July 14, 2020
On Monday, June 29th, prominent leaders in Canada’s tech and innovation sectors launched a new initiative called the Coalition of Innovation Leaders Against Racism (“CILAR”) to combat systemic racism in the innovation sector. The founding group consists of twenty-five people with ties to tech incubators, governments, start-ups, banks, academic institutions, investment business, and insurance companies with Claudette McGowan, Global Executive Officer, Cyber, of TD Bank nominated as chair. Prominent founders of the group include KMPG, OMERS, HP Canada, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Ryerson University and the City of Toronto. The initiative will be incubated at MaRs Discovery District who will provide support and ecosystem access.
CILAR’s mandate is to connect Black people, Indigenous peoples and people of colour to the innovation sector and end systemic racism within the sector by using the strong institutional influence of its members as leverage and by taking a system-focused approach. CILAR will specifically focus on five priorities: youth development skills, job opportunities, venture and founder support, investment and funding as well as community leadership. While CILAR will be focused on the innovation economy, the coalition will collaborate with other initiatives in other sectors, including the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism.
The creation of CILAR comes in the wake of a renewed focus on issues of systemic racism and discrimination across the world. Other initiatives like the DMZ’s Black Innovation Fellowship have also recently renewed their efforts in addressing the issue, announcing a $1 million expansion for the program.
Author: Zhiyao Chen