Kathleen Wynne’s government has been accused of racism, according to longtime civil servant Arlene Davis who claims she faced discrimination because she is black. Davis who worked for the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration says she’s been removed off payroll for speaking out about her troubles at work. The media hasn’t really picked up the story, perhaps it didn’t fit a certain narrative.
“Down with racism,” chants rang out as a rally of more than 20 people took over the York South-Weston constituency office of Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Laura Albanese.
People in the rally alleged that discrimination happens to Black workers within the ministry and demanded that the minister establish a task force to investigate systemic racism and discrimination at the department.
Rally members squeezed into Albanese’s small constituency office Thursday, Sept. 7, where for two hours they chanted, gave speeches and demanded action from the minister, who was not in the office at the time.
The action was spurred by longtime civil servant and York South-Weston resident Arlene Davis, who said she has worked for the province for 28 years and the last 16 at the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration.
She said she faced discrimination the past four years and was given a letter of legal council (disciplinary letter) after she spoke up about it. She has been removed off payroll for more than 240 days, she alleged, only to be reinstituted for one month in September.
As a result, she handed a lawsuit against the minister during the rally, seeking financial compensation, a direct apology from the minister, reinstatement of her position and the establishment of a task force to investigate racism at the ministry.
None of her accusations have been tested in court.
“I consider today to be a totally defining milestone for me. I am taking a stance to be a thorn in the side of injustice and inequality and decry against oppressive employment action,” she said at the rally.