Board Governance Anti-Oppression Framework

Board-approved Feb 2007, Revised Sept 2008, Revised Aug 2014, Revised April 2018


The Board of Directors of the Alliance for Healthier Communities is committed to embedding anti-oppression in all aspects of its governance policies, processes and practices.

The Board seeks to:

  • Increase access, participation, equity, inclusiveness and social justice by eliminating systemic barriers to full Participation;
  • Promote positive relations and attitudinal change by creating a climate where discriminatory or oppressive behaviours are not tolerated;
  • Foster an Alliance Board that is reflective of its membership and inclusive of Indigenous, Francophone, racialized i with a focus on the Black community and LGBTQ populations.

The Board believes and understands that:

  • Oppression is manifested in racism, sexism, homophobia, heterosexism, transphobia, ageism, ableism and other forms of systemic and social exclusion
  • Oppression is pervasive, restricting, hierarchical and dominant.

Road Ahead

Historically, the Board has struggled with implementing initiatives to address systemic patterns of racism rooted in colonial legacies (particularly against indigenous and racializedi peoples), ethnocentrism and discrimination against Francophone communities and homophobia, transphobia and heterosexism.

The four foci for Alliance are:  anti-Indigenous racism, Francophone discrimination, anti-black racism, and homophobia, transphobia and heterosexism.

In doing so:

  • The Board understands that there are similarities, intersections and differences between these and other forms of oppression and the ways in which they manifest themselves.
  • There is also recognition of the issues of power and privilege and how they inform organizational dynamics.
  • The Board acknowledges the particular pervasiveness and impact of racism, and specifically anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism, even after decades of legislation and initiatives.
  • Strategies will explicitly recognize, examine and address the similar, intersecting and distinct systemic manifestations of issues of racism, homophobia, transphobia and heterosexism.  
  • The Board recognizes Indigenous and Francophone communities as having distinct and specific histories, needs, legal rights and constitutionally-protected rights.
  • The Board is committed to supporting Indigenous communities in reconciliation with Ontario and Canada.  We will use our collective privilege to end systems of colonization and oppression that continue to undermine Indigenous human and treaty rights and rights to determination in health. 
  • The Board is committed to allyship with Indigenous members and the communities they serve as a practice of unlearning and relearning, which is a life-long process of building relationships based on trust, consistency and accountability.
  • Strategies will facilitate the organizational commitment and desire to collaborate with Indigenous and Francophone communities in a manner that demonstrates principles of respect, inclusion, accountability and equity.
  • The Board recognizes that in addition to anti-oppression work being about access and inclusion for traditionally marginalized communities and stakeholders, it is critical that there are changes in the core organizational culture, institutional structures and personal attitudes of the Board to ensure optimum organizational effectiveness and accountability to the membership.
  • Strategies will be purposeful and proactive in facilitating a real shift in the organizational culture to ensure that issues of oppression will be addressed by the Board and clear mechanisms will be identified to actively engage and interact with the Alliance membership throughout the process.


[1]Racialized: The Ontario Human Rights Commission speaks to the term racialized and racialization accordingly: While biological notions of race have been discredited, the social construction of race remains a potent force in society.  The process of social construction of race is termed "racialization."  The Report of the Commission on  Systemic Racism in the Ontario Criminal Justice System defined "racialization "as the process by which societies construct races as real, different  and unequal in ways that matter to economic, political and social life." When it is necessary to describe people collectively, the term "racialized person" or "racialized group" is preferred over ''racial minority", "visible minority", "person of colour" or "non-White" as it expresses race as a social construct rather than as a description based on perceived biological traits.