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Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Anti-Racism

Building an inclusive, diverse, equitable, accessible and anti-racist environment.

Modern art piece showing in a garden

Land acknowledgement

Holland Bloorview acknowledges the land we live, work, and learn on as the land that belongs to the Indigenous peoples of Canada. We are located on the territory of the Huron-Wendat First Nation, the Seneca as part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Mississaugas of the Credit River, and the Mississauga of Scugog Island First Nation. 

We are grateful, honored, and humbled to have the opportunity to live and work in this city and this territory we call Turtle Island. We recognize that those of us who are settlers have roles and responsibilities that need to be engaged, in order to bring about a reconciliatory future. Chi Miigwetch-Nya whago ah - Merci - Thank you.

Modern art piece showing in a garden

IDEAA office

Holland Bloorview is committed to building and fostering an inclusive, diverse, equitable, accessible and anti-racist environment, where all individuals are valued and treated with respect and fairness. Our IDEAA office supports resource development and leads team consultations to nurture and amplify the diverse voices, perspectives, and justice-seeking change ideas offered by staff, students and trainees, volunteers, clients, families and alumni structurally disadvantaged by the health system.

IDEAA is dedicated to prioritizing these five areas of focus which can be defined as follows:

  • Inclusion: feeling or experience of being valued.
  • Diversity: presence of difference(s) in a setting that make a given person or community unique.
  • Equity: an approach of being responsive to a community or individual’s unique needs through a redistribution of resources and opportunities, in ways that make up for a historical lack of fairness between people or communities.
  • Accessibility: an experience or design feature that will ensure maximum participation by all individuals regardless of ability or background.
  • Anti-racism: challenging policies and practices which mirror and reinforce beliefs, attitudes, prejudice, stereotyping about race.

Keep on reading to learn more about how IDEAA and other programs across Holland Bloorview are advancing this important work.

IDEAA Task Force

The IDEAA task force was established in 2020, and is responsible for driving Holland Bloorview’s social justice-seeking work plan and key activities. The task force is an interdisciplinary body, comprised of employees, family and youth leaders, and provides valuable insights to bring Holland Bloorview 2030 to life in the most meaningful and equitable ways possible. There are three sub-committees: Data Action, Education, Training and Transformative Practice and Accessibility Planning Advisory Committee.

Over the past three years, the task force has been involved in key initiatives such as the social needs screening for families and advocating for the inclusion of equity based questions in the 2020 Employee Engagement Survey. The report “Representation, access to opportunities and feeling safe to report are not equal across identity groups at Holland Bloorview” provided data-driven analysis into the experiences of those who work at our hospital.

Truth and Reconciliation

Holland Bloorview is committed to improving health outcomes for Indigenous children and families. We also acknowledge the unique position we hold as an academic hospital to close the unacceptable gap in healthcare inequity, empower the next generation of healthcare professionals, expand relevant research and invest in Indigenous healthcare workers.

With a focus on reconciliation and healing, it is important to understand that advancing the cause of reconciliation through action is all of our responsibility. Actions to date, include:

  • Indigenous Days of Significance including the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation are commemorated annually, year round. Resources are created for staff, clients and families and where appropriate community educational events are identified for staff and patients. See IDEAA's annual September 30 newsletter with resources to help support personal learning and to take individual steps towards reconciliation.

  • Development of a Smudging policy for Indigenous clients and families.

  • Hiring an Indigenous Health Equity and Experience Navigator

  • Our annual anti-racism education series (now in its 4th year) incorporates considerations of Indigenous anti-racism and health inequities.

  • Over the past two years, a number of staff have taken the San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety online training, and there are plans to identify a means to provide broader cultural safety training for staff and volunteers through the IDEAA office.

  • Deepening relationships with Indigenous communities to better support the health-care needs of local and remote communities through specific initiatives. Along with several other Children’s Treatment Centres, Holland Bloorview has been working to support the complex care needs strategy for Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN). Holland Bloorview has been part of a “clinical mentorship action team” since January 2019 to support coordinated approaches between Indigenous and mainstream health services to address the complexity of health issues for children with complex care needs in Indigenous communities. The development of synergistic partnerships offers creative approaches to broaden service capacity to support enhanced continuity of care, service integration and easy access for clients and families. We have also been an active part of curriculum development for a new role of paediatric Indigenous rehabilitation assistant (PIRA) at the Oshki-Wenjack Education Institute. 

