Rex Lab x White Privilege Conference

How can you dialogue about social justice issues that matter to you? Even the not so comfortable ones such as white privilege? Rex Lab will host 3 sessions and attend the White Privilege Conference at Ryerson, May 9-12 with a group of 9 youth who will be mentored in this program around topics they are interested in.

This mentorship program is for youth 14-29. Join us from attend Ryerson’s ‘White Privilege Conference’ for FREE! (cost is $325, dates are May 9-12, 2018). Mentorship is centred on YOU and any social justice skills you want to gain.

You will work with a mentor and two other youth and public health students, in a group of 12, to learn about anti-oppression, privilege and other topics. You get to document your journey (written, photography, music, art, however you like).

Please fill out this application form here

Who you are: curious to learn more about white privilege and can commit to 6 sessions and attending some or all of the conference, on May 9-12 at Ryerson University. Sessions begin the week of April 8, 2018 in Rexdale. We will meet every other Wednesday in Rexdale from 6-8pm starting April 11. TTC and dinner will be provided.




Gary likes to doodle and has a notebook, ask him about his notebook. Also he is a cool guy.


Ananya Banerjee was born and raised in Rexdale, Ontario. Currently, she is a prof at the University of Toronto. She is passionate about teaching and achieving racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic equity in public health spaces. She works with a racialized communities to develop health promotion initiatives to empower their health and well-being.  Ananya enjoys road trips to rural areas of Ontario. She is trained in Indian Classical Music and loves Hip/Hop & R&B music.


Salomeh, founder of Rex Lab, and youth worker for over 15 years loves to discuss social justice issues. She is completing her MBA with a focus on Community Economic Development and has worked in Rexdale for almost 6 years, as well as with groups over Toronto focusing on arts, youth engagement, project coordination and facilitation.


Rex Lab In Review

What a great two years for our grassroots group! While our time and resources were limited, we did cross sectors, connect, partner and build new and positive visibility and bring in new capital and resources into North Etobicoke.

Thank you to everyone who was involved! We will be reconvening soon…

Read all about the work Rex Lab has accomplished, here Rex Lab IMPACTS


Census Data is Invaluable

When coordinating services, it pays for non-governmental organizations to know about the people they serve. The long-form census is vital to evidence based decision-making in Canada. Statistics Canada conducts a census every five years. The next Census of Population will take place in May 2016.

Advocacy organizations said it was impossible to tell with any accuracy how poverty rates were affecting marginalized, low-income families. City planners in Hamilton, Ont., were left wondering about the sudden decline of the city’s Chinese population while Toronto struggled to understand if high-need communities would benefit from more subsidized child care or free skills training programs,wrote Carol Linnite of Desmog Canada, on November 5, 2015.

The Census was restored by the Liberal Government on November 5th 2015, after the previous government under Harper, in June 2010, removed the census and provided instead a short voluntary survey, following that the Chief statistician Munir Sheikh, of Stats Canada, resigned.

The long form census, by law, Statistics Canada must protect the confidentiality of the information you provide – so there is no identity information attached to your questionnaire.

The data is invaluable for everyone from city planners and provincial governments to businesses and non-government organizations, Bains said.

Starting on May 2, 2016, you can complete your census questionnaire online. It is an easy, secure and convenient option that can be used anywhere, anytime. No pre-registration or lengthy download processes are required. There are census jobs, and you can apply online now.

North Etobicoke Statistics

With over 40 social service providers and 34 schools in North Etobicoke passionately working to alleviate, educate, empower and advocate for the community – the systems in which we work remains a challenge for us all.

In March 2014 the City of Toronto, through the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy 2020, identified 31 neighbourhoods as falling below the Neighbourhood Equity Score (the development of the Equity Index can be read here and is based on data from the Urban HEART@Toronto research initiative) and requiring special attention. The demographics of these new Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs) are presented below in statistical profiles and maps. NIAs are supported by Neighbourhood Action Teams; for more information please visit the Neighbourhood Action page. The city council recommendations can be read in detail here.

Jamestown alongside Mount Olive – Silverstone, have been priority neighborhoods since 2001. These areas have more youth 14-24 years old at 15% (City of Toronto rate is 13%), children ages 0-14 at 23% (City rate at 15%). Top “visible minority” groups include: South Asian, Black and Arab – as a percentage of the population is at 86%, while the City of Toronto rate is 49% making Jamestown a very diverse area that adds complexity for tailored services. The unemployment rate, as of 2011, is at 15% compared with the City rate at 9%. The percent of Population in Low-Income (LIM-AT) is 27% compared with the City rate that is 19%. 2011 data can be read here. (Individuals are defined as having low income if the after-tax income of their household falls below 50% of the median adjusted household after-tax income in Canada in 2010. For more information on the calculation of LIM, see Box 3: Concepts and definitions.)

A detailed 2010 report by Toronto West LIP on North Etobicoke can be read here.

Highlights of Ward 1, Etobicoke North as a whole can be read here.

Highlights of Ward 2, can be read here.

Ward Profiles can be accessed online through the Toronto website here. As well as specific demographic information on the main page, such as Ward Health Profiles, Neighborhood Improvement Areas,  Toronto Social Atlas, among other facets.

New NIA Profiles


Rexdale Lab Impact Report

Rexdale Lab’s Impact Report is complete, a look back at the year we had as a group.

