Editorial Archive

Office of the Chief Executive

Commission seal 6/30/21 6:00 PM

Canada Day – A time for reflection

Two years ago, my family and I became Canadian Citizens and it was a very proud moment for us. This is a great country and Toronto is an incredible and welcoming city. But as has become especially clear in the past few months, Canada also has its challenges. This Canada Day, I plan on taking the time to reflect on systemic injustices that continue, and also what we can do to bring about positive change.

As many of you will already know, last year we committed to making the TTC a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization – for both our employees and customers.

When we began, we knew that there was a lot of work to be done, and our efforts would not be without challenges. Last week, we learned of the discovery of the 751 unmarked graves near a residential school in Saskatchewan. This news is heartbreaking, especially as we continue to mourn the loss of the 215 children whose bodies were discovered in Kamloops just over a month ago. This is cause for thought – especially on how far we have to go to mend relationships with Canada’s Indigenous Peoples.

This past month, we recognized both National Indigenous History Month and Pride with customer and employee campaigns. These campaigns are important as they celebrate the rich culture and achievements of these communities, while also raising awareness and supporting our vision for a more inclusive community.

Video: Land Acknowledgement – June 2021

I hope you were able to see some of the campaigns. I know I was pleased to participate and learn. In particular, I wanted to share one of the videos we completed for National Indigenous History Month where members of the Executive Team read and reflect on the land acknowledgement for Toronto. Land acknowledgements are embedded in respect for Indigenous Peoples, cultures, treaties and lands. I am attaching a link to the video (see above) and I encourage you to use this video or to read the land acknowledgement at the start of your meetings – it’s one small way that the TTC can begin to recognize the original peoples of the land we now live and travel on.

In addition to last month’s campaigns, the TTC is establishing partnerships with Indigenous community organizations and leaders, hiring an Indigenous consultant to address anti-Indigenous racism and racial profiling, and prioritizing race-based data collection to identify barriers affecting Indigenous staff and customers.

While this has been a year full of immense challenges, you, the incredible TTC employees, have risen to those challenges. As CEO, I am incredibly proud of this great organization and all the people who work here. It has been a hard 16 months, but I am looking forward to putting this pandemic behind us and returning to normal in the months ahead.

As always, thank you for all you do every day and your continued support of this great city.

Enjoy your summer and stay safe!

Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
June 30, 2021

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