The Sport Information Resource Centre
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The Sport Information Resource Centre

Safety is at the core of our human experiences. It is so integral to how we show up, how we experience the world, and how to carry that forward with us in our future experiences.

In our COVID world and in 2020 safety has taken on new meanings. This is a time to reflect on our physical safety, our emotional safety, and our psychological safety. 

What does safe feel like? What does safe look like? When do you feel safe? Who do you feel safe with? 

Thinking about how we consider people first and create spaces and places where people can show up as they are and how they want to be – and be welcomed, included, and feel like they belong. These are “safe”. This is what we are talking about. This is what we need to think about, plan for, and create. 

Recently I was part of a discussion about the different layers of work that it takes to build relationships with folks from different cultural or racial backgrounds. My colleague discussed that it took more time to move work forward with colleagues who are Black or Indigenous than with white colleagues. I asked her a bit more about it and started to unravel what she meant.

The thought that struck me and the analogy that I used with her is that in her “extra” interactions she was creating trust and safety, which were harder to build because these individuals might have had experiences previously that caused them to put up barricades to protect themselves – and her discussions with them had to work through dismantling those barricades before they could move to the next one and then to eventually reach the person – when they were ready and on their terms. This analogy seemed to resonate with her and it struck me as core to how we think about the work that we each need to do – and society as a whole needs to do to build trust and safety for anyone who has faced additional barriers previously.

The irony is that the barricades were built as a protection mechanism to the society and structures that have not served their needs. We are at a time in our history, where we now are seeking those very same voices to help us move forward in new ways – but that is going to take time, and patience, and a demonstrated commitment to doing the work. These are long and arduous roads ahead and it is not up to Indigenous or racialized folks to do that work of clearing it – it is our turn as white folks to do the work of removing barricades – but we may choose to do that together.

I think that we have started to use safety synonymous with too many other topics – and I watch it being commodified and dissected into these components of a “plan” – and I fear that we will lose the real and dire consequences of what we need to be focused on as we create policies and nomenclature that talks about topics that are supposed to make things better, but we forget the person at the core of this.

Safe is crucial to cultures of inclusion. Safety is a system that must be constructed over time – with patience, care and trust as its pillars. 

Safe is crucial for people to contribute, to be creative and innovative and to influence the success of your organization. 

Safety in organizations is directly and inexplicably linked to INclusion, to supporting equity and diversity- in all its varied and beautiful forms. If you aren’t planning for diversity and intentional about INclusion, you will not create safety. They are connected and part of a continuum. Read more at

For more information please contact:

Andrea Carey M.Ed., CCIP (She/Her/Hers)

Chief INclusion Officer