65 Harwood Ave. S. Ajax, Ontario L1S 2H9 Joanne.dies@ajax.ca Tel. 905-619-2529 ext. 3373

Durham Region community members invited to apply for Durham Region’s Anti-Racism Task Force

Whitby, Ontario – The Regional Municipality of Durham is seeking dedicated community members, including Durham Region residents and stakeholders, to apply to join Durham Region’s Anti-Racism Task Force (DRART). Interested applicants can apply until Friday, July 30 at 5 p.m., by completing the online form available at durham.ca/DRART.

DRART is part of the Region’s commitment to develop and implement an Anti-Racism Framework to ensure a healthy workplace and to address racism within the communities the Region serves. The mandate of the DRART is to act in an advisory role to Regional Council through the Finance and Administration Committee on issues related to racism – structural, systemic and interpersonal. The work of DRART will be guided by Council approved Terms of Reference.

This task force will adopt a ‘hub and spoke’ model where working groups will be identified to address disparity in racialized (e.g., Indigenous, Black, Asian) communities. Anti-Black racism will be the initial focus for this task force. Precedence will be given to the lived and living experiences and concerns of all racialized groups in the Region.

Regional Council has appointed Councillor Sterling Lee as the Council representative for the DRART, with Councillor Granville Anderson as the alternate. In accordance with the terms of reference for DRART, Regional Council also appointed Regional CAO Elaine Baxter-Trahair as the staff representative with Don Beaton, the Commissioner of Corporate Services, as the alternate.

Aside from those individuals already appointed, it is suggested that the membership be comprised of 15 to 18 individuals, including:

  • Ten (10) Racialized Community members with lived experience and/or specialized expertise, including those with intersectional social locations.
  • Three (3) to six (6) representatives from industry, association and public institutions such as:
  • Academia with a focus on anti-racism or critical race theory (e.g. Ontario Tech University, Durham College, Trent Durham University, and/or local school boards).
  • Professional associations
  • Community and socially focused organizations

Applications close July 30, 2021 at 5 p.m. To apply, or to learn more about the Region’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work, visit durham.ca/DEI.


“Here in Durham, diversity is one of our greatest strengths. The Durham Region Anti-Racism Task Force will help us ensure that voices of our community are recognized and at the centre of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work. By prioritizing those with lived and living experiences and concerns of all racialized groups in the Region, we will be able to work together to make a difference in our communities.”

–        John Henry, Regional Chair

“Your voice matters to us. The Durham Region Anti-Racism Task Force will be integral to ensuring all of Durham Region’s programs, services and supports are equitable and inclusive. By joining this task force, you’ll have the important role of advising Regional Council on issues related to racism in all its forms. We look forward to reviewing your applications.”

–        Allison Hector-Alexander, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

– 30 –The Regional Municipality of Durham:
Emily Meek – Communications Advisor
905-668-4113 ext. 3542 or CorporateCommunications@durham.ca

Read this article on our website.

Joanne Dies educates, lobbies, and fights for environmental standards in Durham.

I met Joanne in my late-teen-years while attending a Pickering Ajax Citizens Together to Protect Our Water (PACT POW) event at Rotary Park in 2013. As a young woman in the environmental field, Joanne’s work at the time was incredibly empowering. She is one of the few people I know that has the ability to capture the hearts of young men and women, like she did with mine, and demonstrate the importance of our work and the necessity for all of us to make environmentally minded choices. Having briefly followed her career in the field, Joanne was my inspiration to pursue my love for the environment in a political capacity and through activism.

Her relentless work on PACT POW, meeting with local MPP’s to bring attention to the algae issue, coupled with her earlier work presenting in front of the Pickering Council, encouraging them to become an MAI (Multilateral Agreement on Investment) free zone, was a testament to me on the revolutionizing force of a passionate individual.

Since meeting Joanne at the PACT POW event in 2013, she has continued to lobby for environmental causes and serves as an inspiration to teens and young children, bringing environmental education to schools. She has worked with the PineRidge Arts Council on projects encouraging high school students to create art from artifacts found when picking up litter and has supported programs of a similar vein at Glengrove Public School. There, Joanne had students bring in household electronic garbage and together, built a robot from the waste which was later displayed at the Pickering Rec Centre in celebration of the Brock West Landfill site closure.

Her work as an educator on these projects was done with the intent of fostering social and behavioral transcendence, framing teens and elementary students as important vehicles of change. In focusing on students, Joanne’s work is likely to have a lasting impact as they reflect on how they can reduce waste by repurposing or re-creating materials in the future.

What makes Councillor Dies work in the environmental field unique, is her lesson that a person need not be a politician or scientist to make an environmental difference.

In the classroom and with her work on the Doors Open project in Ajax, where she helped gather a group of artists to repurpose and paint over old doors, she has demonstrated that creators, artists, and students have the potential to bring environmentalism into their work.

Most recently, Joanne, who is co-chair of PACT POW, recently turned her attention to bringing awareness to and lobbying against the discharge of phosphorus from the Duffins Creek Water Pollution Control Plant. On this issue, Joanne has presented at numerous public meetings to educate citizens on how the Plant is significantly contributing to phosphorus levels in the lake. This work represents one of many efforts made by Joanne to educate, lobby, and fight for an environmental standard in Durham that will lead to the betterment of the community and its ecologies.

Through her work rallying around globally significant projects like Stop the MAI, taking part in local activism with PACT POW, serving as an artist and creator with students, acting as a community educator, helping establish the St. Andrews Community Garden, and volunteering in Adopt-A-Road cleanups, Joanne has continually promoted the protection of the environment in many meaningful ways.

I am so incredibly grateful that she has shared with Ajax her concern for issues like water conservation and am even more grateful that she has taken leadership to ensure future use and enjoyment of our lakes and creeks.

In one sentence, what has been revealed through Joanne’s work is the radical impact a person can make when they are driven by their love for the community.

Kayla Ginter

Endorsement from Dr. Romas Stas

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Doctor Stas and the Friends of the Hospital. I’m proud of the accomplishments we have made on behalf of our local hospital.” #ReasonstovoteDIES #JoanneDies#RegionalCouncillorWard3