Glossary of Terms

Jump to: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z



Allyship is the practice of emphasizing social justice, inclusion, and human rights by members of an ingroup, to advance the interests of an oppressed outgroup.


Actions that seek to provide equitable approaches and practices to mitigate the effects of oppression.


The policy or practice of opposing racism and promoting racial equality.

Back to top



Prejudice in favour or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.


Formerly “POC” (People of Colour), BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) accounts for the erasure of Black and Indigenous peoples and to acknowledge that not all people of colour face equal levels of injustice.

Back to top



The action or process of settling among and establishing control over the Indigenous people of an area; the action of appropriating a place or domain for one’s own use.

Critical Race Theory

Also known as CRT, is a theoretical and interpretive mode that examines the appearance of race and racism across dominant cultural modes of expression. CRT scholars attempt to understand how victims of systemic racism are affected by cultural perceptions of race and how they are able to represent themselves to counter prejudice.

Cultural awareness

Cultural awareness refers to being mindful or conscious of similarities and differences between people from different groups. Cultural awareness includes being aware of issues related to power, privilege, and oppression.

Cultural responsibility

Conceptualizing and developing programs and implementing/delivering services that respectfully acknowledge that culture is central to learning, growing, and healing and encouraging students or clients to learn by building on the experiences, knowledge, and skills they bring to the learning and/or healing spaces. Service providers are also aware of the impact of their own culture on their interactions with others and take all these factors into account.

Cultural responsiveness

Cultural responsiveness is the ability to learn from and relate respectfully with people of your own culture as well as those from other cultures.

Cultural safety

Cultural safety involves health service providers to be aware of the differences between themselves and individuals from various cultural groups, decolonizing their practice, considering power relationships, and implementing reflective practice. This requires health care practitioners to examine themselves and the potential impact of their own culture on clinical interactions. It requires them to question their own biases, attitudes, assumptions, stereotypes, and prejudices that may be influencing provision of care. Cultural safety focuses on the culture of the clinician or the clinical environment rather than the culture of the ‘exotic other’ patient.

Cultural sensitivity

Cultural sensitivity is similar to cultural awareness in that both terms require consciousness of cultural issues affecting practice. Cultural sensitivity goes beyond awareness, requiring a deeper understanding and ability to apply this understanding to one’s practice.


Culture is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behaviour and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in these groups.

Back to top


De-escalation tactic/s:

An action or strategy that is aimed at reducing the intensity of a conflict or potentially violent situation.


The process of deconstructing colonial ideologies of the superiority and privilege of Western thought and approaches. It can involve dismantling structures that perpetuate the status quo and addressing unbalanced power dynamics.

Disaggregated race dataThe act of splitting large, general categories into more specific groups. For example, the category of “Asian American” can be divided into cultural groups such as Hmong, Vietnamese, Lao, Chinese Korean etc.


The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the ground of race, ethnicity, age, sex, or disability.


The practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations etc.

Back to top


Equitable access

Enabling all individuals to access services and resources by removing barriers and ensuring that the diverse backgrounds and identities that individuals hold are integrated in the development and implementation processes.

Equity data

Self-reported socio-demographic information including intersectional lived experience. This information is necessary for the organization to understand the composition of its communities.

Equity deserving groups

Communities that identify barriers to equal access, opportunities, and resources due to disadvantage and discrimination, and actively seek social justice and reparation.


Refers to fairness and justice and is distinguished from equality, which means providing the same to all, whereas equity means recognizing that we do not all start from the same place and must acknowledge and adjust to imbalances. The process is ongoing, requiring us to identify and overcome intentional and unintentional barriers arising from bias or systemic structures.


The quality or fact of belonging to a population group or subgroup made up of people who share a common cultural background or descent.

Back to top



Behaviours that make an individual or group feel distressed, humiliated, intimidated, or threatened.

Back to top



The practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded (e.g., members of historically underrepresented groups).

Indigenous ways of knowingThe intent of this phrase is to help educate people about the vast variety of knowledge that exists across diverse Indigenous communities. It further signals that Indigenous Peoples move beyond learnings from human interaction and relationships.


Pertaining to or taking place between two or more cultures.

Intergenerational trauma

A phenomenon in which the descendants of a person who has experienced a terrifying event show adverse emotional and behavioural reactions to the event that are similar to those of the person himself/herself/themselves. These reactions vary by generation but often include shame, increased anxiety, and depression.


The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.

Back to top


Jay Treaty (U.S.)

This treaty was signed in 1974 between Great Britain and United States and outlines that Indigenous Peoples may travel freely across international boundary. Under this treaty and corresponding legislation, Indigenous Peoples are entitled to freely enter the U.S for the purpose of employment, study, retirement, investing and/or immigration.

Back to top



A person or group treated as insignificant or peripheral that may require greater care, support, or protection due to their unique circumstances.


A statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a historically underrepresented/underserved group.

Back to top


Offensive ideologies

Individuals or groups that hold certain harmful beliefs surrounding members of various groups (e.g., based on race, gender, sexual orientation) and promote these views through mediums including social media in written and verbal forms.


The use of power to disempower, marginalize, silence or otherwise subordinate one social group or category, often in order to further empower and/or privilege the oppressor.

Back to top


Participatory-based approachA research-to-action approach that emphasizes direct engagement of local priorities and perspectives.

Power constructs

Policies, practices, hierarchies, and ideologies that have institutional and systemic influence and may disproportionately impact members of certain groups (e.g., based on race or gender).


Preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.

Back to top


Race conscious

Acknowledging and taking into consideration the ways in which race and racism can impact the health and well-being of individuals, groups, and communities.


The fact or condition of belonging to a racial division or group, or the qualities or characteristics associated with this. Can also include people sharing the same culture, history, language and/or common feature/s.

Racial trauma

Also known as race-based traumatic stress, is the cumulative effects of racism on an individual’s mental and physical health.

Racialized people

All people that are non-Caucasian in race or non-white.


Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism by an individual, community, or institution against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that has been historically underrepresented.


Ensuring individuals within an organization are reflective of the organization’s diverse demographic.

Back to top


Safe space

A place or environment in which a person or group of people can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm.

Social justice

Justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.

Structural changeMajor shifts in policies, practices, and cultural representations within and across an organization.

Structural disadvantage

The unfavourable circumstance or condition experienced by individuals, groups or communities that results from the way in which society operates. For example, how resources are distributed, who holds power and in what spaces, and how institutions are organized.

Systemic barriers

Policies, practices, or procedures that result in some people receiving unequal access or being excluded.

Systemic racism

Discrimination or unequal treatment on the basis of membership in a particular ethnic group (typically one that has been historically underrepresented), arising from systems, structures or expectations that have become established within society of an institution.

Back to top


Transitional year program

A program for youth (and/or adults) who, due to various barriers, have not had an opportunity to finish high school and who do not have the formal educational credentials to qualify for university admission.


Understanding and considering the pervasive nature of trauma and promoting environments of healing and recovery rather than practices and services that may inadvertently re-traumatize.

Back to top


Unconscious bias

Social stereotypes about certain groups of people that form outside of their own conscious awareness, which fosters unconscious favouritism towards or prejudice against. Also known as implicit bias.


To discard (something learned, especially false or outdated information) from one’s memory.

Back to top


White privilege

Inherent advantages possessed by a white person on the basis of their race in a social characterized by racial inequality and injustice.

White supremacy

The belief that white people constitute a superior race and should therefore dominate society, typically to the exclusion or detriment of other racial and ethnic groups.

Back to top