Anti-racism, JEDI and decolonization

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Photo Credit: Arthur Edelmans | Unsplash

Our vision on anti-racism, JEDI and decolonization is…

To become a more just, inclusive and equitable organization, unbound by the oppressive systems of racism, white supremacy, patriarchy and the legacy of colonialism that have fueled global poverty and inequality

Oxfam Canada’s overarching commitment statement

Oxfam Canada is a feminist organization with a vision for a just and sustainable world, and a mission to fight inequality and patriarchy to end poverty and injustice. We have a deeply held conviction that ending poverty and injustice begins with advancing the rights of women, girls and gender non-conforming people -in all their diversity. We strive to act in alignment with values of accountability, courage, empowerment, equality, inclusion and solidarity. We cannot achieve our mission and vision or live up to our values without understanding and challenging intersecting systems of oppression such racism, colonialism, sexism, cissexism, heterosexism, classism, ageism, ableism, xenophobia and other forms of injustice and discrimination, both in society at large, and within our organization.

We need to recognize and undo the longstanding power imbalances in a sector that has failed to shift power, redress inequalities and get resources directly to the local actors who are at the frontlines of the fight for social justice and human rights, particularly to women’s rights organizations. We must substantially change and evolve past a system of white feminism that is entrenched in racism, colonialism, patriarchy, paternalism and white supremacy. We must look at our own organization’s history and the systems that have resulted in discrimination, inequalities and harm to our staff and the communities with which we work.

We need to start by stating unequivocally that Oxfam Canada stands against patriarchy, paternalism, racism, colonial practices, white supremacy, white feminism, violence, and hate. We stand for intersectional feminism, justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) and decolonization in our culture, structure, policies, systems, programs, advocacy, campaigning and outreach work.

Oxfam Canada also acknowledges the historical and ongoing oppression and colonization of all Indigenous Peoples, cultures and lands on what we now know as Canada. As settlers on these lands, we have a responsibility to work with, and to support First Nations, Inuit and Métis and to advance reconciliation efforts.

Oxfam Canada’s overarching commitments

We are committed to “grow as a feminist, anti-racist and inclusive organization”, as a key priority in our Oxfam Canada Strategic Framework 2021-25.

We commit to identify, understand, and challenge inequity and oppression in our work and dismantle biases, systems and ways of working that uphold racism and oppression in our organization, including in the way we recruit, onboard, promote, and help our staff advance.

We commit to solidarity with Indigenous Peoples and communities -particularly First Nations, Inuit and Métis- in their struggles for self-determination and justice.

We commit to change our business model and the ways in which we partner, design programs, disburse funds, communicate and fundraise in order to shift decision-making power and resources towards people and communities we work with and for. We also commit to working to influence power shifts within the Oxfam confederation and the broader international development and humanitarian ecosystem to ensure that those experiencing poverty, discrimination and injustice have the resources and the power to drive change for good, in alignment with the ‘Pledge for Change’.

To advance our commitment to anti-racism, JEDI and decolonization, we will focus on six goals:


Goal A – An inclusive and accountable leadership

Internal focus

Goal B – A diverse Staff and Board

Goal C – An organizational culture of inclusion and belonging

External focus

Goal D – Diverse and equitable partnerships in Canada

Goal E – Substantive progress towards localization and decolonization

Goal F – Community-Centric Fundraising and Communications Model

Milestones In Our recent Journey

Spring 2021

  • OCA’s 2021-2025 strategic framework commits us to grow as a feminist, anti-racist and inclusive organization
  • We developed our first Plan of Action on Anti-Racism in early 2021
  • We signed on to the Cooperation Canada sector-wide anti-racism framework
  • We continued to resource and support staff-led committees on anti-racism and JEDI; Indigenous Rights and Justice; Feminist Principles; Organizational culture, among others