Rexdale Lab is a unique initiative, bringing processes that saturate Toronto’s core into the suburbs, something that civic engaged groups are taking notice – opening up the dialogue beyond what is currently happening, in order to bridge new ideas about what could be.

Our approach to co-create knowledge, includes cross-sector collaboration, identifying intersectional issues, and complex problems and encouraging a diverse team to tackle unmet needs and gaps in North Etobicoke.

Our work is a process where people identify with their immediate world by critically reflecting on the socio-economic and political conditions they exist in, then imagining possibilities for something better. In order to create that better world, one must emerge from the oppressor-oppressed dynamic both inter-personally and institutionally through self-identified and empowering processes.

Thank you to all those who attended meetings, supported, provided and cheered us on!

This is just the beginning.

Read the full REX LAB IMPACT REPORT 2015

Rexdale Lab X CivicTechTO Meet Up

From Rexdale to Spadina, sharing efforts with new and diverse groups of people in Toronto is a great way to expand ideas, ask questions and discover the amazing projects, dedicated civic change makers are undertaking in the busy city of Toronto. There is an endless supply of social change efforts on every scale.

Salomeh Ahmadi, of Rexdale Lab presented to the great group of folks from Civic Tech TO who meet every week (meetup RSVP here) whose efforts are in the interest of working with others to build civic tech: projects in collaboration with community and/or government, tSept 29 - civic tech meetuphat make Toronto better.

If you want to know about some of the coolest people coming up with very interesting and challenging questions about the pressing socio-economic and civic challenges that face us in Toronto, you have to attend and engage with Civic Tech TO and follow them on Twitter

The event on Sept 29 will be posted, video and slides here.

1000 Dinners Toronto 2014 FINAL REPORT

Back on October 7 th, 2014, the city was alive and thriving through conversation at the dinner table in every neighborhood. We hosted our own potluck and had over 30 attendees help brainstorm what we could envision our community to be through pointing out what it is currently is – in it’s limited and biased perception.

The inspiration behind 1000 Dinners TO was simple: share your table, share your thoughts. We asked Torontonians to be a part of the citywide discussion about our future and Torontonians delivered. Participants were able to draw from Toronto Foundation’s Toronto Vital Signs® Report 2014 to inform their dinner discussion. An estimated 3,500 Torontonians shared a table at over 500 mealtime discussions across the city on October 7 and throughout that week.

From Rexdale to Scarborough, downtown to North York, the city came together and discussed what makes us proud to call Toronto home and explored ideas that will make our collective future even brighter.

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 10.43.50 PM

We held group discussions and brainstormed over a dozen chart paper and post-it note ideas and stories, all which was typed up and submitted to 1000DinnersTO in their post-event email.

The report with graphics and explanations can be found here.

Some highlights:

– 90% are proud to call Toronto their home, mostly because of our cultural diversity, arts and culture

– transit was a top contender several times over about critical issues

– the lack of political will in helping tackle complex issues

To create better places to play, live, learn and grow together.

One of the most supportive organizations in North Etobicoke is Woodbine Entertainment Group – WEG Cares. The team that makes up Rexdale Lab, including social services who have first hand knowledge of WEG’s contributions, would like to take the time to thank WEG Cares for the continued support and presence in the Etobicoke community, to which they are not limited to. The Corporate Social Responsibility arm of the organizations, previously led by Wendy Woiselle and now by Emily Mallin are doing a fantastic job!


An excerpt from their website:

“Our Corporate Responsibility Vision: To leverage the power of horse racing to revitalize communities.

Our Corporate Responsibility Mission: To create better places to play, live, learn and grow together.

With a corporate commitment to leveraging the power of horse racing to improve the quality of life in our community, WEG works with many valuable community organizations and causes that contribute so much to the life, health, and vibrancy of our neighbourhoods.
Our Story
Our involvement and investment to leverage the power of horse racing to improve the quality of life within our communities is an integral part of our corporate culture. We target our human and financial resources to aid those in our communities who need it most.
This obligation is embedded in our corporate culture and implemented through our “Corporate Community Investment Program”. We proudly assist numerous programs and charitable organizations with financial donations, sponsorships and in-kind contributions. Our involvement and investment is focused on five key areas:
• Building Healthy and Vibrant Communities
• Educating and Empowering Children & Youth
• Protecting the Welfare of Race Horses
• Preserving, Promoting, and Celebrating Diverse Cultures and Heritages
• Responsible Gambling
Over the last decade, WEG has provided over $10 million in combined corporate and in-kind contributions. We have aligned ourselves with leading organizations with whom we can make a meaningful and measurable difference. These include: social agencies, equine retirement associations, healthcare providers, educational institutions and local businesses who work toward the betterment of local area residents.
A “Caring Company” since 1997, WEG is a member of Imagine Canada, a national program that promotes public and corporate giving, volunteerism and support to the community. A “Caring Company” donates 1% of pre-tax profits to charities.
As a company able to create stakeholder value, WEG generates an annual economic impact of approximately $4.56-billion, of which $2.16-billion is directly attributable to our Rexdale facility. We support 7,500 full-time equivalent jobs within the City of Toronto and employ over 10% of the workforce in the Rexdale area. There are over 2,500 workers who care for and train the horses in Woodbine’s stable area who, with specialized skills, would have difficulty finding employment outside the horse racing industry.
We will continue to develop a greater understanding of the needs of our community. And by doing so, continue to find new ways to use horse racing as the platform to better integrate ourselves into the community as a strong and caring partner.”