KPE Task Force on Race and Indigeneity


February 16, 2018: Our anonymous feedback tool is now available. Tell us how you've experienced issues related to race and Indigeneity at the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education here.

January 15, 2018: In order for the KPE Task Force on Race and Indigeneity to make progress on its many goals, we need to open up the lines of communication. In the coming weeks, we will be inviting everyone in our community, including current and former undergraduate and graduate students, community users of our facilities, current and former varsity athletes and current and former staff to tell us how they have experienced issues related to race and Indigeneity at KPE by sharing their thoughts and experiences using our anonymous feedback tool. We value and welcome your stories and ensure your input will be confidential. A link to this tool will be shared here and communicated broadly in a number of ways, including via our KPE Twitter account, in the coming weeks.

January 10, 2018: Read the U of T News story about the Task Force: Truth and Reconciliation: KPE digs deep on issues of race and Indigeneity

October 27, 2017: Read the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education news story about the launch event with the working group members: KPE makes progress on race and Indigeneity task force

The Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KPE) has a strong history through task forces, needs based programs, curriculum development and research of leadership in areas of equity and inequity in sport, recreational and curricular programs. The 1994 Gender Equity Task Force, the 2001 Report on Inclusive Practices for Ethnocultural, Racial and Religious Groups, the Council on Athletics and Recreation Equity Committee, as well as dedicated funding for equity co-curricular staff and programs, SOAR Aboriginal Youth gathering, Varsity Blues Athlete Ally program, the Change Room project and Hurdle to Success are a few examples of this work. Although significant progress has been made on several equity-related fronts, challenges remain, particularly with respect to race and Indigeneity. As a result, a Task Force on Race and Indigeneity will be established to encourage the KPE community to continue to reflect, examine, critique and take action on race and Indigeneity as we work to realize our vision and values.

KPE seeks to develop, advance and disseminate knowledge about physical activity, sport and health and their interactions through education, research, leadership and the provision of opportunity. The Faculty is an integrated framework for curricular programs including research, innovation and undergraduate and graduate degrees, and co-curricular programs in physical activity and sport offering opportunities to all University of Toronto students for healthy active living, sport medicine, recreation and competitive sport. The co-curricular area also provides programming and services available to faculty, staff and members of the community. Initiatives integrated across curricular and co-curricular areas are supported and valued because they enhance the mission and academic plan of KPE.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC, 2015) that focuses on the historical relations with Indigenous Peoples in Canada has challenged all Canadians to engage in the ongoing process of reconciliation through 94 calls to action. The University of Toronto has struck a steering committee in response to the TRC with a mandate to review the calls to action and develop implementation plans for those applicable to the University. Establishing new relationships between Indigenous Peoples and institutions is crucial. The University’s steering committee is asked to present an interim report by July 1 and final recommendations by December 31. The KPE task force will also seek to explore further issues of Indigeneity with respect to access, participation and retention in curricular and co-curricular areas, build respectful relationships with Indigenous colleagues across the university and be informed by the U of T TRC committee (Lavender, 2016).

Within the University of Toronto President Meric Gertler has established Three Priorities to: “leverage our urban location(s) more fully…strengthen and deepen key international partnerships…[and] reimagine and reinvent undergraduate education.” The KPE task force is encouraged to discover and identify opportunities for action within each of these priorities for KPE with respect to race and Indigeneity.

Student activism, advocacy and leadership at U of T also move the institution towards equity. Students play a key role in the governance of co-curricular programs through the Council of Athletics and Recreation and other governance structures and committees. Student led organizations on campus seek to change and inform experiences for racialized and Indigenous students, staff and faculty. Engaging with, listening to and learning from students is central to the success of the task force.

At the recent Pan and ParaPan Am 2015 Games, several events were held by KPE examining issues of equity and access to sport including the Hurdle to Success events – a series of panel discussions exploring the relationship between sport, race and access to post-secondary education. The discussion paper generated out of those events, which identified inequities in access and recruitment to, and retention of racialized and Indigenous youth in post-secondary education, sport and activity (Joseph, 2015) is a key driver for the Task Force.

The working group which contributed to the development of the terms of reference for the Task Force included Acting Dean Gretchen Kerr, Associate Professor Caroline Fusco, Director, Physical Activity and Equity Michelle Brownrigg, Acting Director, Physical Activity and Equity, Jen Leake and Assistant Manager Co-curricular Diversity & Equity Terry Gardiner. The working group consulted with Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Officer Sandra Carnegie Douglas and First Nations House Director Jonathan Hamilton-Diabo and the Terms of Reference of the Department of Athletics and Recreation (of the former Faculty of Physical Education and Health) 1994 Gender Equity Task Force before producing this document.

Recognizing KPE and CAR’s commitment to equity, as referenced in the Creating Capacity, Cultivating Change, 2013 - 2018 Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education Strategic Academic Plan, and the need to realize this goal in the curricular and co-curricular structures, activities, culture, budgets and operations of the Faculty, and;

Mindful of the complex and multidimensional nature of the challenge and of the need for a range of strategies to move towards equity in regards to race and Indigeneity;

The Dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education calls for the establishment of a Task Force on Race and Indigeneity in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education.