Summer, fall and winter 2021-2022

  • We hired external consultants to uncover trends of racism and discrimination in the context of our work, and identify the systemic barriers to creating a culture of JEDI at OCA
  • The consultants facilitated listening sessions and focus group sessions with current and former staff
  • New Board Composition and Nomination Policy adopted, with diversity targets (now fulfilled).
  • OCA approved a Plan of Action in Support of Indigenous Rights

Spring 2022

  • The Deputy Executive Director position was created with mandate to lead OCA’s overall work on anti-racism and JEDI
  • The consultant’s final report (April-JEDI report) was finalized and shared with OCA staff and former staff who participated
  • Various debriefing and drop-in sessions held for staff to share their views on the report

Summer and Fall 2022

  • Design and launch of the first OCA demographic profile survey (snapshot July 2022)
  • Departmental and all-staff decolonization reflection sessions
  • Monthly anti-racism and JEDI drop-ins with staff
  • Developing an anti-racism and JEDI report 2021-2022
  • New onboarding process with clear anti-racism and JEDI priorities.
  • Creation of Decolonization working group
  • Measurement of our work against the Center for Global Inclusion’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks

Winter and Spring 2022-2023

  • Production of our first Accessibility Survey in January 2023.
  • Approval of our new anti-racism and JEDI policy
  • Creation of a Board committee on governance, anti-racism, JEDI, and reconciliation
  • Launch of our anti-racism and anti-oppression principles
  • Drafting Oxfam Canada’s 2023-2025 Anti-Racism, JEDI and decolonization Strategy and Action Plan.

Oxfam Canada’s anti-racism and anti-oppression (ARAO) principles

  1. We denounce white supremacy and racism in all their forms -particularly anti-black racism and anti-Indigenous racism, and challenge the structures that institutionalize white power and privilege.
  2. We recognize and seek to overcome our conscious and unconscious biases and prejudices.
  3. We take a holistic approach and embrace the discomfort and messiness of trying to understand and challenge intersecting systems of oppression.
  4. We actively seek to decolonize our ways of working, redistribute power and contribute to reconciliation in Canada.
  5. We prioritize listening and learning from, and elevating the voice of, those most affected by systems of oppression.
  6. We appreciate, respect and celebrate our diversity.
  7. We are humble and recognize that we are flawed and fallible and take responsibility for our mistakes.
  8. We base our work on anti-racism and anti-oppression on the best available evidence from diverse sources.
  9. We encourage and champion open discussion, feedback, constructive criticism, reflection, and ongoing assessments to advance a long-term structural and cultural transformation of our organization.
  10. We are a courageous and visible ally for those fighting oppression, particularly Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Non-binary (2SLGTBQ+) activists and organizations.

Anti-racism and Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (JEDI) Policy

Oxfam Canada’s vision is that of a just and sustainable world, and our mission is to fight inequality and patriarchy to end poverty and injustice. We are a feminist organization with a deeply held conviction that ending poverty begins with women’s rights.

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Oxfam Canada’s Commitment to Anti-Racism and Equity

  • Advocacy in Canada

Oxfam Canada has strengthened our commitments to advance anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion.

Moving Forward Our Commitment to Becoming an Actively Anti-Racist Organization

  • Advocacy in Canada

Over the past year, Oxfam has undertaken the following actions in support of becoming a more actively anti-racist organization.

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Oxfam Canada Land Acknowledgement

  • Advocacy in Canada

Oxfam Land Acknowledgement Oxfam Canada acknowledges the historical and ongoing oppression and colonization of all Indigenous Peoples, cultures and lands in the place we now know as Canada. Photo: Chris…

A medium-light skintoned woman with long dark hair and wearing a jean jacket, a shirt and a ribbon skirt stands on an outdoor stage in front of a microphone with Parliament Hill visible behind her. On the stage in front of her is greenery and orange flowers and behind her several medium-light skintoned people in medical masks and wearing orange hold flags from several Indigenous nations.

Solidarity in the Fight Against Anti-Black Racism

Black Lives Matter We believe in a just world without poverty. We can’t fight inequality, or end poverty, if we don’t challenge racism. As a feminist organization, we are clear…

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