Equity, Diversity and Inclusion on Campus

News and Events

Take part in the Black History Month Social Justice Book Club

February 3, 2023

Black History Month

The Social Justice Book Club is an initiative put on by the Anti-Racism Steering Committee to create a space for students, faculty and staff to foster a learning community that advances Truth & Reconciliation, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The title of a book will be shared and then there will be an opportunity for participants to share in a facilitated discussion to explore the impact of the book. The discussion questions will be shared in advance on the Social Justice Book Club website as well as emailed to the discussion session registrants.

Join us for our first Social Justice Book Club event centered around Black History Month:

Step 1:

Pick up There’s Something in the Water by Ingrid R. G. Waldron from the Campus bookstore, or your local library, and read the book during February and March and/or watch the documentary about the book on Apple TV or Prime Video.

Step 2:

Join us on Tue. Mar. 28th from 12-1pm in CM27 (Active Learning Classroom) at NDC for an in-person in-depth discussion about the book OR on Wed. Mar. 29th from 12-1pm for a virtual in-depth discussion about the book

To register for one of the synchronous sessions, click on this link.

For questions about the Social Justice Book Club, email diversity@rrc.ca

Sharing Stories for Black History Month: Tanya Hansen Pratt

February 1, 2023

February is Black History Month, an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black Canadians and their communities, who have been a part of shaping Canada’s heritage and identity. Throughout February we will be highlighting and sharing the stories of Black staff, students, members of our Board of Governors as well as alumni. Stay tuned to the Diversity blog and RRC Polytech’s social media to learn more about members of our College community.

Tanya Hansen Pratt, CET, Instructor, Mechanical Engineering Technology at RRC Polytech

Tanya Hansen Pratt. Photo credit: Jessica Burzminski

I began working as an instructor at RRC Polytech in the Mechanical Engineering Technology program in 2021, the same program I graduated from many years ago. I have worked in the HVAC industry for over 20 years, initially in technical sales, then I transitioned into application engineering, design engineering, technical writing and marketing. This industry experience eventually brought me full circle back to where my career as a technologist began.

As an instructor, I hope my presence as a woman of colour does two things: First, I hope I can add to the diversity of thought and experience among the staff at the college to provide the best possible education for our increasingly diverse student body. Secondly, I hope my presence gives our students permission to be their authentic selves. There is someone out there, maybe in my classroom or maybe someone thinking about attending RRC Polytech, that sees me and sees a little bit of themselves, and it helps them stand taller and stronger knowing that someone else has walked the path in front of them and made it a little safer to follow along exactly as they are.

As an engineering technologist, I’ve always worked in male-dominated spaces with very little diversity. I spent many years of my career before coming to RRC Polytech being the only woman and only person of colour in my department. My lived experience has always been vastly different from that of my coworkers. I am reminded daily of my female-blackness, whereas their male-whiteness rarely crosses their minds. Microagressions, sexism, and racism have been common occurrences in my life, so I’ve learned to navigate the world as a person who is constantly othered.

Representation makes all the difference to someone like me. It’s so much easier to walk in a space when I know I’m not going to be stared at or judged: I can just be myself. I once combed out my locs and straightened my hair for a job interview because I knew my natural hair might be frowned upon in a conservative engineering department. I did get the job and when I put my locs back in (when my probation period was over), another black woman who worked there told me she loved my hair and decided to stop straightening her hair and wear it naturally, too! Representation matters.

In some small ways, I think I’ve turned my life experience into an advantage. I can read a room instantly and I’m quick to read facial expressions and body language. I’m used to working hard because people often underestimate me. I recently attended an event and, as often happens during introductions and small talk, we began discussing what we did for a living. I was asked by a gentleman at the table how I managed to get a job as an instructor. He was absolutely convinced that I couldn’t have been qualified and must have been used to fill a quota. He repeated his beliefs to me in front of several others who remained silent throughout the conversation. He made assumptions about me based on the colour of my skin, and the people at the table remained silent – and complicit. Being underestimated makes me dig in my heels and work hard to prove them wrong.

