Ontario Soccer takes steps to create a more equitable future for soccer and break down systemic barriers of entry to sport
he Diversity Advisory Sub-Committee Recommendations have been adopted by the Ontario Soccer Board of Directors, Diversity Officer to be appointed to help guide change
April 20, 2021
Vaughan, ON – As one of the country’s largest sport associations, Ontario Soccer has the responsibility to lead by example in advancing racial equity. We recognize that it’s our responsibility to build a diverse, inclusive, accessible and respectful organization and to ensure our members and volunteers have a voice and the opportunity to fully contribute.
To create an equitable Ontario Soccer, we need to recognize that there are systemic barriers that prevent people from reaching their full potential. Racism and power imbalances can be hidden or deeply embedded in our policies, practices and procedures. Sometimes, Ontario Soccer has not been aware of implicit or institutional racial biases. Systemic barriers should never limit anyone’s opportunity or advancement within our soccer family.
Ontario Soccer views an anti-racism approach as necessary to reduce barriers and ensuring that opportunities to play, coach, officiate, lead, and partner within the organization are equitable and accessible.
Ontario Soccer’s Diversity Advisory Sub-Committee recently shared its report and recommendations to the Ontario Soccer Board of Directors for discussion and review. The recommendations are available on OntarioSoccer.net and is now being prepared and planned for implementation both in the short and long-term.
“These changes will help to holistically bring the game of soccer forward in our province”, said Peter Augruso, President and Chair of the Board of Directors. “Thanks to the Diversity Advisory Sub-Committee and its members for its work in compiling the recommendations. I’d like to specifically note the work of the two committee Co-Chairs, Colette Chapman and LeRoy Ahyee under the leadership of David Miller from our Board of Directors.”
The committee’s recommendations involve Ontario Soccer identifying and removing policies, practices, or procedures that limit racial and gender equity to ensure more opportunity for diverse participation.
“By rooting out and removing systemic barriers like racism and other forms of bias, we will be better positioned to recruit, retain and develop the best and brightest talent this province has to offer,” said David Miller, Chair of the Diversity Advisory Subcommittee. “Diversity reflecting the diverse population of our Province will lead to better programs, services and outcomes for the people of Ontario. We all need to be champions of change to ensure we are free of bias. This work should be embraced by every part of our membership, in every part of our province.”
As well, the recommendations aim to be more inclusive, respectful and equitable across all programs and activities in Ontario to promote diversity among players, coaches, match officials, employees, directors, and external partners evenly.
Now that the work of the Diversity Advisory Sub-Committee is complete, the continuation of their plan will be carried on through a newly established Operational Committee, the Anti-Racism, Access and Equity Committee (ARAEC), that will report to the Chief Executive Officer’s office and advise the Board of Directors. Furthermore, as a part of the approved recommendations, a Diversity Officer role has been created that will work closely with the CEO and membership on the implementation of the new operational committees’ work.
“The Committee’s work has laid the foundation for a more Equitable, Diverse, and Inclusive future for Ontario Soccer and its members and we will carry forward their work through their recommendations,” said Johnny Misley, Ontario Soccer’s Chief Executive Officer. “We are looking forward to working with the new committee and the Diversity Officer to assist our membership in adopting these new policy and programming initiatives.”
The Diversity Advisory Sub-Committee’s Report and Approved Recommendations are available on OntarioSoccer.net for public review.
About Ontario Soccer
Founded in 1901, Ontario Soccer is comprised of more than 550 Clubs and Private Academies servicing over 24,000 teams with 380,000 registered players, 70,000 coaches and managers, and 9,500 match officials, as well as countless volunteers, parents and supporters comprising a direct, multi-cultural community of over 1,000,000 Ontarians.
Ontario Soccer develops and delivers exceptional and sustainable programs and services throughout Ontario with the mission of providing leadership and support for the advancement of soccer in collaboration and cooperation with our membership, partners and other stakeholders. Ontario Soccer also operates the Ontario Player Development League (OPDL) – the province’s premier standards based youth development program and proudly supports Canada Soccer’s National Teams, the Canadian Premier League and Toronto FC.
An overall goal of Ontario Soccer is to assist with the equitable development of soccer as a healthy lifestyle choice, provide a talented pathway for players to excel and encourage inclusive community involvement at all levels.
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