Case Study

Client: City of Mississauga
Date: 2021-2022

The Challenge
To help the City of Mississauga—Canada’s sixth-largest municipality—find an actionable, community-supported pathway to addressing anti-Black racism and inequity.

The Mission

In 2020, Mississauga adopted a resolution to address historic, pervasive and systemic anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism. The city launched its Black Community Engagement Initiative to address the issues with the community. Mississauga hired UpSurgence to design and implement a community engagement.  The project required broad-based consultation with the community and a multi-stage process to both maximize data collection and generate community support for recommendations. We developed a community engagement strategy that included community consultation and co-design.

Six community consultation sessions explored the themes Accessing Political Power In Canada; Accessing Mississauga’s Resources; Policing; Well-Being: Designing Healthy Black Communities; Accessing An Age-Friendly Society; and, Black Economic Empowerment. The sessions included polling questions to embed data acquisition in the process and establish baselines for measurable strategies. The sessions engaged more than 900 community participants, and incorporated City staff and 60 subject matter experts.

To further develop the community-based narratives raised in the consultation sessions, we conducted four community-driven co-design sessions, focused on Accessing Services and Better Care, Black Economic Empowerment, Black Inclusion Strategies, and Policing.

As a follow-up to the Policing consultation, we created an online co-design session with key stakeholders and subject matter experts to find effective ways to address community concerns through collaboration. Participants included: Peel Regional Police Deputy Marc Andrews, Superintendent Hubert Hiltz, Brenda McPhail from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Gerry McNeilly, the former director of Ontario’s Office of the Independent Police Review (OIPRD), members of the City of Mississauga Mayor’s Office, and the Mississauga Black Caucus. A one-on-one discussion with Peel Regional Police’s Deputy Chief, Anthony Odoardi, explored how the City could promote better community inclusion, buy-in and support for the implementation of new technologies within policing in Peel Region.

After comprehensive review and analysis, we drafted a set of over 60 recommendations to advancing inclusion, equity and accessibility for Mississauga’s Black communities. To ensure community buy-in to the recommendations, we conducted more than 40 one-on-one follow-up sessions with subject matter experts, generating clear support from corporate stakeholders, community leaders, faith-based leaders and Mississauga’s Black communities. With this community and stakeholder endorsement, we finalized and presented the recommendations report.

The Results

The report, First Steps: A Community-Driven Report on Making Mississauga more Equitable for Black Communities, presents actionable, community-endorsed recommendations to address anti-Black racism and systemic barriers. All 60 recommendations were unanimously adopted by Mississauga City Council in April 2022. View report