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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

How to be an Ally in Discriminatory Situations

June 21, 2022

Stay Safe

First and foremost your safety always comes first. Although we want to protect and support others you must make sure you are in a position to do so. Otherwise, it will not be helpful and will do more harm than good. If you are unsure if you will be safe it is best to stay back until you know it is safe.


Intervene when it is safe to do so. Intervening could just mean approaching and removing the unsafe individual from the situation and ensuring they are alright. If you would like, you can also speak with the person who is causing harm to someone and defend the individual. Explain why their behaviour is inappropriate and unacceptable. If possible, check on the individual(s) afterward to make sure they are okay. Sometimes events such as these are not immediately traumatizing. It could be a few days, weeks, months, or even years before events like this become traumatic. If needed, offer support in the form of finding a professional service that will most appropriately meet their needs.

Ask for Help

If you do not feel comfortable or safe intervening you can always ask for help. Ask a friend or family member to come along with you for backup. You can even ask if they can address the situation themselves if you do not feel capable. This will protect you as well as the person being harmed so that everyone can be safe.

Video Tape

In certain situations, if the individual gives consent you can videotape a dangerous situation that is getting out of hand. That way the individual will later have proof of the wrongdoing and use it for legal action purposes if necessary. It can also be taken to Instagram to help receive support from others and be used as a message. Although the internet can be a cruel place it can also be a way to spread information quickly and efficiently. Be prepared for the video to have potential backlash.

Call People In

Take a minute if you feel comfortable calling people in. Let them know why what they are doing is not okay and educate them on why. It does not have to be a confrontational conversation. Educating others is important if you want to see change. People may not have access to the same information and resources as you. Understand that some people do not want to learn and will completely dismiss what you tell them, but that is okay!

Don’t Speak on People’s Behalves

People often start speaking for the individual(s), which can prevent them from advocating for themselves. This can lead to the individual(s) feeling further disempowered, which is not the intent of the intervention. It can also allow for the perpetuation of misconceptions. Be sure to allow them to speak and make a safe space for them to do that.

Don’t be a Bystander

Being a bystander means normalizing the discrimination an individual faces, and to make them feel as if what is happening to them is okay and something they just have to live with because they are part of a marginalized group. We never want to make anyone feel this way.  

Be an ally. 

Use your privilege in a positive manner to speak up for those who are facing discrimination. If you are against all forms of discrimination, you should do your part to speak out against it. 

Remember that this doesn’t just apply to conversations with strangers. This also means speaking against prejudicial statements made by your family and friends. People cannot be completely blamed for the ignorance of their past, but they should be held accountable for remaining ignorant after being educated.




By Beverly Wirkkunen