staff. Her final report contains 44 recommendations for change.

During the summer of 2020, it was revealed that from January 2015 (when the Museum began offering education programs) until mid‐2017, the Museum accommodated some school groups who requested adapted school programs that excluded – or even hid – LGBTQ2+ content. On June 19, 2020, the Museum apologized, noting that the practice was wrong and was contrary to what we stand for.

In July 2020, we established a Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Board of Trustees. Chaired by trustee Julie Jai, the purpose of the Committee is to assist the Board of Trustees and the President and CEO in ensuring that the mandate of the Museum to promote human rights and respect for all is fully reflected in its internal operations as well as in its programming.

About the systemic racism and discrimination review

The Museum engaged Laurelle Harris to review the extent to which systemic racism and oppression is affecting the organization and its staff, to make immediate findings on an interim basis, and to generate recommendations for remediation and further inquiry. The review was conducted from an anti‐racist, anti‐colonial, intersectional feminist, trauma‐informed perspective. 

Harris is a mediator, arbitrator and lawyer with specific expertise in Women’s Studies and Black Studies. An experienced litigator, she founded Harris Law Solutions to pursue other professional interests including mediation, arbitration, and consulting on issues of equity and inclusion. 

Harris is supported by a multi‐disciplinary team with diverse areas of expertise, including Barbara Bruce, an Indigenous consultant and Elder who is president of All My Relations Inc. Bruce is a citizen of the Métis Nation — Michif Otipemisiwak and Two‐Spirit. Her belief in Indigenous traditional teachings is reflected in all the work she takes on.

Harris is currently engaged in Phase Two of the review process. She will conduct further interviews to confirm, add to or modify her interim findings of systemic racism within the Museum, and will further explore whether sexism, heterosexism, homophobia and/or transphobia are systemic within the Museum.

This page was last updated November 4, 2020.

Our Mandate

Established by the Museums Act, we work to enhance understanding of human rights through reflection and dialogue.

Our History

From big idea to breaking ground to grand opening, discover the story behind building a global home for human rights.