Examining the impacts of systemic racism in Guelph

Guelph, Ont., March 9, 2021 – Tomorrow, the Guelph Wellington Local Immigration Partnership (GWLIP) will launch a survey to examine the lived experiences of discrimination in Guelph and Wellington. GWLIP developed the survey in collaboration with various Local Immigration Partnerships throughout Ontario and the City of Guelph, with contributions from multiple community partners and organizations.

The survey, administered by Forum Research Inc., is open to all residents and responses are anonymous. Potential participants will be randomly selected and contacted by phone to complete a short series of pre-screening questions to confirm eligibility and willingness to participate. Interested and eligible participants will be invited to complete the full survey electronically through a link sent via text message or email.

“More than ever, the Guelph and Wellington communities understand that, despite progress, discrimination continues to be a fact of life for many residents. As with any issue, we need to take an evidence-based approach to understanding the problem if we hope to create real solutions,” said Leen Al Habash, GWLIP Project Manager. “Through this survey, we will attempt to collect a representative sample of the undoubtedly wide variety of experiences residents have had, ensuring that the voices of our community can lead us to a better tomorrow.”

The survey is one component of ongoing community-based efforts to eradicate anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, remove barriers to inclusion, and make Guelph a more welcoming city. The survey’s objectives are to generate a deeper understanding of experiences of discrimination at the local level and, ultimately, inform programs and services to support equity-seeking individuals and groups, and inspire greater inclusivity. Data collected through the survey will be available this spring.

Listening and learning through community discourse

In the spring of 2020, Guelph’s Community Plan activators embarked on outreach to the communities most affected by systemic racism. Planning for a series of community-led, City-supported conversations about this issue is underway in partnership with local community partners and organizations.

The GWLIP survey will complement these community-led conversations. Data collection and community conversations are among the initial steps toward the eventual creation of a collective action plan aimed at eliminating systemic racism in Guelph.

Guelph Black Heritage Society to host Anti-Racism Summit

One such community-led conversation will take place when the Guelph Black Heritage Society (GBHS) hosts the inaugural #ChangeStartsNow Anti-Racism Summit from April 29 to May 2, 2021.

“This multi-day summit will bring together speakers to address racism with the goal to engage and educate the community, as well as empower them to take action to dismantle racism in all its forms in our community and beyond,” said Denise Francis, President of the Guelph Black Heritage Society.

Data collected through the GWLIP survey that is relevant to the Black community may be publicly shared at a Town Hall, presented by the GBHS in partnership with the Guelph’s Community Plan, as part of the #ChangeStartsNow Anti-Racism Summit.

About Guelph’s Community Plan

A United Vision: Guelph’s Community Plan was presented to City Council in May, 2019 after 18 months of engagement with more than 15,000 local residents, businesses, organizations and institutions.

The ongoing work with the community towards the elimination of systemic racism reflects the community’s shared vision for inclusive prosperity as outlined in Guelph’s Community Plan and is aligned with the City’s values of inclusion, integrity, service, learning and wellness, as outlined in the City’s Strategic Plan: Guelph. Future Ready.


Guelph Wellington Local Immigration Partnership
Guelph Black Heritage Society
Guelph’s Community Plan
Guelph joins Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities (news release)
City reflects on initial steps toward anti-racism, diversity and inclusion goals (news release)
City of Guelph commits to diversity, inclusion and anti-racism initiatives (news release)

Media Contact

Jenny Smith, Manager, Corporate & Community Strategic Initiatives
Strategy, Innovation and Intergovernmental Services
Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
519-822-1260 extension 2120
[email protected]