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OUSA Learns: a 3-part education series to enhance the DEI competency of all OUSA members and delegates

Please aim to complete all modules and reflections before attending the General Assembly.

Module 1: introduction to anti-oppression, anti-oppressive practices and social location

What to expect in this module

  • 20-40 minute time commitment, depending on your pace (all learnings are self-paced)
  • An overview of key concepts including: anti-oppression, AOPs, ESGs, social location and social responsibility

Acronyms & definitions used in this module

  • DEI: diversity, equity and inclusion
  • IDEAA: inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility and antiracism (used interchangeably with DEI at times)
    • Inclusion:  an inclusive workplace is one where every employee, community member, and visitor feels a sense of belonging in the work environment. It is entering a room and knowing that you are safe from prejudice, discrimination, and stereotypes.
    • Diversity: a measure of the different lived experiences present in the workplace. A diverse work environment welcomes the rich perspectives of equity-seeking communities and values their lived experiences alongside their professional qualifications.
    • Equity: the process of ensuring every individual in an organization and community has the resources they need to succeed in their goals.
    • Accessibility: the pursuit of universal design whereby all spaces, virtual or physical are built with the needs of everyone in mind.
    • Antiracism: the active practice of undoing the harms of race-based discrimination and persecution within our communities.
  • AOP: an anti-oppressive practice that aims to reduce harm propagated towards ESGs
  • Systemic oppression: occurs when systems and programs in society dedicated to the welfare of its citizens are designed to exclude  certain populations. These populations are called ESGs
  • ESG: equity-seeking group; a population that has been excluded from fairly accessing healthcare, welfare, education, legal and human rights systems. ESGs experience a number of documented and well-researched downstream impacts such as poorer health status, intergenerational poverty, reduced education and lower rates of employment overall.
  • Social location: the combination of internal, external and organizational characteristics that determine our access to systems and programs for welfare, healthcare and education.

Module summary

Systemic-oppression occurs when groups of people are denied fair access to systems that determine the overall wellbeing for citizens.

Affected groups are referred to as ESGs or equity-seeking groups.

These groups are denied access to systems based on their social location, which is a combination of characteristics such as race, gender, age, ethnicity, religious observance, sexual expression and more.

ESGs experience unjust and disturbing downstream effects such as increased levels of poverty, unemployment, reduced education and poor health status.

Module 2: Indigenous Specific Anti-Racism (ISAR)

What to expect from Module 2

Module 2 explores the unique race-based discrimination known as Indigenous-specific racism (ISR) and ways to combat its impacts at OUSA.

This session will take participants through the history of ISR and oppression against Indigenous people in Canada, as well as around the globe.

Definitions and acronyms

ISR: Indigenous Specific Racism

ISAR: Indigenous Specific Antiracism

Neocolonization: when a country, most times a former colonizer, exploits the resources of another nation. Neocolonization leads to fragile economies, lower human-development-index scores in the nations from which resources are being extracted, and abject poverty for the average citizen. Meanwhile, colonizing nations continue to grow, advance, accelerate their development and are seen as legitimate world leaders.


ISAR is a necessary strategy consisting of policies, education, training and initiatives to dismantle Indigenous-specific racism in the workplace and learning environment.

ISAR is separate from Anti-racism, which is a broader category, because it focuses on the institutional racism propagated towards Indigenous populations enshrined in acts such as the Indian Act of 1876.

This, and other legislation, has relegated Indigenous people to a lower strata and quality of life seen across systems, but especially in the healthcare system, where Indigenous people face higher risks of mortality due to implicit biases of providers.

Module 3: Anti-Black Racism

What to expect from Module 3

Module 3 explores the global race-based discrimination known as Anti-Black racism, or ABR.

This session will take participants through the history of anti-Black racism, data indicators of equity-focused research, and ongoing barriers faced by Black students in North America.

Definitions and acronyms

ABR: Anti-Black racism

Global North: A reference to the collective western powers that are seen as “advanced, the first world” whose economies and development was made possible through the slave economy

Global South: Those countries which are former colonies of the European empires in Asia, South America and Africa that experience debilitating effects due to ongoing neocolonization


Anti-Black Racism (ABR) is a form of institutional racism propagated towards Black people.

The pillar of institutional ABR was established during the trans-atlantic slave trade, during which people from the African continent were enslaved and sold, birthing the era of chattel slavery.

Chattel slavery became the primary economic model for the Americas, and was used by European nations to expand the European mission across continents. As a result, the advancement of what we consider to be modern and developed countries was built on the enslavement, brutalization and genocide of ABR.

The downstream effects of ABR on Black populations in Canada, as well as around the world, carries devastating impacts on quality and length of life, as well as access to education and other public systems of social welfare and well-being.

As ABR is a global system, people of colour also participate in ABR both domestically and in the global south. As such, DEI and foundational antiracism is not enough to dismantle the effects of ABR, and ABR should be pursued by all non-Black people.