As 2021 comes to an end, we at BLAC wish you and your families a safe, happy and restful holiday season.
This past year, the staff at BLAC have continued to work tirelessly to litigate, educate, and advocate on behalf of Black Ontarians.
We provided legal services to hundreds of Black people across the province. We worked with people in prison to fight for their right to be free from discrimination and other unfair treatment. We helped people file complaints against the police and human rights applications against employers, businesses, and service providers, including schools and police services. We connected thousands of people with supports and resources.
We continued to engage in test case litigation by seeking and/or obtaining intervenor status on cases relating to whether and how judges should take anti-Black racism into account when they impose a criminal sentence, whether a DNA sweep of migrant workers amounts to racial profiling, and the right to life and non-discrimination of irregular migrants in accessing essential healthcare.
We delivered public legal education sessions to hundreds of members of the public on topics including how to file a provincial and federal human rights application, the COVID vaccine, and Black youth in the legal system. We also shared our expertise on how to use the law to combat anti-Black racism with other legal professionals.
We continued to work to combat the school-to-prison pipeline through our Links to Justice Project. In 2022, BLAC will publish a report with findings and best practices, continue to work to build a network of Black families and youth, and otherwise increase capacity in Black communities to ensure equitable outcomes in education.
We began to provide organizational mentorship to the Collective of Child Welfare Survivors, a grassroots organization that provides various support for child welfare survivors between the ages 15-25 years old, particularly Black, Indigenous, and racialized people.
We joined calls for much needed changes to the Criminal Records Act. We also joined hundreds of others in a call for a human rights and public health vision for drug policy reform. We began working to advocate for legislative changes to prevent the deportation of Black people who came to Canada as children and spent any time in the child welfare system. We made submissions to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy on Bill 251, Ontario’s Combatting Human Trafficking Act.
As we reflect on our work this past year, we want to thank our clients, our board of directors, our members, our funders, and our donors for your continued support and for entrusting us to do this work in support of our communities.
With best wishes for the holidays and the New Year,
Executive Director and General Counsel