Anti-Racism Policy Statement

Policy 1.7 - Anti-Racism Policy Statement

The official version of this policy is housed with the University Secretariat.  In the event of a discrepancy, the official version will prevail. Click here for a printable version of this policy. 


Approving Authority: Board of Governors 
Responsible Office: University Secretariat, Office of Diversity and Human Rights
Responsible Officer: University Secretary
Original Approval Date: June 22, 2022
Most Recent Revision Date: N/A
Previous Revisions: N/A


The University of Guelph affirms the fundamental principle of equality of all peoples and recognizes the inherent dignity and worth of every person, as well as our responsibility and commitment to provide for equal rights and opportunities without discrimination.[i]


The University is resolute in its commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion on our campuses. The University of Guelph mission statement articulates our commitment to a global perspective, the fundamental equality of all human beings, and creating – for all members of our community – an environment that is hospitable, safe, supportive, equitable and above all, intellectually challenging.[ii]  These commitments are also reflected in existing policies and procedures including but not limited to the Human Rights Policy and ProceduresPolicy on Non-academic MisconductSexual Violence Policy and ProceduresWorkplace Harassment Prevention Policy and Workplace Harassment Prevention Program,  Safe Disclosure Policy or in collective agreements between the University and employee groups.


The University has identified combatting racism as an institutional imperative. These are outlined in our strategic documents, plans and actions including the “Anti-Racism Action Plan” (2020), the “Indigenous Initiatives Strategy” (2021), the establishment of the President’s Advisory Committee on Indigenous Initiatives (2013) and President’s Advisory Committee on Anti-Racism (2021), and the signing of the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education (2021).


The purpose of this statement is to articulate the University’s deep and ongoing commitment to identifying, dismantling, and eliminating racism in all its forms. The following definitions and key themes form the basis of this statement.[iii] These definitions inform the interpretation and application of this statement and will guide the University’s commitments to Anti-racism:

  1. Racism and racial discrimination continue to exist and affect the lives of not only racialized persons, but also all persons in Canada.
  2. “Race” is a socially constructed way of judging, categorizing and creating hierarchies among people based on perceptions, real or imagined, about their places of origin, physical traits, name, manner of speech, etc.
  3. “Racism” operates at several levels, including individual, systemic or institutional, and societal. Racism plays a major role in fostering racial discrimination and is an ideology that either directly or indirectly asserts that one group is inherently superior to others.  Racism can be openly displayed in racial jokes and slurs or hate crimes, but it can be more deeply rooted in attitudes, values and stereotypical beliefs. Racism is tied to the aspect of power – or the authority or ability to influence, make decisions, and access resources – and includes social, political, economic and institutional power that is held by the dominant group in society.
  4. “Racial discrimination” is an expression of racism. It includes any action, intentional or not, that has the effect of singling out persons based on their race, and imposing burdens on them and not on others, or withholding or limiting access to benefits available to other members of society, in areas covered by the Ontario Human Rights Code.[iv] Racial discrimination can occur through stereotyping and overt prejudice or in more subconscious, subtle and subversive ways.  Racial discrimination can also occur on a systemic or institutional level.


The University of Guelph recognizes the need to examine its policies, practices, decision-making processes, and organizational culture so as not to perpetuate racism and to take proactive steps to fight racial discrimination and foster a shared culture of inclusiveness. 


The University is firmly committed to fostering inclusive educational, working, and living environments. The University of Guelph is committed to Anti-racism as a motivating principle at the highest levels of decision-making and will work with all members of our campus community to identify and eliminate racism and racial discrimination as fundamental to those environments.


The University recognizes that Anti-racism work is not merely reactive, but also proactive. To facilitate an institutional commitment to Anti-racism, a focus on both systemic and interpersonal actions is essential. Actions and discourses that contribute to the identification and elimination of racism and racial discrimination may include:

  1. Reviewing, monitoring and implementing structures, policies, and practices to address systemic barriers to full participation in both academic and non-academic facets of university life;  
  2. Providing pathways to embed Anti-racism in pedagogy, curriculum and learning;
  3. Reviewing and strengthening processes including but not limited to the University’s Human Rights Policy and Procedures which supports a culture of inclusiveness and an environment that is respectful and free of racism and racial discrimination;
  4. Developing an Anti-racism lens to the University’s research ecosystem to embed equitable practices throughout the research lifecycle;
  5. Providing the campus community with education and resources to recognize, promote, and engage in Anti-racism and racial equity practices; and
  6. Engaging with members of racialized communities at the University to understand and work to address their needs.


Racism and racial discrimination devalue and erode the integrity of our University and will not be tolerated. Individuals who experience racism or racial discrimination, whether individual or systemic, are encouraged to report their experiences to the Office of Diversity and Human Rights, the Office of the Vice-Provost (Student Affairs)Campus Safety Office, or through the Safe Disclosure Policy.


This policy statement including the commitments contained within, will be reviewed one year after implementation to allow the University to identify and develop the resources and supports required. The review will be supported by the Office of Diversity and Human Rights, and the University Secretariat.


The University of Guelph wishes to acknowledge Mount Allison University, the University of Manitoba Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, and the Ontario Anti-Racism Directorate, whose related policies and documents provided guidance and a foundation in best practices.


[i] Policy and guidelines on racism and racial discrimination (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2005), 4.

[ii] University of Guelph Mission Statement, 1995.

[iii] Policy and guidelines on racism and racial discrimination (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2005), 5-6.

[iv] Racial discrimination brochure (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2012)