  • Creation of SOAR (Sparking student Opportunities for Advancing inclusive childhood disability Research) positions within the Ward Family Summer Student Research program which provides learners from underrepresented communities with mentorship and support at various stages of their research career journey. In 2022, two students had the opportunity to work closely with scientists within the Bloorview Research Institute including Dr. Azadeh Kushki, Senior Scientist and Associate Chief of Data Science, of the Autism Research Centre and Dr. Tom Chau, Distinguished Senior Scientist; Raymond Chang Foundation Chair in Access Innovations of the Paediatric Rehabilitation Intelligent Systems Multidisciplinary (PRISM) lab.

Anti-Black Racism

Anti-Black racism is systemically embedded in Canadian society and across our healthcare system. At Holland Bloorview, we have committed to confronting anti-Black racism across our hospital and beyond our walls. Our efforts are aligned with Ontario Health, the Toronto Academic Health Science Network, and other health system organizations that have committed to coordinating broad anti-racist education and action. 

In the summer of 2022, as part of our ongoing commitment to address anti-Black racism at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, and to address the harmful experiences that Black employees have had, we commissioned Dr. Notissa Massaquoi, an independent, highly respected expert on anti-Black racism, to help us better understand the experience of Black employees at all levels of the hospital - from clinical and non-clinical staff at the point of care, to hospital leadership, and all points in-between. The Black Employee Experience Report 2023 was the result and was released to hospital employees in March 2023. Created with input from Black staff at Holland Bloorview, the report highlighted the need to urgently address structural anti-Black racism to create an inclusive and equitable environment where everyone can enjoy a sense of mutual belonging and respect.


Roadmap to Confront Anti-Black Racism at Holland Bloorview

The organization has been working to develop an anti-Black racism strategy to address the many concerns identifiedin The Black Employee Experience Report 2023. An organization-level response, inclusive of activities to implement over the next 18 months has now been developed. The Roadmap to Confront Anti-Black Racism at Holland Bloorview (PDF) is based on recommendations that were generated by the participants from individual interviews, focus groups and suggestions provided anonymously by Black employees. The Roadmap can therefore be regarded as a Black employee informed guide to direct future education, decision making and long-term strategies for addressing anti-Black racism at all levels of the hospital.

Anti-Racism Education

We host an annual Anti-Racism Education Series (now in its 4th year) which presents topics focusing on intersectionality, the effect of racist structures and practices on Black and Indigenous peoples and how to advocate for anti-racist practices. We also provide monthly unconscious bias in recruitment training to all hiring managers and hiring panels. Additionally, we develop ongoing resources for families, clients and staff which address racism and anti-Black Racism, such as the Family Tipsheet: How to Talk to Your Child AboutRacismTipsheet for Black History Month: Educate. Participate. Celebrate; and IDEAA's annual September 30 newsletter with resources to help support personal learning and to take individual steps towards reconciliation.

Discrimination, Racism and Harassment Reporting Process

Holland Bloorview pledges zero tolerance with respect to acts of prejudice, discrimination or racism and signed the BlackNorth Initiative pledge in 2020, to dismantle anti-Black systemic racism and create opportunities for the Black, Indigenous and racialized communities. To date, we have established a Workplace Anti-Racism and Anti-Discrimination Policy and updated the Workplace Anti-Harassment Policy; launched an independent and confidential process for reporting experiences of workplace discrimination, racism and harassment; and created a human rights and equity navigator role to provide support, guidance and training to Holland Bloorview stakeholders about the reporting process.

We also work closely with our system partners and have representatives at the Toronto Academic Health Sciences Network (TAHSN) anti-racism advisory committee, Kids Health Alliance EDI Community of Practice and a provincial Paediatric Health Equity Data Working Group which focuses on creating guidance to planning and implementing demographic data collection in healthcare settings.


Given the nature of the clients we serve, accessibility is foremost in our built environment, planning, program development and services. In addition, Holland Bloorview works closely with other community providers to help increase accessibility for our clients outside of Holland Bloorview’s programming. Our commitment to accessibility is an ongoing focus for Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, and we will continue to monitor the external innovations related to accessibility that may be relevant for Holland Bloorview.

Go to our Accessibility page to learn more about our Accessibility Policy, 2021-2026 Accessibility Plan and Accessibility Status report for 2021 - 2022. We also have an Issues resolution process by which accessibility issues can be identified and addressed. In 2022, the Rick Hansen Foundation conducted an accessibility audit on Holland Bloorview, examining the hospital’s infrastructure from the parking lot to the workspaces and pool change rooms. The audit awarded Holland Bloorview with a gold certification.