As an instructor, I hope my presence as a woman of colour does two things: First, I hope I can add to the diversity of thought and experience among the staff at the college to provide the best possible education for our increasingly diverse student body. Secondly, I hope my presence gives our students permission to be their authentic selves. There is someone out there, maybe in my classroom or maybe someone thinking about attending RRC Polytech, that sees me and sees a little bit of themselves, and it helps them stand taller and stronger knowing that someone else has walked the path in front of them and made it a little safer to follow along exactly as they are.

Celebrating Black History Month

January 31, 2023

February is Black History Month, an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black Canadians and their communities, who have been a part of shaping Canada’s heritage and identity. You can learn more about Black history in Canada on the Government of Canada website.

Black History Month at RRC Polytech

Throughout the month, the College will be highlighting and sharing some personal stories from Black staff, students, alumni and members of our Board of Governors. Stay tuned to the Diversity blog and RRC Polytech’s social media!

Library & Academic Services has created the Anti-Black Racism Learning Toolkit to help everyone better understand racism and how to take action against it.

The Anti-Racism Committee is partnering with Library and Academic Services to host a “Book Tasting” event.

  • Exchange District Campus: Library; February 27, 11 am – 1 pm
  • Notre Dame Campus: Active Learning Classroom (CM27) in the Library; February 28, 11 am – 1 pm

What is a book tasting? Just as you might try little bites or samples of food, a book tasting provides an opportunity to sample books that have been selected in spirit of celebrating Black History Month. Select a menu item that interests you in our faux restaurant setting, read the summary on the back, the first few pages, or even just the critical acclaim.

During the event, staff and students will have the opportunity to check out books written by Black Canadian authors. The Anti-Racism Committee will also be launching a Social Justice Book Club soon, more details about this event will be shared soon.


RRC Polytech staff and students are invited to join the Anti-Racism Committee for the final presentation of a four-part virtual speaker series featuring champions of equity, diversity, and inclusion accompanied by a moderated panel discussion designed to inspire change. This online event will be held on February 8, 12-1pm, over Zoom. The keynote speaker is Dr. Danièle Behn Smith. Read more and register here.

All students, faculty, and staff are also invited to attend a series of Anti-Racism educational workshops, either in person in the Connected Classroom (G139) at Notre Dame Campus or online. Through the workshops, critical concepts of race and racism will be unpacked for participants as contextualized in Canadian history and society. From this learning, participants will have a clear understanding of how racism operates and be provided with some initial strategies for taking an active role to eliminate barriers to access and equity.

Date & TimeWorkshop NameRegistration Link
February 8
12:00 – 1:00
Understanding Systemic RacismWebex
February 22
12:00 – 1:00
Acknowledging Systemic Racism in Canadian SocietyWebex

Staff are encouraged to complete the Anti-Racism training on LEARN this month, if you haven’t already. The course speaks to unconscious bias, microaggressions, systemic racism, and privilege and purposefully challenges our staff to act when confronted with racism or discrimination, to create safe learning and working environments for all.

As we celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black Canadians, we also recognize the importance of equity and inclusion beyond the month of February. At RRC Polytech, we are committed to pursuing equity, diversity and inclusion in everything we do, year-round.


Additional Resources:

If you have any questions, please contact us at diversity@rrc.ca.

Diversity Speaker Series: Dr. Danièle Behn Smith

January 23, 2023

You’re Invited – Addressing Structural Racism in Canada’s Healthcare System – Featured Expert and Virtual Panel Discussion

Health and healing, both mental and physical can present major challenges for Indigenous people and others in marginalized groups to work, learn and thrive. One of the areas that Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified to address in its 94 Calls to Action is Health. The effects of generations of trauma continue to be passed down in these communities and barriers caused by systemic or structural racism is resulting in a significant gap in health outcomes for Indigenous people across Canada.

Join RRC Polytech’s Anti-Racism Committee for the final presentation of a four-part virtual speaker series featuring champions of equity, diversity, and inclusion accompanied by a moderated panel discussion designed to inspire change.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Danièle Behn Smith. As B.C.’s Deputy Provincial Health Officer – Indigenous Health, she works alongside Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry to provide independent advice and support to the Ministry of Health to advance the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples and truth and reconciliation. 

