OECM’s Statement on Anti-Racism, Diversity and Inclusion

July 2, 2020

OECM has a unique perspective on the world. We are an intermediary in a multi-billion-dollar procurement market with global supplier partners on one side, and the Ontario education sector, broader public sector and not-for-profit organizations on the other.

With the tragic deaths and protests taking place over the past several weeks here in Canada, the U.S. and around the world, we have felt the reverberations not only as individuals, but also as a business. Amongst our stakeholders, we have witnessed an outpouring of support for those who have had the courage to make their voices heard and their grievances known.

It has given us reason to pause and reflect on how we treat each other in our communities and in our workplace, and to renew our commitment to anti-racism and upholding our values around diversity and inclusion.

Many companies have expressed outrage at a racist overhang in society, where at the extreme, members of Black and Indigenous communities are killed, and countless others from all racialized groups do not find the success they deserve and suffer daily indignities and abuse, subtle and overt. Systemic racism creates ceilings for racialized people. Not at OECM.

We believe that our internal actions speak as loudly as our words. We give people a chance and help them to grow into their successes. We stand against systemic racism as a whole, and with respect to our value chain, particularly in educational institutions. We must stand united on this front, and we fully expect that our customers, supplier partners and stakeholders will do the same.

At OECM, our people are at the root of our success and our strength is in our diversity. Our values are evident throughout our organization, in our inclusive hiring practices, the diversity of our workforce, and the willingness of our staff to openly embrace, celebrate and share their culture, experiences, ideas and beliefs with each other. Amongst our 60+ employees, 24 languages are spoken. We believe in the inclusion of all people regardless of their race, colour, sex, gender, sexual orientation / identity / expression, age, national / ethnic origin, disability, religion, creed, marital and / or family status. We have a shared mission as a company, and we share our authentic selves as families and friends. We make an effort to find common ground.

In addition to continually supporting principles of diversity and inclusion in our workplace, OECM affirms our commitment to be an anti-racism organization. This means that:

  • We stand in solidarity with the Black and Indigenous communities, who both experience alarming rates of institutionalized violence in Canada.
  • We acknowledge the systemic racism that impacts the Black community, as well as our Indigenous community and all people of colour, professionally and personally and recognize that these racist structures underpin many of our institutions.
  • We also acknowledge that this is not new. There is a long history of race-based injustice and inequity which continues to persist into the present.
  • We stand with the educators, students and their parents who have become targets of racial abuse in schools and on campuses.
  • We believe that educational institutions, their governance structures and their administrations must be held accountable when perpetuating systemic racism.

We must do better and trying to do so can be uncomfortable and even painful to some, but we have found that the greatest challenges bear the greatest rewards. We must tackle the questions of how systemic racism creates barriers and inequality in the workplace and in society.

We at OECM pledge to do our part to support those who speak out against injustice and inequality. We will continually do the work to self-educate and seek out new resources to practice anti-racism, while upholding our values around diversity and inclusivity. We will continue to provide professional development to our staff members that reflects the needs of the workforce today and of the future, and we will purposefully study and respond to the impacts of racism throughout our organization. Lastly, we will work to support supply chain initiatives and community programs aimed at breaking down barriers and achieving concrete and meaningful change. It is time to end systemic racism everywhere.

Through this statement we add our voice to those who have the courage to speak out. Racism and discrimination of any type have no place in our society, not today, not ever.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and OECM team.


John A. Sabo
President & CEO
Dr. F. Haider Alvi
Chair of the Board

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