  • Develop a definition of equity with regard to race, racialization and Indigeneity that is aware of intersectionality, which can be applied to the needs of all members of the University community and the Faculty’s Academic Plan.
  • Examine physical activity programming opportunities (e.g. intramurals, child and youth, registered instruction, interuniversity) to assess whether the nature of the programming addresses a range of cultural interests, and whether the costs, facilities and scheduling invites access for racialized and Indigenous people.
  • Examine the current state of leadership positions, recruitment and retention of staff and faculty members through a lens of race and Indigeneity.
  • Examine admission, recruitment and retention of students through a lens of race and Indigeneity while identifying institutional and structural barriers.
  • Identify ways that race and Indigeneity are or could be embedded in curricula, both horizontally and vertically.
  • Address the inclusion of racialized and Indigenous experiences within research projects conducted at KPE
  • Identify gaps in the knowledge base of race and Indigeneity in sport, physical activity, kinesiology and physical education and future opportunities for research.
  • Identify the needs of racialized and Indigenous students, staff, faculty and community members and the ways they could be more effectively met by the Faculty.
  • Identify the progress which has been made to date and the barriers which still prevent or discourage the realization of equity for Indigenous and racialized peoples.
  • Pursue other areas of inquiry that the Task Force feels necessary in order to achieve the mandate.
  • Develop a plan of action to move towards equity in regards to race and Indigeneity.

The Task Force shall achieve the objectives listed in the Terms of Reference through wide consultations within the University and with experts in the area of anti-racism and Indigenous inclusion in higher education, athletics and recreation including students, faculty, staff and the broader U of T community. The Task Force will examine multiple aspects of the institutional, work, academic and co-curricular environments at KPE as well as systemic barriers to access in admissions, curriculum, retention, employment, and participation in the Faculty’s programs. To guide the Task Force in an understanding of the current knowledge base related to these issues an environmental scan of relevant research and practices shall be conducted.

The Task Force will present two reports, an interim report at an appropriate time of the Task Force’s choosing (December 2017) and a final report to be submitted by early September 2018. These reports will include substantive recommendations, monitoring and accountability processes, anti-racism and Indigenous inclusion practices and an implementation framework involving measurable outcomes and timelines for implementation.

The Task Force is co-chaired representing the concomitant responsibilities of academic and co-curricular endeavours within KPE, with one of the chairs drawn from KPE curricular area and one from its co-curricular area.

The Task Force has the following composition, including the co-chairs:

  • 4 students
  • 2 faculty members
  • 2 staff members, one from each of the FKPE curricular and co-curricular areas
  • 1 member of KPE senior administration (Chief Administrative Officer)
  • 1 Indigenous Elder/Traditional teacher
  • 2 members of the wider U of T community

Task force chairs are:
Simon Darnell, assistant professor at KPE
Sharon Grandison, director of human resources at KPE
Lamia Aganagic, a former undergraduate student at KPE

The other members of the task force:

Ernie Sandy, a member of the Indigenous Elders' Circle at U of T
Cathy Amara, assistant professor, teaching stream, at KPE
Shannon Simpson, director of First Nations House 
Juan Carlos Rodriguez-Camacho, a PhD candidate at OISE and researcher at Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health
Greg Gary, former Varsity Blues football head coach and current special projects officer at KPE Sarah Bear, a recent U of T graduate and peer mentor in KPE’s SOAR program 
Sandra Carnegie-Douglas, anti-racism and cultural diversity officer at U of T
Debra Kriger, a graduate student at KPE
John Leung, an undergraduate student at New College.

The membership composition was proposed by the Dean for presentation to and endorsement by CAR and Faculty Council based on the following selection criteria: 

  • Knowledge and understanding of kinesiology, physical education and sport
  • Knowledge and understanding of anti-racism and Indigenous issues
  • Experience working on diversity, equity and anti-racism and Indigenous issues
  • Commitment and accountability to a collective process
  • Proven ability to consult within and across sectors
  • Skills in listening, analysis and effective communication
  • Ability to work in a team setting
  • Availability and willingness to attend meetings

All efforts have been made to include individuals from Indigenous, Black and other racialized groups and to reflect a racialized gender balance within the membership of the Task Force.

The Task Force has established smaller working groups to gather data, solicit input and make recommendations on the various aspects of the Faculty’s processes and programs. The groups focus on the following areas:

  • Student recruitment, admissions, success and retention
  • Staff and faculty recruitment, retention and advancement
  • Curriculum, research, pedagogy and learning 
  • Recreation and sport, community outreach and recruitment

Department of Athletics and Recreation, University of Toronto. (1994). Task Force on Gender Equity.

Gertler, Meric. (2015). Three Priorities: A Discussion Paper. Retrieved from:

Joseph, Janelle. (2015). A Hurdle to Success: The Paths for Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Legacy Discussion Paper.

Lavender, Terry. (2016, January 15). U of T to take action on Truth and Reconciliation Commission. U of T News. Retrieved from

Ryerson University. (2010). Final Report of the Taskforce on Anti-Racism at Ryerson.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. Retrieved from:

University of Toronto. (2013). Creating Capacity, Cultivating Change 2013 – 2018 Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education Strategic Academic Plan. Retrieved from:

Approved December 2, 2016 by the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education Faculty Council following review and approval by the Council on Athletics and Recreation Equity Committee and CAR.