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Monday,  April 15, 2024 8:55 AM 

Black History Month: ACTA launches diversity & inclusion courses, forms committee to end anti-Black racism

Black History Month: ACTA launches diversity & inclusion courses, forms committee to end anti-Black racism
Black History Month, which runs through February, is dedicated to celebrating the many achievements of Black Canadians who have contributed to Canada's history and culture. (Full_chok/Shutterstock)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

To mark Black History Month 2022, the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) has launched a series of initiatives that focus on the advancement of diversity and inclusion in the travel industry.

Firstly, as part of its commitment to education, ACTA has entered into an agreement with The Canadian Diversity Initiative, which offers diversity and inclusion training to companies, non-profits and government agencies across Canada and beyond.

As part of this new partnership, ACTA says will be offering savings of up to 30 per cent on diversity and inclusion courses to its members.

“We are pleased to launch this initiative in conjunction with Black History Month. We recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion at ACTA and in the travel industry and we believe making these courses available to our members is an important step forward,” said Wendy Paradis, president of ACTA, in a statement on Tuesday (Feb. 1). “Education is a key pillar within ACTA and the addition of these courses will help expand awareness and action within our industry.”

The announcement represents a sign of progress for ACTA, which came under fire last summer from advocates who argued that the association was not doing enough to address anti-Black racism in the travel industry, especially in the wake of George Floyd’s May 2020 murder and the Black Lives Matter movement that followed.

ACTA’s educational platform – specifically, its lack of anti-racism training for Canadian travel professionals – was one of several issues raised, PAX reported at the time.

ACTA took steps to address diversity, equity and inclusion last fall at its 2021 Canadian Travel Industry Summit, where attendees saw virtual presentations from Dahabo Ahmed-Omer, executive director of the BlackNorth Initiative and Tammy Webster, Indigenous education and equity consultant with Kitigan Zibi Algonquin First Nation.

“Since the Summit, ACTA’s focus has been to bring training on diversity and inclusion to the Canadian travel industry,” Paradis stated. “We believe this partnership [with The Canadian Diversity Initiative] is an important step to reaching that goal.”

The Canadian Diversity Initiative offers made-in-Canada diversity and inclusion training, including:

  • Unconscious Bias – in English, and French available in February 2022
  • Respect and Inclusion in the Workplace – in English, and French available in February 2022
  • LGBTQ2+ Diversity and Inclusion Training for Workplaces – in English
  • Canadian Indigenous Culture Training: The Truth & Reconciliation Edition – in English

The online courses are reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that content is accurate and the learning experience is user-friendly, engaging, and practical, ACTA says. 

To get started, click here

“It is time for anti-Black systemic racism to end”

ACTA has also announced that it has signed the BlackNorth Initiative Pledge.

The Pledge has been signed by many company CEOs and demonstrates a commitment to addressing the needs of its diverse employees and increasing equity for all, including, but not limited to, Black, Asian, and other racialized communities in Canada, Indigenous peoples, members of the LGBTQ2+ community, persons with disabilities, and women.

“It is time for anti-Black systemic racism to end,” reads the Pledge, which acknowledges the existence of anti-Black systemic racism and its impact on Canada’s 1,198,540 Black citizens (or 3.5 per cent of the population) and the need to create opportunities within our companies for Black people.

The Pledge, which can be viewed here, is assigned to ACTA and signed by President Wendy Paradis. 

ACTA forms diversity & inclusion committee

ACTA has also created a new ACTA Board of Directors Diversity and Inclusion Committee to ensure that ACTA is meeting its goals toward ending anti-Black systemic racism and creating opportunities for under-represented groups.

“Along with training, the ACTA Board Committee looks forward to collaborating with the BlackNorth Initiative, community groups and key stakeholders in the Canadian travel industry,” ACTA said.

The names of the individuals involved have not been released yet as ACTA is still in the process of forming its committee, the association told PAX in a statement on Tuesday. 

ACTA said it is currently reaching out to individuals and is open to hearing from interested parties as well.

Black History Month, which runs through February, is dedicated to celebrating the many achievements of Black Canadians who have contributed to Canada's history and culture.

The 2022 theme for Black History Month is “February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day,” which focuses on recognizing the daily contributions that Black Canadians make to Canada.

On Feb. 17, the Department of Canadian Heritage will host a virtual celebration on Facebook Live at 7:00 p.m. (ET) to highlight this year’s theme with feature performances, tributes, interviews and more. 

For more information, click here.

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