On June 2, 2020 Skate Canada released a statement on anti-racism. This statement expressed our commitment to anti-racism and to leading by example within the sport community. Over the last months we have taken time to start educating ourselves and lay the foundation to listen to Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) voices and to be able to bring positive change to our sport.
We have a responsibility to take decisive action to acknowledge and address systemic racism and to create a safe and welcoming environment for all individuals to embrace the joy of skating. We know that we need to do more to accomplish that vision and are actively working to make Skate Canada as diverse and inclusive as possible.
To further improve equity, diversity and inclusion in our sport, Skate Canada is taking the following actions:
- Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Working Group: Skate Canada has created an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, comprised of members of the skating community and experts in EDI. The EDI working group follows a social justice model and engages in ongoing self-education, develops educational plans, creates and/or sources resource materials for our community, identifies areas for change, and develops strategies for diverse voices to be heard in skating. The EDI working group was enacted by the Skate Canada Board of Directors per its bylaws and makes its recommendations to the organization via the President, Board of Directors, and CEO.
The EDI working group has been meeting weekly since July. Members include: Elladj Baldé (Skate Canada Digital Host, President of the Figure Skating Diversity and Inclusion Alliance (FSDIA), and Skate Global Founder) Emma Bowie (Skate Canada staff – Director, Safe Sport and Strategic Communications), Patrick Chan (Three-time Olympic medallist and Skate Canada coach), Tina Chen (Distinguished professor, University of Manitoba and Skate Canada coach), Patty Klein (Skate Canada board member and official), Paul Poirier (Olympian and current National Team member), Eric Radford (Three-time Olympic medallist and Skate Canada board member), Khorana Séa-Alphonse (Skate Canada staff – NextGen Coordinator), Kaitlyn Weaver (Three-time world medallist and Olympian), and Dr. Shae Zukiwsky (Skate Canada staff – Senior Director, Performance Excellence).
- Education: Review and recommend educational training and resources for our community to establish and nurture an inclusive environment. The first priority is education on anti-racism, including education on Black and Indigenous inclusion in sport. The educational process has already begun with the board of directors and senior management and will be available to the greater community later this Fall.
- Community Outreach: Recognizing the need to have open conversations about race, to listen to BIPOC voices, and to engage our community, a Talking About Race in Skating Panel is being organized for later this Fall. The virtual panel will feature BIPOC voices in skating discussing why talking about race will make our skating community stronger. It will be available for all community members to watch. In addition, a series of open dialogue virtual chats will also be produced to inspire our members to engage in transformational self-education and dialogue.
- Policy & Terminology: A new equity, diversity and inclusion policy and strategy is being developed to help ensure that individuals of all races, genders, sexual orientations, and abilities feel welcome in Skate Canada programs and events. An active review of terminology in our sport is underway, with a focus on decolonizing of the terminology.
- Marketing & Communications: A campaign titled Talking About Race is being developed. This campaign will highlight BIPOC individuals in our community having conversations about race, with the goal to generate further dialogue in our community. In addition, clear and visible statements about diversity and inclusion will be incorporated on our corporate website and marketing materials.
Skate Canada recognizes that the actions above are just the beginning. We are committed to anti-racism and promotion of equity, diversity, and inclusion as ongoing processes. We look forward to working with all members of our community and to broadening membership in Skate Canada programs so that together we make Skate Canada a leader for positive change in sport, with the goal that truly everyone can embrace the joy of skating.