A Statement from Canadian Art Staff and Board on Our Equity and Anti-Oppression Actions – Canadian Art
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Features / November 11, 2020

A Statement from Canadian Art Staff and Board on Our Equity and Anti-Oppression Actions

Over the past eight months, we have worked to sustain Canadian Art with the assistance of generous donors, sponsors and government programs, and the support of our readers, to whom we are grateful. Due to COVID-19, we postponed our summer issue to September, and we continue to operate under reduced hours. The ongoing pandemic and concurrent global anti-racism movements have accentuated the structural racism that persists in cultural organizations across the country, including Canadian Art.

We recognize that structural racism has existed inside our organization long before recent events. This issue has been raised by staff, in particular by Black, Indigenous and racialized staff. Concerned that structural racism be addressed immediately, editorial staff posted an open letter in late July announcing a pause in online publishing until deeper organizational conversations about equity could occur. Not all staff were given the opportunity to sign this letter.

The board and leadership have come to understand the vital role BIPOC staff have played in transforming this organization in recent years and the harm they have experienced through inadequate recognition and support. Since August, we have been engaged in important conversations about reimagining the very framework of our organization.

We would like to share the following steps in our ongoing efforts to address persistent internal inequity:

  • An organizational redesign centred on principles of equity and diversity, which includes interim publisher, editor-in-chief and deputy editor roles to signal a transformation of leadership
  • The establishment of an equity task force, with equal board and staff representation, which will revise equity and anti-oppression policies and human-resource protocols to recognize and respond to the needs and differentiated labour of BIPOC staff
  • A broader rebuilding of Canadian Art’s equity framework, including continuous anti-oppression learning for staff and board members

 
We are accountable to you—our readers, subscribers, donors, advertisers—and to each other, and we hope these steps stand as a measure of that accountability. We approach this ongoing process openly, and with trust that it is the best way forward. These changes mark a new chapter at Canadian Art, and we look forward to them being reflected in our work.

We would like to thank all our audiences, especially those whose work has been historically underrepresented in the publication, for their continued patience and support throughout this important process. Our online publishing resumed in September, and we are excited to launch our upcoming Winter issue.

Sincerely,

Canadian Art Board of Directors and Staff