Last night at a Special Council meeting, Ajax Council unanimously voted in support of the creation of an Ajax Anti-Black Racism Congress until the end of the term of Council (2022).

The motion was introduced by Mayor Shaun Collier and seconded by Regional Councillor Sterling Lee and establishes the first anti-Black racism congress in Durham Region.

As part of the motion, Ajax resident, Mariska Thomas was appointed to set-up a five-person Nominating Committee made-up of members from the Town’s Black community. This independent committee will be tasked with establishing the Ajax Anti-Black Racism Congress, including a Terms of Reference, attracting membership, screening applications and appointing members. The Nominating Committee will cease to exist once the above deliverables are complete.

Once the Congress has been formed, the membership will be authorized to rename the committee (should they choose), develop a work plan and meeting schedule. The Congress is required to update Council regularly with its findings and recommendations prior to implementation.


“Members of the community are calling on public leaders to take action on systemic and institutional racism to combat barriers felt by Black people, and other racialized groups. I am proud of this Council for recognizing this is a time to listen to the voices of our Black community and with input from members of the Black Lives Matter movement; in order to provide a work plan to address these issues of social injustice locally that have touched so many lives.”
- Mayor Shaun Collier

“Recommendations that come from the Ajax Anti-Black Racism Congress, will only serve to benefit all racialized members of our community. As a First Generation Chinese Canadian, I'm especially proud to stand beside the Black community and lend my voice and lend my privilege as a Councillor to call out anti-Black racism.”
- Regional Councillor Sterling Lee, Ward 2


  • With the recent movements throughout the United States, Canada, and the World, protesting against the social injustice perpetrated against George Floyd; Rayshard Brooks; Atatiana Jefferson and closer to home, Dafonte Miller and Pamelia and Livingston Jeffers, and all the thousands of Black Lives that have been lost and altered forever.
  • As an organization committed to supporting our racialized communities, the protests reminded the Town and Council that yet again that we have a lot of work to do in addressing racism.
  • Mariska Thomas is currently the immediate past President of the Ajax/Pickering Chapter and Alternate Rep for the Congress of Black Women of Canada (CBWC), Ontario Region. Ms. Thomas was the President, CBWC, Ajax/Pickering Chapter from February 2015 to June 2019. In addition, Ms. Thomas is a Human Resources Professional with comprehensive experience including employee relations, health and safety management, compensation and benefits, training and development, performance management and recruitment.
  • Once established, the Mayor, as the Head of Council, and the Town’s Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator will act as the Town’s liaisons to the Ajax Anti-Black Racism Congress.
  • Council has also endorsed the provision of Town resources to the congress (e.g. strategic advice and guidance, communications support, etc.) as well as honorariums for the nominating committee and congress.
  • The congress may make requests for funding and resources to support recommendations being brought forward to Council for authorization.


Click here for the final Ajax Anti-Black Racism Congress resolution


Rachael Wraith, Corporate Communications, 289-314-4992