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Rail’s (r)evolution on representation: our equity, diversity, and inclusion journey gaining momentum

This edition of the RAC Newsletter is coming to you on the eve of Canada’s second-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (or Orange Shirt Day, to some).

This national commemoration honours those who survived residential schools (and their families) and the memories of those who never returned home.

Canada, as a modern nation-state, is said to have been built on rail. But, of course, Indigenous peoples have lived on and nurtured the land we now know as Canada since time immemorial.

We honour their stewardship, and their countless contributions – those past, present, and future – on September 30 and year-round. I know many RAC members will recognize #NDTR2022 in ways meaningful to their employees and to their Indigenous partners. The RAC will mark this occasion on its social channels and our staff members are encouraged to reflect on contributions they can make as individuals (and that we can make as an association) toward advancing Canada’s reconciliation journey.

Every day, our member railways make important contributions to the communities they serve, including Indigenous communities. They are employers and true partners. Together, we are laying tracks for an even brighter future.

This month’s newsletter includes a feature on associate member, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, which is home to a fabulous School of Transportation on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy. SAIT is charting a new course for equity, diversity, inclusion, and reconciliation as it produces the next generation of Canadian rail leaders.

Indeed, RAC members are making important strides in advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion in all its forms.

VIA Rail is a shining example of this. We are pleased to feature an interview with Martine Rivard, VIA’s Chief Employee Experience Officer, for some insights into why that is the case.

Remembering back to this spring’s Women In Rail conference, a key learning from one our keynote presenters was the need for men to be more than allies but leaders in welcoming different experiences, perspectives, and lived realities. To make change, we all have a role to play. (You can hear more from Michael Kaufman by reading on in this newsletter.)

These are a few of the chapters in the broader story of how Canadian rail is embracing diversity in all its forms – a success story that continues to be written.

As Parliament has resumed and elections in Quebec and municipalities across Ontario are decided, please know your RAC Team in Ottawa remains hard at work for you. We’ve got your backs. And we’re making progress – both on immediate and long-term, transformational priorities – so rail’s many benefits are enjoyed by everyone in Canada.