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Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate Officially aligns with the United Nations’ Decade for People of African Descent

23 Feb

Recently Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate issued a news release, ‘Ontario Recognizing the United Nations’ Decade for People of African Descent‘. I had not heard about this entity or United Nations (UN) initiative before seeing this press release I wanted to learn more. It is a positive step by the provincial government to address a significant issue affecting the black community.

The Anti-Racism Directorate started during Black History month in 2016, and it has the mandate to protect the people of Ontario from racism. It is interesting to note that this directorate starts 20 years after all of Canada first officially celebrated Black History Month. There has been much work done in support of the black community, yet there seems there appears to be a lot still to do. The recent Brexit vote in Europe and the immigration ban in the US provide an indication of the international climate which does not seem favorable for visible minorities. I am grateful to live in a country like Canada and work at a company like TD that appreciates diversity and continues to explore ways to improve how they address diversity-related issues.

About one year after coming into being the directorate is now aligning with the United Nations’ Decade for People of African Descent. The decade spans from 2015 to 2024. A lot is happening in the black community around the time of Black History Month. The International Decade for the People of African Descent has clearly defined objectives and programme of activities. These objectives encourage countries to safeguard people of colour, share their contributions to their societies and build up the legal structures based on previous work done globally against racism. Canada is supportive of this UN initiative as the Directorate collaborated with the United Nations’ Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent last year when this group made a 5-day visit to Canada between October 17 to 21, 2016. I am looking forward to seeing their report when it comes out in September 2017. I am interested in learning their thoughts on some of the things we are doing well and hopefully seeing some recommendations for gaining improvements.


Brilliant Visual Instructions the IKEA Way

20 Sep

Would you agree that IKEA provides very effective instructions with their furniture and on their website? What are your thoughts? I would appreciate your comments below.


As a project manager and Six Sigma Black Belt, I am always looking for ways to effectively communicating instructions to stakeholders and users. I found that instructions using pictures and other illustrations have been very effective. You are no doubt familiar with the expression that, “A picture is worth a thousand words” . I believe that IKEA has taken this adage all the way to the bank.

We just completed a small redesigning project at home. We acquired our desired pieces from IKEA on afternoon and took them home for assembly. IKEA’s assembly institutions are very simple and clear. No words required.

Some of the advantages that IKEA gains from using only pictures seem to be:

  1. Less requirements of language translation.
  2. Less version control needed to maintain the information.
  3. Lowed printing cost since they are in black and white.
  4. Easier to post on the Internet such as on the IKEA website.

I was impressed with the quality of their packaging of the pieces and the relative ease of assembly. There seems to be a fair bit of Poka-Yoke in the design of the furniture and tools. Usually, if I make a mistake it was because I did not interpret the drawing correctly.


Some of the challenges that some people could experience could be the result of:


  1. Incorrect interpretation of the pictures or the orientation of the pieces.
  2. Being uncomfortable with using the required tools.
  3. Lack of patience with executing the task and seeing it through to completion.
  4. Being frustrated with the simplicity of the instructions
  5. or and it is frustrating to appreciate some nuances with


If you can overcome these challenges you will feel rewarded at the end of the effort. Looking forward to your thoughts.

The 6th International Plenary – ISO/TC 258 Project, programme and portfolio management

30 Aug
Last week I attended my first ISO plenary (conference). The focus of the plenary was to further develop standards for  ISO/TC 258 Project, programme and portfolio management ( I was impressed with the level of engagement as the event opened with messages from the Premier’s office as well as messages from the offices of the Lieutenant Governor and the Governor General of Canada. The messages set the tone for the importance of the work ahead for the 60 delegates representing 19 countries.
Prior to this event I had only participated in our Canadian conference calls (mirror committee). As I engaged in the plenary, I gained a better appreciation of the process and the scope of the work being done. It was very rewarding knowing that you are contributing to an international standard that will improve the way our world executes projects.