The Importance of Collecting Race-Based Data Across the Health Care and Justice Systems

Provincial HSJCC 2019 Conference

Keynote Panel Discussion | Monday, November 4th, 2019

This panel discussion was focused on the importance of collecting race-based data across the health care and justice systems in Ontario. The collection of race-based statistics is critical in order to improve interactions for racialized populations with mental health and addictions issues and increase awareness about the impact of racialization on the health care and justice systems. It is also important to track the pathways of racialized populations and increase transparency within the justice system; and to provide helpful information that could be used in the development of criminal justice, health and social policy.

The panel discussion aimed to facilitate cooperation between sectors, improving police, court, corrections and health care relations with our client population and eliminating harms or fatalities in the future. Each panelist share the critical issues, options and recommendations from their professional vantage point as well as from their lived experience as members of racialized communities in Ontario. Listen to a recording of the discussion on Soundcloud.

Introductions: Uppala Chandrasekera, Director of Public Policy, CMHA Ontario
Moderator: Renu Mandhane, Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission
Inspector Stacy Clarke, Toronto Police Service
Notisha Massaquoi, Community Leader
Kimberly Roach, Racialized Community Strategy Lead, Legal Aid Ontario
Tanya L. Sharpe, Associate Professor, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto

Speaker Bios:

Renu Mandhane (Moderator)

Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission

Renu Mandhane was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission in October 2015. She is the former Executive Director of the award-winning International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. She has an LL.M in international human rights law from New York University. Renu began her practice focused on criminal law, and in that capacity,  she represented many survivors of sexual violence and prisoners. Renu has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada and the United Nations. Most recently, Renu was recognized by Canadian Lawyer magazine as one of Canada’s most influential lawyers for her advocacy related to solitary confinement.

Inspector Stacy Clarke

Toronto Police Service

Inspector Stacy Clarke is the second in command at 14 Division, which includes priority and community response officers, district special constables, civilian and auxiliary members.  She was a co-chair of the Police and Community Engagement Review (PACER) for the Toronto Police Service.

Stacy’s diverse policing career has included working in primary and community response units, intelligence, homicide, criminal investigative bureau, professional standards and the Toronto Police College.  She is known for implementing the Province’s Street check Legislation.  This was one of her many accomplishments as Master Trainer and Controller of legislation 58/16 – The Collection of Identifying Information in Certain Circumstances.  She continually communicates her honest belief in the advancement of policing and efforts to reinforce community trust and, simultaneously, effective policing.

Stacy is a believer in continued education. She has received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminology and has completed many leadership programs such as the FBI Leeda Trilogy.  She is a 2018 Civic Action Fellow and is one of the 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women for 2018. 

Stacy gives much of her success to her strong Jamaican upbringing and remains most proud of her two children, Jahnya and Kafany.  Inspector Clarke often speaks to the importance of being determined with direction.  In 2017, she created her why statement that reads in part, “My goal is not to live forever but to create something that will”.

Notisha Massaquoi

Community Leader

Notisha Massaquoi is originally from Sierra Leone and is a highly respected expert in designing programs and services which aim to increase access to primary healthcare for Black women. During her lengthy career she has facilitated the development of several health organizations for Black communities in Canada including Africans in Partnership Against AIDS and the African Resource Centre.  She recently retired after 21 years as the Executive Director of Women’s Health in Women’s Hands which is the only community health centre in Canada which specifically provides primary healthcare for racialized women. Her research and numerous publications have focused on the use of health equity data to improve health outcomes for Black women as well as the impact of racism on the health and wellbeing of Black communities.  Notisha is currently a lecturer at the Ryerson University Faculty of Social Work and she is the Co-Chair of the Anti-Racism Advisory Panel of the Toronto Police Services Board which was recently responsible for producing the first mandatory race based data collection policy for a police service in Canada.

Kimberly Roach

Racialized Community Strategy Lead – Legal Aid Ontario

Kimberly Roach joined Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) in 2015 as policy counsel and lead of LAO’s Racialized Communities Strategy. Prior to her arrival at LAO, she was at the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic where she was staff lawyer for 4 years. While at the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic, Kimberly assisted in development of holistic strategies that leveraged partnerships with community agencies and LAO to address the needs of low income and vulnerable individuals. Kimberly has worked as a legal service provider in all regions of the province (GTA, North Central East and Southwest) served by LAO, and is keenly aware of the issues faced by racialized and vulnerable communities in different areas of the province.

In addition to an LL.B from the University of Ottawa, Kimberly also holds a B.A. Honours in History and Political Science and an M.A. in History  with a focus on the African Diaspora.

Tanya L. Sharpe

Associate Professor, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto 

Tanya Sharpe joined the Factor-Inwentash Faculty in July 2018 after serving as an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work for 11 years. She received her Ph.D. in Social Work from Boston College located in Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Sharpe is a community-based researcher who is passionately committed to the development of culturally responsive approaches and sustainable opportunities allowing Black communities to thrive in the face of homicide violence. Her research examines sociocultural factors that influence the coping strategies of Black family members and friends of homicide victims. She has developed culturally appropriate interventions and best practices designed to assist African-American survivors of homicide victims in the management of their grief and bereavement. Her comprehensive Model of Coping for African-American Survivors of Homicide Victims (MCAASHV) (Sharpe, 2015) has informed the development of a psychosocial educational intervention (Sharpe, Iwamoto, Massey & Michalopoulos, 2018), and a tool of measurement designed to assess the needs and coping strategies of African American survivors of homicide victims.

Through interdisciplinary collaborations, Dr. Sharpe will utilize her track record of diverse community engagement to expand upon her seminal research findings by advancing our understanding and delivery of services to African, Caribbean and Black survivors of homicide victims throughout our global community. Tanya’s expertise also includes: Mass Violence and Disaster Research; Qualitative Research Methods; Suicide Prevention and Education Research; and Community Organizing and Program Development.

Dr. Sharpe currently holds the Endowed Chair in Social Work in the Global Community at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and is the recipient of multiple awards: Boston College School of Social Work’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the Governor of Maryland’s Victim Assistance Award, the NASW Maryland Chapter’s 2016 Social Work Educator of the Year, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Diversity Recognition Award for Outstanding University of Maryland, Baltimore Faculty, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Special Recognition Award for co-developing a course entitled Freddie Gray-Baltimore: Past, Present and Moving Forward, and the University of Maryland’s Organization of African-American Students in Social Work’s Inaugural Spotlight Award.