Dr. Danièle Behn Smith

Dr. Behn Smith is Eh Cho Dene (Big Animal People) of the Fort Nelson First Nation in B.C. with French Canadian/Métis roots in the Red River Valley. As both a physician and health leader, her work recognizes self-determination as the foundation of health and wellness among First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, and the importance of Indigenous approaches and healing systems.

She advocates for upholding the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples by illuminating and arresting the ways in which inherited ideologies of white supremacy and racism insidiously show up in everyday public health practices, policies, and approaches.  

A pair of local panelists from racialized communities will then join the discussion to share their experiences and suggestions and respond to questions from the audience.


Event Details

Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2023 

Time: Noon – 1pm

Host: RRC Polytech’s Anti-Racism Committee via ZOOM

Moderator: Ginger Arnold, Instructor, Social Innovation and Community Development

Click to Register


We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals to engage fully. If you require any accommodations, please contact kmichie@rrc.ca. For all other questions, please contact diversity@rrc.ca.

If you have technical difficulties when logging on to this Zoom event, please contact kmichie@rrc.ca or text 204-299-8000. 

Reflections on World Braille Day

January 19, 2023

The following post was written by Scott Best, who graduated from RRC Polytech’s Creative Communications program in 2015. During his time at the College, Scott engaged with the Student Accessibility Services department to access tools and equipment which helped him successfully complete his program and move into a fulfilling career.

World Braille Day was Jan. 4, 2023. I’m completely blind, and I’ve been a Braille user since I was five years old. I don’t use it as much as I did back in elementary school, but just like printing and handwriting for sighted people, Braille is still very important. If technology breaks down, I still have a low-tech backup.

The Beginning

I learned to write in Braille on a Perkins Brailler that would punch out the dots on heavy paper, and my educational assistants would transcribe the print words above my Braille ones. By the time I became a student in the Creative Communications Program at Red River College Polytechnic (RRC Polytech), I still used Braille, but as more of a companion to technology.

My College Experience

Pictured: Scott Best

At RRC Polytech, I used a screen reading program (and still do) called JAWS for Windows to do most of my computer work that didn’t involve Braille. However, it was important for me to use Braille for taking notes, so I could be aware of what I was writing without disturbing my fellow students and my instructors.

In class, I used a braille note-taker called a Braille Sense, which is a laptop with no screen and a Braille display at the bottom. This was also how I did most of my assignments.

I used my Braille Sense for my assignments, rather than just a screen reader, so I could proofread my work. Proofreading in Braille was extremely important because in Creative Communications, we would automatically fail an assignment if we spelled names or other specific things wrong.

Once I had written one or two drafts of my assignments, I would eventually transfer them to a regular computer with JAWS, so I could format them properly and either print them in traditional print or email them to my instructors. I was able to prepare the assignments in a way that worked for me and give them to my instructors in a way that worked for them. It was really the best of both worlds.

I would receive my books and assignment handouts in electronic format, which was far faster, more efficient and took up less space than Braille. However, I could put the material on my Braille Sense if I wanted to access any of it in Braille. That was also the best of both worlds.

We had to do a lot of reading out loud in Creative communications, so the college allowed me to use Braille Translation software called Duxbury Braille Translator and a Braille embosser so I could emboss things like newscasts or ad copy that I needed to read in class or use for audio production assignments.

It was possible to read out loud using the Braille display on my Braille Sense, but because you had to refresh the display as you read, it was a lot harder to read out loud and sound smooth and natural.

Through it all, the College’s Accessibility Services was a huge help to me. They gave me everything I needed to be successful as a student and never questioned the accommodations I asked for.

After RRC Polytech

Today, I use Braille in much the same way as I did at RRC Polytech. I’m a writer and an editor for the provincial government, where I edit documents for the public to make sure they conform to government style and are written in plain language. I use my screen reader almost exclusively for that work, but I do use Braille a lot for my volunteer work.

On evenings and weekends, I work as a volunteer radio host for a terrestrial and an Internet radio station. I use my braille Sense to make up my playlists and notes about the songs and artists I play.

