June 19, 2020

Late Wednesday night I became aware of a blatant hate crime committed at our Finch West Station last week. Four vile, racist signs denouncing the Black Lives Matter movement were left scattered around the station.

I was outraged and saddened to learn what happened to our colleagues at Finch West Station. This is not something any of us should have to be subjected to anywhere, any time. I cannot begin to truly understand what it is like to be constantly subjected to systemic racism, but I can speak for myself and the TTC when I say we unequivocally condemn anti-Black racism or discrimination of any kind; and the TTC has an obligation to speak out and take aggressive actions to stop it.

I recognize that learning of this event is heartbreaking and I am sorry that it has taken me this much time to reach out. Going forward, I have asked that incidents such as this be brought to my attention immediately. However, be assured since this incident occurred, the TTC has been actively working with Toronto Police Service to identify and prosecute those responsible for this reprehensible and disgusting act. I have also personally spoken with Chief Saunders and he assured me this is a priority.

An attack like this is an attack on the entire TTC family of employees. To think that anyone would be afraid while doing their job is completely unacceptable to me and we need to shine a light on racism wherever and whenever it occurs, and do our part to put an end to it.

Around the world we are seeing people grieving, angry and rising up to speak out against anti-Black racism in all its forms. People are demanding real, meaningful and lasting change; as am I. Because Black Lives Matter.

As you know, I have engaged the services of Arleen Huggins, a renowned specialist in employment and human rights law, who recently completed a third-party review of systemic discrimination at the Peel district school board for the Ministry of Education. Reporting directly to me Arleen has begun advancing the progress we have made to combat anti-Black racism, ensure our initiatives are effectively addressing the unique challenges faced by our Black colleagues and promoting greater diversity and inclusion at the TTC.

As a reminder, Morneau Shepell has also opened up a Crisis Support Line for anyone in the community in need of emotional support in relation to the events playing out in Canada and around the world.

Please stay safe and reach out if you need anything.

Rick Leary

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