Holland Bloorview strives to include accessibility in its built structures and programs. For example, Holland Bloorview is the proud owner of Canada’s first child-friendly and fully accessible research MRI Suite. The technology delivers an experience that is simultaneously immersive and calming for patients. We also have an accessible playground with an universal design which allows accessible functionality to be seamlessly blended into the equipment.


Understanding disability stigma and ableism

At Holland Bloorview, we advocate for healthy futures for all kids and youth with disabilities.

Dear Everybody began as a national movement to end stigma and eliminate bias against people with disability. The campaign helps generate awareness of disability stigma and ableism and encourages deeper conversation and action. In 2022, Imagine Everybody was introduced as an evolution of the campaign. In 2023, an anti-stigma campaign Inclusion Resolutions was launched to ensure all children and youth feel welcome and included at school

Holland Bloorview is a proud partner of Project SEARCH, a global transition-to-work program for youth with developmental disabilities in their final year of high school. Participating students complete co-op placements at the hospital, building social and professional skills and learning about workplace culture.

Research that is Inclusive

Our world class Bloorview Research Institute has research projects which focus on intersectional and lived experiences of childhood disability. For more information on research projects that the Bloorview Research Institute is leading or co-creating with community partners, please check out the following.


Bloorview Research Institute Ward Summer Student program

The Bloorview Research Institute’s Ward Summer Student program has two dedicated streams:

  • One position for undergraduate and/or college students living with a disability. This position was established to enhance the inclusion of young people with disabilities in pediatric research.

  • Two positions for undergraduate and/or college students who are of Indigenous, First Nations, Métis, and/or Inuit descent. These positions were established to enhance the inclusion of all young peoples in pediatric research.

Like all positions within the Ward Summer Student Research Program, these opportunities expose the successful candidate to the field of research and pediatric rehabilitation while providing them with a unique mentorship experience.


EMBARK (Empowering Black Academics, Researchers and Knowledge creators)

The first program of its kind in Canada, EMBARK fills a crucial gap in amplifying diverse Black voices in disability research and aims to address barriers that Black scholars face to set them up for successful academic careers. Continue reading to learn more about Dr. De-Lawrence Lampty, the first scientist to be hired under this program.

    Sociodemographic data collection

    Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital is committed to building an inclusive, diverse, equitable, accessible and anti-racist environment for all clients, families and staff. We believe that every individual, regardless of their background, identity, or ability, deserves the opportunity to fully contribute, participate and thrive within our community. As outlined in our strategic plan, our goals include empowering a healthy team and providing care that’s socially accountable. The collection of sociodemographic data will help us better understand and support the unique social needs of clients and families we serve and to foster a diverse workforce that reflects the communities we serve. The information collected will remain anonymous and confidential.


    We ask because we care

    We ask because we care is aimed at building awareness around our efforts to collect sociodemographic data in order to help us personalize care to each child’s needs. This data collection initiative is led by Ontario Health and required by all hospitals in the province. As part of registration, families are asked for information such as their ethnicity, household income, number of dependents, sex and gender identity, area of residence and preferred language.

    Click here for a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ). For more information on the actual questions being asked, visit


    Sociodemographic data collection for staff and job applicants

    As part of our commitment to fostering a healthy team that reflects the diversity of our community, all staff and job applicants are invited to participate in a voluntary and anonymous demographic survey. This survey will help us identify and remove barriers that may be impacting employment opportunities of historically underrepresented equity priority groups including: Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, or Inuit) peoples; persons belonging to racialized communities; persons with disabilities; women; and members of marginalized sexual orientation and gender identity communities. The personal information you provide through this questionnaire is collected and accessed following the guidance from the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s “Count me in!” Guide and Ontario’s Data Standards for the Identification and Monitoring of Systemic Racism.

    An FAQ for employees can be accessed here (PDF) and an FAQ for applicants can be accessed here (PDF). Please visit our inclusive recruitment page for more information on our commitment to fostering a workforce that reflects our community.

    Language Interpretation Services

    At Holland Bloorview we aim to provide important client and family information in the languages and formats that are preferred by our community. It is important to us that client and family education, treatment information, and other important details are translated into the different languages most commonly spoken by the users of our hospital. 

    Translated Documents

    Important documents available in: Arabic, (Simplified) Chinese, (Traditional) Chinese, English, Spanish, Tamil and Farsi

    Interpreter services

    Clients and families have access to professional interpreter services at no cost when attending appointments at HB.

    How our teams at Holland Bloorview help build inclusive spaces