Technology has progressed so that I can now connect my iPhone to my Braille Sense and access almost anything on the phone using its voiceover feature or the Braille Sense’s Braille display. No matter how advanced technology gets, I’m glad that I learned Braille. It was the basis for everything else and certainly deserves to be celebrated every year around the world.

Join the Intercultural Partnership Program – Apply Today!

January 16, 2023

International Students skating at Nestaweya River Trail – February 2019

Do you have a genuine interest and curiosity to learn about other cultures? Are you excited to share your own culture with others and willing to have insightful conversations about life experiences and perspectives? Do you enjoy being able to explore all that Winnipeg has to offer?

The Intercultural Partnership Program is looking for individuals just like you to take part in a cross-cultural volunteer experience this term. The program is a fun experience and truly makes a difference in the lives of local and global partners. Staff can participate and/or promote this program in their classrooms.

This partnership program matches Global Partners (immigrant or international students) with Local Partners (anyone with 1+ years of experience in Canada) for a fun and rewarding intercultural experience! 
  
It’s a fun way to explore Winnipeg, make new friends, get involved in campus life, and develop valuable intercultural communication skills. Free tickets to events and activities are part of this program. 
  
The volunteer commitment is a total of 10 hours of time from February to March. Your commitment includes a 1-hour orientation meeting, 7 hours of partner meeting time, and the completion of a final survey. Once you finish, you will receive a Certificate of Participation and a reference letter upon request. 
  
Two $1,000 Awards are available for partnerships that embrace the spirit of Partnership! 
  
Visit our website: https://www.rrc.ca/diversity/partnerships-awards/partnership/. The deadline for winter applications is Friday, January 20th.
  
For more information, please get in touch with Lauren Dominici, Partnership Program Coordinator at 204.632.2317 or imp@rrc.ca

Anti-Racism & You: An Educational Workshop Series to Learn, Understand, and Act

January 5, 2023

RRC Intercultural Mentorship Party, 2013

We know that diversity is one of our greatest strengths, and its fullness is only realized when injustices and inequalities are challenged by people standing up, speaking out, and pushing back against racism in all its forms.

Our goal in the RRC Polytech community is to transform our culture and institution where anti-racism guides our leadership, policies, and actions.

The journey of Anti-Racism finds folks on many different paths, or some are not sure which direction to take. Open to RRC Polytech students, faculty, and staff, a series of Anti-Racism educational workshops are set to take place this Winter 2023 term. Through the workshops, critical concepts of race and racism will be unpacked for participants as contextualized in Canadian history and society. From this learning, participants will have a clear understanding of how racism operates and be provided with some initial strategies for taking an active role to eliminate barriers to access and equity.

The workshops will occur at the Connected Classroom Studio (G139) on the Notre Dame Campus. All events will occur from 12:00-13:00 unless otherwise noted. On-campus registration is limited to 50 participants. Online participants will receive a link to access the event’s live stream. For accessibility purposes, an ASL interpreter will be hosted at the live event and captured in the video recordings for anyone requiring interpretation.

Please use the links below for registration purposes, both for on-campus and online registrants.

Date & TimeWorkshop NameRegistration Link
Wednesday, January 25, 2023
11:00 – 13:00
Understanding Race and RacializationWebex
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
12:00 – 13:00
Understanding Systemic RacismWebex
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
12:00 – 13:00
Acknowledging Systemic Racism in Canadian SocietyWebex
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
12:00 – 13:00
Identifying Systemic Racism in Canada TodayWebex
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
12:00 – 13:00
Challenging Systemic Racism in the Canadian WorkplaceWebex
Wednesday, April 5, 2023
12:00 – 13:00
Identifying Our PrivilegeWebex
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
12:00 – 13:00
Becoming an AllyWebex

2SLGBTQIA+ Ally Development Workshop

January 5, 2023

RRC Polytech community participating in the 2022 Winnipeg Pride Parade

As we have navigated our family upbringing, schooling, and personal relationships, in different sociocultural contexts, we may have learned and understood gender and sexual diversity, and the experiences of 2SLGBTQIA+ (Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-identified, Queer, Intersex, Asexual/Ally, + – All sexual and gender minorities) in different ways.

