Equity Conference: Starting the Conversation

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Centennial Collegiate Vocational Institute

289 College Avenue West

Guelph, ON N1G 1S9


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At the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition (GNSC), we've noticed the desire and need to provide more education and conversation around equity within our organization. We've received a grant from the Guelph Community Foundation and decided to host a one-day Equity event for our staff, leadership teams, key volunteers, board members, and partner organizations with the goal of "Starting the Conversation" around Equity within our organization. Given that many organizations have had similar ideas of hosting an event on equity, we decided to invite our partners and friends to share their knowledge to help deepen our understanding of equity. We would like to invite you to participate in the conversation.


9:00 - 9:40 am - General Registration & Childcare Registration

9:45 am - Land Acknowledgement & Announcements

10:00 am - Traditional Welcome | Wiiji Numgumook Kwe

10:20 - 11:20 am - Indigenous Talking Circle

11:30 - 12:30 am - WORKSHOP BLOCK ONE

  • Supporting Survivors, Supporting Ourselves
  • Panel: Inclusive Healthcare
  • Journeying Together: Self Reflective Practice and Allyship
  • Women*, HIV & Stigma: A Toolkit for Creating Welcoming Spaces
  • Ask the Nurse: How to Support People Living with Mental Illness
  • Islam 101

12:30 am - 1:30pm - LUNCH

1:40 - 2:40pm - PANEL: The Reality of Racism

2:50pm - 3:50pm - WORKSHOP BLOCK TWO

  • Examining Privilege
  • Voices of Value
  • Vicarious Trauma: The Impact of Working with Survivors
  • Intro to Racial Justice
  • The Power of Using Harm Reduction Practices to Address Substance Use

4:00 - 5:00PM - PANEL: Consent in our Communities and Social Services

Scroll down to see full workshop and panel descriptions

* times and workshops may change as planning progresses

Location: Centennial Collegiate Vocational Institute

Date: Saturday January 27 2018

Time: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

General Ticket: $15

Physically Accessible Space

All Gender Washrooms

Lunch will be provided

Free Childcare all day

Please indicate accessibility needs when registering. ASL interpretation will be offered upon request

Please register before Monday January 22. If you register after Monday January 22, we cannot guaranttee that your dietary and accessibility needs will be met.


Will there be Food?

Yes, lunch will be provided with Halal, Kosher, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten free options in addition to tea, and coffee throughout the day. Please indicate dietary requirements when registering

Can I bring my kids?

Yes, there will be childcare the day of the event at the venue.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

You can email our Equity Event Coorinator, Sonali Menezes at

If you would like to volunteer email Beckham Ronaghan at

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?


Do I need to attend the whole event? Or can I just attend certain parts?

No, you do not need to attend the entire event. We would love you to, but we know that the time commitment is not accessible to everyone. You can stay for the first half of the day, or the second etc. Our registration table will be staffed by volunteers the entire day, and you can arrive throughout the day. Just note: some workshop facilitators may not allow the disruption of new participants entering in the middle of their session.

Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn't match the person who attends?

Yes. If you're with an organization: On the 27th, let us know the organization you are with when signing in.

If you're attending individually: On the 27th, just give your name when signing in.

How do registration fees work?

If you're with an organization: We will send an invoice to your organization via the email that is provided through registration.

If you're attending individually: Tickets are $15 - you will pay at the door on January 27th (cash only).

If you have any questions or concerns about registration fees please contact Beckham Ronaghan at


******* WORKSHOPS *******

Supporting Survivors, Supporting Ourselves

with Jessica St. Peter, Women in Crisis (WIC)

description: Together we will talk about the various forms of gender-based violence that impact our lives and how we can support the people impacted. Through facilitation, group discussion and collaborative activities we will address the varying responses to violence and our hesitations to intervention and survivor support.

Journeying Together: Self-Reflective Practice and Allyship

with Iona Sky, Child and Family Services

description: During this interactive workshop, participants will spend time exploring the various areas of power, privilege and oppression to help gain ideas on the different ways to be an ally on individual, organizational and systemic levels.

Women*, HIV & Stigma: A Toolkit for Creating Welcoming Spaces

with Sarah Wilmer, AIDS/HIV Resources and Community Health (ARCH)

description: This workshop provides practical tips, tools and strategies to help you build a welcoming space for women* living with HIV or those facing systemic risk factors for HIV transmission. This workshop focuses on intersecting identities and how we can better equip ourselves to tackle stigma many women face on a daily basis. Upon completion of this workshop you will be well on your way to fostering your own welcoming space!

**Women is used to represent a wide range of identities including but not limited to, trans and cis women, women with trans experience, as well as folks on the transfeminine spectrum.

