Guelph's Community Plan: Revisited

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A circle of images that represent the different backgrounds and lived experiences from our community as they join together

Our goal is to set the community standard for the elimination of systemic racism.

Guelph’s Community Plan was always intended to evolve and grow with the community. Right now we are working to address the significant omission of any direction related to systemic racism in the first version of the Plan. After more than a year of learning and unlearning with community leaders, this is the draft of a new section we will add to the Community Plan--and we are hoping you will take a look and add your thoughts.


Nobody thinks this is an easy goal, but it’s an aspiration we need to reach and fight to achieve.

This new section of the Community Plan speaks of a vision for how we must work as a united community. The section talks about the importance of building the relationships and trust necessary for the sustained effort required to eradicate the racism and colonialism embedded in our structural systems.

We acknowledge that racism and exclusion exist in many forms including but not limited to: Anti-Black racism, Anti-Indigenous racism, Anti-Asian racism, Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Anti-2SLGBTQIA+, ageism and ableism.

We also acknowledge that some conversations about systemic racism are difficult for some people. We have partnered with Here247 to provide free mental health or crisis support if you need it while having these difficult conversations with us. Visit the Here247 website or call 1-844-437-3247 to speak to a trusted service provider.

Help us to get it right!

Please take some time to read the background information tab below including important information about how we got here, and revisit the original Community Plan to see the new section in context.

Each of the eight new category sections were built based on conversations with people and communities from across Guelph, but we may hot have heard from you. Please read each section and share your thoughts and your unique ideas to help reframe the Community Plan with a vision about how we will work together to end systemic racism.

Click on each category to review and share your ideas:

What comes next?

The next step will be to create an action plan with the specific strategies and actions that need to be taken to rid systemic racism and barriers to inclusion from our institutions, policies and governance structures. Specific actions related to wellbeing, mental health, housing, economic and educational opportunity, and access to services among others will be considered in that phase of work.


Thank you for your time to consider these words and for adding your thoughts and suggestions.


Art Credit: Art Not Shame community of artists. Thank you for use of the inspiring work Art in Hard Times as our banner image.

Our goal is to set the community standard for the elimination of systemic racism.

Guelph’s Community Plan was always intended to evolve and grow with the community. Right now we are working to address the significant omission of any direction related to systemic racism in the first version of the Plan. After more than a year of learning and unlearning with community leaders, this is the draft of a new section we will add to the Community Plan--and we are hoping you will take a look and add your thoughts.


Nobody thinks this is an easy goal, but it’s an aspiration we need to reach and fight to achieve.

This new section of the Community Plan speaks of a vision for how we must work as a united community. The section talks about the importance of building the relationships and trust necessary for the sustained effort required to eradicate the racism and colonialism embedded in our structural systems.

We acknowledge that racism and exclusion exist in many forms including but not limited to: Anti-Black racism, Anti-Indigenous racism, Anti-Asian racism, Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Anti-2SLGBTQIA+, ageism and ableism.

We also acknowledge that some conversations about systemic racism are difficult for some people. We have partnered with Here247 to provide free mental health or crisis support if you need it while having these difficult conversations with us. Visit the Here247 website or call 1-844-437-3247 to speak to a trusted service provider.

Help us to get it right!

Please take some time to read the background information tab below including important information about how we got here, and revisit the original Community Plan to see the new section in context.

Each of the eight new category sections were built based on conversations with people and communities from across Guelph, but we may hot have heard from you. Please read each section and share your thoughts and your unique ideas to help reframe the Community Plan with a vision about how we will work together to end systemic racism.

Click on each category to review and share your ideas:

What comes next?

The next step will be to create an action plan with the specific strategies and actions that need to be taken to rid systemic racism and barriers to inclusion from our institutions, policies and governance structures. Specific actions related to wellbeing, mental health, housing, economic and educational opportunity, and access to services among others will be considered in that phase of work.


Thank you for your time to consider these words and for adding your thoughts and suggestions.


