Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montreal, March 31, 2014 --- CRARR has officially lent support to a local English-speaking university lecturer and anti-oppression advocate who has filed a complaint of systemic racism in employment against McGill University and who needs assistance as the case goes to mediation.

Mr. Woo Jin Edward Lee, an award-winning Asian doctoral candidate at McGill University’s School of Social Work, active lecturer on anti-oppression and community organizer on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) refugees and immigrants, filed a complaint of systemic racism in employment last summer against the University after failing to be short-listed for an interview for two positions available as part-time faculty lecturers at the School.

Mr. Lee identified systemic factors in the hiring process such as the preference for clinical experience, which he believes to have an adverse impact on racialized people in Montreal. It is public knowledge that there are very few clinical professionals of color who are hired in these positions in local social service institutions. All five short-listed candidates were white women.

Racial under-representation and disparity in employment at the School is becoming an increasingly important issue that has been raised with the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) in its recent review of the School’s accreditation. Diversity and equity are key elements of the CASWE accreditation assessment.

The case has been transferred to mediation at the Commission, which is a positive development that will enable both parties to seek a constructive resolution of the case.

CRARR’s involvement reflects one of the organization’s priorities, which include combatting systemic racism in employment and public services as a response to the disproportionately high rate of unemployment among Black, Arab and other racialized communities in Montreal. It is expected that the divisive debates on Bill 60 or the Charter of Quebec Values will lead to more racial discrimination in employment.

Last year, CRARR was involved in helping a Black municipal civil servant win a landmark case of systemic racism in staff promotion at the City of Montreal (the Tanisma case). CRARR is also presently involved in several cases of systemic racism, including one involving race-gender-language bias in youth protection at the Centre jeunesse de Montréal; and several others of race discrimination in employment in different workplaces such as the City of Montreal and another West-Island municipality.