Ask The Nurse: How to Support People Living with Mental Illness

with Ashling Ligate

My name is Ashling Ligate and I am a Registered Nurse specializing in mental health and addictions. I work on an acute psychiatric unit in Guelph. In this workshop, I will lead a roundtable discussion shaped by your questions about supporting people living with mental illness. Maybe you work as a healthcare provider, or maybe you feel you know nothing about mental illness: all perspectives are welcome. I will come equipped with lots of information and relevant resources but what we focus on will be determined by the experiences you bring as community leaders, service providers, and neighbours. Some questions we might cover: What does psychosis look like? What does it mean to be "on a form"? What is a Community Treatment Order? Should I call the police? How do I know if someone is on the right medication? What should I say to a parent whose child is struggling with thoughts of suicide? How can I avoid burnout when everyone in my community comes to me for help with their own problems? What can I do to address stigma about mental illness and addictions in my community? What should I do next: I’ve tried to contact everyone in Guelph to help someone and no one is doing anything? Come prepared with questions and an open mind!

Islam 101

with Sarah Sayyed, Muslim Society of Guelph

In light of recent events and the sudden rise of Islamophobia , this session will offer a brief introduction to Islam and help educators and service providers to recognize trauma and speak out against hate, as well as implement accommodations to assist Muslims in our workplaces, schools and social services.

Examining Privilege

with Alisha Arnold, Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition (GNSC)

description: Through discussion and exercises participants will look at and explore the meaning of privilege. With the intent of becoming more aware of their own as to help create more safe spaces for others.

Voices of Value

with Jasper Smith, AIDS/HIV Resources and Community Health (ARCH), Gender Intersect

description: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, trans, two-spirit, intersex (LGBT2Q+) people as well as people living with HIV/AIDS are two overlapping groups of people that often struggle to find services that are equipped to support their whole selves. Often, our lack of understanding creates anxiety, which can lead to mistakes, tarnished relationships, and a lack of available affirming resources. This workshop is intended to help foster awareness, competency and confidence for professionals to offer more inclusive and compassionate services. Working from a feminist and anti-oppressive framework, this session will lead individuals through statistics and data surrounding local LGBT2Q+ communities, explore some common language, and the latter half will focus on strategies for individuals and organizations. We believe that we have to be intentional about interrupting the many forms of oppression that create barriers within our communities for LGBT2Q+ people and that education is a key first step.

Vicarious Trauma: the Impact of Working with Survivors

with Jan Klotz, Guelph Community Health Centre (CHC)

description: This workshop will assist participants to increase their understanding of the effect working with trauma survivors has on both their personal and professional lives, and increase awareness of the importance of developing strategies to mitigate the negative impact.

Racial Justice 101

with Kevin Sutton

You've taken the first steps toward racial allyship: You understand that racism in systemic, and that racial privilege makes you inherently complicit in racial oppression. You understand that you have a lot to learn and are willing to put in the work to do better. Now you are ready for a primer on how to contribute to a supportive environment for people of colour.

The Power of Using Harm Reduction Practices to Address Substance Use

with members of the WGDS Harm Reduction Working Group

Harm Reduction is a practical, effective and humane way to assist people who are struggling with substance use and/or dependence. This workshop will:

  • explain the key concepts of harm reduction, and outline harm reduction practices
  • discuss common myths and realities related to substance use and harm reduction practices
  • share the experiences of people who have used harm reduction practices to improve their health and wellbeing

******* PANELS *******

The Reality of Racism

Racism impacts the way we both provide and access social services. Racism is systemic, pervasive, insidious and alive in our communities and social services. False is the idea that it is ‘not as bad here,’ as it is in Trump’s America, we’ve got racism here too. Let us not forget that Canada’s history includes colonization and slavery too; white supremacist legacies that continue today. From the ongoing colonial genocide of Indigenous Peoples, the disproportionate representation of Black, Indigenous and people of colour in prisons and the criminal justice system, the detention of immigrants and refugees, deportations, hate crimes and murder.

Panellists will discuss the ways racism negatively impacts the lives of Black, Indigenous and Persons of Colour in Guelph, and Canada. How do we perpetuate racial violence through our provision of social services? What is not ‘helping’? Who are we excluding? How can we do better?

Providing Inclusive Healthcare

This panel will explore the complexity of healthcare provision and the limitations and shortcomings of health care today. Panelists discuss some of the amazing work being done in health care to better serve marginalized communities. Panelists will speak to better serving queer and trans communities as well as immigrants and refugees. The reality of the stigma associated with navigating the medical system as a sex worker or substance user will also be explored. Ways in which healthcare providers can perpetrate harm and violence will be examined as panelists discuss potential solutions. ( scheduled in workshop block one )

Consent in our Communities and Social Services

Panelists will speak to their understanding of consent and help us come to a mutual understanding of consent. Conversation will centre the way consent impacts intimate partner relationships in our communities including abuse of power, sexual harassment and violence. The role of consent in social services will be explored in terms of how consent impacts program provision and access. Questions such as the ways a service designed to ‘help’ can perpetuate patriarchal and colonial violence will be raised. Panelists will speak to how we can empower and build healthier, consent-filled communities and services.

Panelists and Speaker bios with be availble in conference manuals on the 27.

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Centennial Collegiate Vocational Institute

289 College Avenue West

Guelph, ON N1G 1S9


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