Art Credit: Art Not Shame community of artists. Thank you for use of the inspiring work Art in Hard Times as our banner image.

  • Land Acknowledgement

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    The many conversations that have led to the creation and continued evolution of the Community Plan were conducted on the land originally home to the Attawandaron (Neutral) peoples of the Iroquois Nation, and is the Ancestral and Treaty Land of the Michizaagiig of the Ojibwe, Aanishinaabek Nation now known as the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

  • How we got here

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    The daylight murder by Minneapolis police of an unarmed Black man named George Floyd—and the anguished awakening that followed the shocking cruelty of the act—had an immediate impact in Guelph, as it did in a multitude of cities and towns across the continent.

    Before Floyd’s killing, Guelph’s Community Plan served as internal guidance for City officials and departments as well as by partner organizations seeking to align to community priorities, values and goals. The Plan spoke to inclusion and diversity but was silent on the topic of systemic racism. The Plan was always intended to be a living document that would evolve along with the members of the communities whose aspirations it reflects.

    A march in downtown Guelph on Saturday, June 6, led by Guelph Black Heritage Society (GBHS) was one of the first organized local responses to the Floyd murder. Discussions with GBHS and with local members of the Black Lives Matter movement led to expressions of support from the Guelph Police Department and the Office of the Mayor. The time for neutrality had ended.

    Within days of the local march, a more ambitious, immediate, and necessary goal came into sharp focus: a resolute new commitment to identify Guelph’s most vulnerable populations; to listen closely to their stories, struggles, and pain; and to commit the City not merely to work toward equity, but toward the permanent elimination of systemic racism in all forms.

    “As an employer and local government, we’re reflecting on our role and the values that guide us to ensure our workplace and our community are welcoming places for everyone; Black, Indigenous, people of colour, people who identify as members of the LGBTQ2 community, those who have disabilities, and other underrepresented groups,” said City of Guelph Chief Administrative Officer, Scott Stewart, summarizing the early stages of the commitment.

    Guided by the federal State of Race Relations report that had been issued in November 2019 and alerted to the tragic and unequal burden of disease and death that the COVID-19 pandemic was imposing on Black, Indigenous, and other underserved, racialized and marginalized communities, stakeholders initiated a series of events as they worked toward a new focus on the elimination of systemic racism.

    The Journey to revise the Community Plan to address systemic racism began

    Evolving and revising the Community Plan has been a journey of listening and self-reflection. The journey requires us to engage in conscious unlearning and relearning from those in our broader community who possess the knowledge, expertise and lived experience to change these systems.

    A full timeline of the steps and experiences leading to this point in our journey is available to download in the Community Plan elimination of systemic racism journey timeline document. Starting on June 6, 2020 (the day of the Guelph Black Heritage Society and Black Lives matter Guelph rally), this timeline visits our involvement and influence by community and world events, anti-racism conversations, partnerships, research and data collection through to today.

  • What we are planning next

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    What’s next?

    Working in a community-driven way has taught us to not be too certain about the next steps as the community may choose otherwise. This is what we expect to happen next:

    • Community feedback collected online will be discussed with the advisor’s circle of community members and final changes will be made.
    • Guelph’s Community Plan will be updated with new section and shared with City Council and the community in the first quarter of 2022.
    • This new section of the Community Plan will be incorporated into the City’s engagement approach from this point forward.
    • This phase of the City’s anti-systemic racism work will shift from “how we need to work together” to “what we need to do together” to set the community standard for the elimination of systemic racism.

    Shift to developing Action Plans

    The City’s next step will be to work with community members, organizations and institutions to co-create an action plan to outline the specific strategies and actions that must be taken to eliminate systemic racism and barriers to inclusion from our institutions, policies and governance structures. The City committed to this next phase when it joined the Coalition for Inclusive Municipalities.

    Much, much more is forthcoming about this next phase of the work.

Page last updated: 29 November 2021, 11:36