This workshop provides some history and fundamental awareness to support gender and sexual diversity and develop basic allyship practices for access, equity, and inclusion of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. With this training, we will uncover the assumptions about and the barriers facing the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, contextualize the rights of 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals, and provide support in developing strategies to respond supportively to disclosure and include personal pronouns in everyday life.

All on-campus participants will be provided snacks and beverages, along with a chance to win a door prize! Register today for your chance to win!

Date: Wednesday, January 11th, 2023
Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm Central Time – US & Canada
Location: Connected Classroom, Emerging Media and Production Studios – access Mall level, heading toward North Gym
Campus: Notre Dame Campus + Online access

Click here to register for the workshop

This on-campus workshop is offered in the Connected Classroom at the Notre Dame Campus. Students and faculty can register in advance for a seat in the Connected Classroom, but space is limited to 50 participants. To increase access to these workshops, Emerging Media and Production is live-streaming each workshop through Webex for any registered online participants. A content recording will also be available after the event for students and instructors to access, and audience discussions will be edited out of the recording to respect the brave conversations of participants. 

Diversity Counts on Our Campuses: Thanks for Your Participation

December 14, 2022

Diversity Counts Ambassadors

This September, RRC Polytech launched the Diversity Counts on Our Campuses survey that encouraged employees and staff to complete a Diversity Self-Identification Survey and self-identify as belonging to one or more designated equity-deserving groups.

At RRC Polytech we recognize that diversity is one of our greatest strengths. The Diversity Self-Identification Survey helps us better understand the representation of equity-deserving groups on our campuses and allows us to use this data to assess our current EDI initiatives, programs and policies and make meaningful progress towards our shared priorities.

We’re pleased to share the 2022 participation rates from the survey are:

  • Employee Participation: 27%
  • Student Participation: 8%

The participate rates reflect those employees and students who took the time to complete the survey and either submit a new declaration; or modify an existing declaration. Further to the data collected through this and survey and declarations upon hire, we currently have an overall employee participation rate of 92% since 2019. This gives us meaningful and representative data to work with.

We are currently analyzing the survey data. Stay tuned to the Diversity blog as we will share further results at the beginning of 2023.

If you didn’t have an opportunity to complete a self-identification survey yet, you still can! The Diversity Self-Identification Survey is always open. Everyone is encouraged to complete the survey, even if you do not identify with the five designated equity-deserving groups or have previously self-identified. In order to get the most accurate picture of our College community and inform future EDI initiatives, programs and policies, it’s beneficial for everyone to make their voices heard and representation known by self-identifying.

Click here to self-identify.

2SLGBTQIA+ Inclusion 101 – Gender and Sexual Diversity Awareness Workshop

November 24, 2022

RRC Polytech – Winnipeg Pride Parade, 2022

Gender and Sexual Diversity Awareness Workshop #1 – Understanding Gender and Sexual Diversity

As we have navigated our family upbringing, schooling, and personal relationships in different socio-cultural contexts, we may have learned and understood gender and sexual diversity, and the experiences of 2SLGBTQIA+ (Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-identified, Queer, Intersex, Asexual/Ally, + – All sexual and gender minorities), in different ways. 

This introductory workshop aims to update our framework and terminology around gender and sexual diversity, as well as expand our understanding and advocacy. 

All on-campus participants will be provided snacks and beverages, along with a chance to win a door prize! Register today for your chance to win!

Date: Wednesday, December 7th, 2022
Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm Central Time – US & Canada
Location: Connected Classroom, Emerging Media and Production Studios – access Mall level, heading toward North Gym
Campus: Notre Dame Campus + Online access

Click here to register for the workshop

This on-campus workshop is offered in the Connected Classroom at the Notre Dame Campus. Students and faculty can register in advance for a seat in the Connected Classroom, but space is limited to 50 participants. To increase access to these workshops, Emerging Media and Production is live-streaming each workshop through Webex for any registered online participants. A content recording will also be available after the event for students and instructors to access, and audience discussions will be edited out of the recording to respect the brave conversations of participants.

Next workshopGender and Sexual Diversity Awareness: Uncovering Assumptions and Barriers, Wednesday, January 11, 2023 (12-1pm)