KITCHENER -- Waterloo Region chair Karen Redman says racism in Canada is real and requires action, which is why council is now asking for training on equity and anti-racism for all staff.

Calls for more education and training were heard at a regional council meeting Tuesday to help combat systemic racism and discrimination.

“The stories of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, D’Andre Campbell, and others like Jason Collins, Chantal Moore and Eishia Hudson have made us aware of the true nature of systemic racism in Canada,” says Redman.

During the virtual council meeting, chair Redman says to fight against this, change is needed.

She believes that change should begin within programs, services and policies at the local level.

“Ensure Black-led social services, serving Black, Indigenous and people of colour are funded equitably through our regional funding mechanisms and breaking down barriers for black and other marginalized groups through regional funding,” she explains.

The Black Lives Matter movement is highlighting the barriers for marginalized communities.

Redman says staff need training to better understand.

“Training on equity, anti-racism, for regional council and staff, as well as options on creating internal staff census.”

Council agreed and also called for a review of recommendations from people involved with the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Some self-reflection and self-interrogation on white privilege and I think that needs to be an essential part of all we need to do,” says regional councillor Tom Galloway.

Officials say this is only the first step in a journey that must be results-oriented.