Our commitment to learn, reflect and take action
At Let’s Talk Science we have long recognized that ongoing, systemic inequalities exist in Canada. From our start over 25 years ago, we have made a commitment to ensuring equity, diversity and inclusion in all of our efforts and to not be content with our actions but to continuously evolve and improve.
We are reviewing our current activities, taking steps to learn how we can improve, and developing an action plan. It is an ongoing process; we will continuously examine what we have accomplished to build equity, and what we have yet to do. We are learning from and building on our experiences and lessons over the past 25 years.
Our volunteers are critical to our ability to deliver programming to youth across Canada. A multi-cultural network of about 3,500 post-secondary students across 50+ post-secondary outreach sites, they work with thousands of schools and organizations across Canada to engage youth and educators in rural, remote and urban settings. Last year alone, our volunteers engaged youth in 525 communities! Based on the research we have done on barriers to entering the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), we know it’s important for young students to see themselves represented in the field - and the diversity of our volunteers supports this. We also offer ongoing training and professional development programs to help our volunteers build critical skills and support them as positive influencers and effective role models in the community - helping them to become effective role models and leaders.
Despite the diversity of our volunteers and the youth we reach, we acknowledge that we have some work to do internally. For example, although the composition of our Board of Directors and our staff is improving, our management team is white. We are looking at ways to address this.
A pan-Canadian organization, we deliver a robust suite of programming that includes online and in-person learning opportunities and digital resources for youth and educators from coast to coast to coast. We recognize the cultural, social, and economic diversities of participating youth and educators and of the communities in which we work. We have taken steps to acknowledge diversity in Canada and develop programming that is responsive and will continue to do so.
We will continue our work with Indigenous peoples through strong partnerships to support community needs. In association with First Nations, Métis and Inuit knowledge keepers, Let’s Talk Science developed a powerful training program that aligns with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations for staff and volunteers.
We believe that all children are curious and capable. We offer programs and resources to empower them through STEM-based learning. To guarantee cost is never a barrier; our programs are available to educators and youth at no cost and available in both English and French across the country.
Partnerships also help us engage racialized audiences. For example, just over three years ago, the San Romanoway Revitalization Association (SRRA), a social services organization located at Jane and Finch in Toronto, launched a partnership with Let’s Talk Science to bring engaging STEM-activities to their Breakfast and After-School programs. The program has grown to include March Break and Summer Day Camps for students in Grades K-8.
During the Covid-19 crisis, Let’s Talk Science rebalanced our efforts to support online learning and we witnessed the growing inequity of vulnerable children who don’t have access to devices and the internet. To respond, we convened partners and designed the Horizon Project, a gift of learning resources for 75,000 children in Grades 4-6 distributed through food banks and community partners across Canada. We want to send a caring message and show we are confident in their ability to learn, even in these difficult times.
While we have taken steps, we acknowledge that we must do even more in order to support the development of all youth in Canada. We are committed to continuously learning, reflecting and developing our action plan to help remove racial barriers and ensure inclusivity in STEM education. And we will work even harder to foster open and frank discussions about challenging issues.