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3. The planning process

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3.1 Taking stock of activities

Know what is happening: First, look at all your existing activities. Some municipalities may already have committees set up or a city councillor or mayor who is interested in taking on issues of anti-racism. Are there departments or agencies in the city’s governance structure, such as health or the police, which have committees or individuals looking into race-related issues? Make a list of what is being done now, and by whom, to avoid duplication and to find ways of building on each other’s work.

3.2 Research: know your community make-up and current issues

It is important to know who lives in the community and what issues are facing them. Data can be collected quantitatively and/or qualitatively (see Box 5).

Data: Look at current information about the population and how it is changing. This information gives you a picture of who is living in the community. If you already have this information, update it or reorganize the data to get a better understanding of trends. Statistics Canada has census information that covers the large cities and surrounding areas in the Census Metropolitan Area. Smaller towns will find figures in rural census tracts.

BOX 5: Research

  • Data can be gathered through literature reviews, sampling, interviews, focus groups, questionnaires
  • Quantitative data is about numbers: how many people visited the mayor’s office, how many people moved into or out of a neighbourhood
  • Qualitative data talks about stories and opinions: for example, how a service was provided and whether the service was good or bad.

For more information see the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s data collection guide, Count me in!

Sources of data: To get a quick sense of what issues of racism and discrimination face groups in the municipality, consult with representatives of groups most often affected. Ask councillors and mayor’s offices what issues have been raised with them. Also, local media such as radio and community newspapers may retain recent information about important events or racism and discrimination and people’s views on specific subjects. Think about what kind of national and provincial trends exist in racism and discrimination. Organizations such as the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, Human Rights Commissions and CCMARD are good sources for this type of information. Provincial and Federal websites can be very useful (see Appendix 1 for the list of websites).

3.3 Identifying stakeholders/community capacity

Who: Who in the community can provide or has access to data? Who has an interest in the results? These may be people who are affected by the need or problem or are parties that have influence or power over the issue. The successful or unsuccessful outcome of any anti-racist strategy involves looking at all members of the community as stakeholders, including people who are not members of racialized groups. This does not mean that everyone has to take part in the entire planning process. People can be involved where they can make the most valuable contribution.

Direct and indirect stakeholders: Deciding who are “direct” and “indirect” stakeholders in the community is important. The “direct” stakeholders are individuals or groups that are the most affected by issues of racism and discrimination. They are probably from particular ethnic or racial backgrounds that are not part of the majority group in the community or the power structure. They could include concerned people from the community at large, anti-racism and human rights activists, social workers, and organizations in the voluntary and faith sectors.

“Indirect” stakeholders will include most community members. They have an interest or investment in anti-racism and anti-discrimination, but may not be aware of this interest. Indirect stakeholders may include local businesses that want customers; industries that need skilled workers; schools serving pupils from different ethno-racial and faith backgrounds; hospitals and clinics that want to attract and retain professionals, or the tourism industry that wants to promote and increase tourism to the area.

Stakeholder chart: Each of these direct or indirect stakeholders may suggest solutions that will only address their own interest and needs. Use a stakeholder chart to help identify and organize information about stakeholders, their interest in the outcome and their level of involvement in the process. See Appendix 2 for an example of a stakeholder chart that demonstrates: 1) why stakeholders are interested in anti-racism work, 2) the level of interest and what benefits and 3) risks are involved.

Getting people involved: Depending on the size of the municipality and the interest
in the issue, a stakeholder group could be quite large. Committees, focus groups and community meetings can help get people interested and recruited to plan, implement and monitor chosen activities or strategies. In smaller municipalities, a single person can act as a catalyst to get the process underway. The overall goal is to make sure that there is community participation in the municipality’s anti-racism, anti-discrimination initiative at all stages. This helps the municipality identify solutions and develop strategies or action plans that meet the communities’ needs and will build better relationships between the municipality and its residents.

Working with community stakeholders early on has many advantages. It gives people a sense of ownership, links diverse groups, generates interest, heads off potential conflicts, generates local capacity building, and helps to formulate and support solutions that are meaningful to the community. Building relationships requires time to set up and to maintain, but in the long term partnering creates
a bigger impact.

3.4 Analysis – setting goals, objectives and activities – moving forward

You’ve gathered useful background information. Now what do you do with it?

Organize information: First, organize the information in a way that summarizes the most essential information. A SWOT analysis (see Box 6) is a simple way to summarize the information. It organizes information in a way that directly helps with planning.

Goals, objectives, activities: A well done SWOT analysis helps pinpoint goals, objectives, and activities that are part of a complete plan. The terms “goals” and “objectives” are often used interchangeably. However, it is useful to distinguish them. A goal is an aspiration or aim that directly relates to the plans purpose. For example, the goals of an anti-racism plan could be to reduce incidents of racial discrimination in the community and the experiences of racism. Goals are often long term aims.

An “objective” would be a step to obtaining the goal. For example, increasing awareness of the impact of racism in the community would be an objective of the goal of reducing incidents of racial discrimination. Objectives are often direct actions and may be shorter-term than goals. For example, to reach the objective of increasing awareness of the impact of racism, activities could include developing a report on the experience of individuals who have faced incidents of racism or organizing a rally to oppose racism in the community.

An effective plan has activities that lead to the goal. It aims to develop and maintain the capacity to do the work. Plans will not be successful if the work can’t be sustained throughout the life of the plan.

BOX 6: SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)

Strengths – what the municipality does well? What community supports are available to draw on?
Weaknesses – lack of resources, knowledge, awareness, lack of infrastructure
Opportunities – taking advantage of trends or incidents, business and social service needs, influx of
immigrants, tourists, professionals
Threats – challenges, concerns, opposition.

SMART: The SMART tool (see Box 7) is an effective way to set goals and objectives. Use the five elements in the SMART tool to help set your goals and objectives. Setting SMART goals and objectives should ensure that a plan is realistic and can be properly evaluated.

Activities must be clearly connected to identified goals and objectives. In detailing activities it is important to identify them in a SMART fashion too. Many activities are planned that fall short because of a failure to consider all things carefully.

BOX 7: SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timed)

Specific – is the goal or objective sufficiently specific to easily understand
Measurable – Can success at achieving the goal be measured and confirmed
Attainable – Goals and objectives can be reached within resources available to the municipality
Realistic – Goals and objectives are within the realm of possibility
Timed – Goals and objectives are associate with clear timelines to guide activity

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