Indigenous Circle Chair Tim Sim shares thoughts on Indigenous History Month and the OPS in new Q&A
Publish date: Wednesday, June 23, 2021 update
Timna Ben-Ari, Labour Relations Specialist and the staff support for the union’s Equity Caucuses/Circle and its Equity Committee, recently sat down with Tim Sim, Chair of the Indigenous Circle, for a question-and-answer session on his work in the union and the OPS month, what’s up next for the Circle, and Indigenous History Month.
TBA: Hi Tim! It’s so great to be chatting with you today. To get us started, why don’t you give us a background on your roles in both AMAPCEO and in the OPS.
TS: Sure thing, Timna. I have been involved with AMAPCEO for decades – since before its formal recognition, in fact! I am proud to say I attended planning meetings for the formation of the union at the initial Carlton Street location in Toronto.
I was recently acclaimed Midtown District Director, and am the Chair of the AMAPCEO Indigenous Circle. I am Co-Chair of both the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs’ Joint Health and Safety Committee and the MNRF/IAO/ENDM AMAPCEO-Ministry Employee Relations Committee (AMERC). I also serve as a Workplace Representative and a Health and Safety Representative.
Within the OPS, I work a Senior Advisor in the Programs and Services Branch of the Indigenous Relations and Programs Division of the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs. In this role, I administer the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs’ Indigenous Economic Development Fund to Indigenous communities and organizations across Ontario. Over my 30 plus year career in the OPS, I have always been drawn to positions that support the wellbeing of Indigenous people and their communities.
TBA: Wow, sounds like you have a very full plate! Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and what you do in your spare time?
TS: I am originally from the Sault Ste. Marie area, with Indigenous ancestry from the Thessalon First Nation. I now live in North York. I am the proud father of four daughters and two grandchildren. I am thrilled to spend time with my family and support them in whatever way I can.
TBA: I’d love to learn more about your history and work with the AMAPCEO Indigenous Circle. What prompted you to join? What work are you looking forward to in the coming months?
TS: I had participated in the Indigenous Circle informally by attending events and gatherings, but I officially joined in June 2020 when I ran for Chair of the Circle.
I was prompted to join the Indigenous Circle based on my observations of employment and career development barriers experienced by Indigenous people in the OPS.
I felt vindicated by the recent release of the Third Party Review of OPS Inclusive Workplace Policies and Programs, in which an independent third party codified what so many Indigenous people live on a daily basis. I look forward to working with the AMAPCEO Equity Committee and Executives to respond to the findings of the Third Party Review reports, adopt their recommendations, and improve the workplace and careers of all Black, Indigenous and People of Colour employees in the OPS.
While I am primarily interested in equity issues, I also know the value of social and education events to increase awareness of Indigenous people as coworkers and community members across Ontario.
TBA: Can you tell me a little about what Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day mean to you?
TS: I’m glad you asked, Timna. I will be honest: I have mixed feelings about Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day given my own experiences and the recent revelation at the Kamloops Residential School. My five brothers, my sister and I are currently denied “Indian Status” because my great-grandfather disenfranchised himself and his “status” stopped at my mother under Bill C-31. It frustrates me to see the federal government continue to discriminate against Indigenous women and their children through the provisions of Bill C-31.
However, I do have fond memories of past National Indigenous Peoples Day events provided by the Little Beavers program delivered by Friendship Centres in the 1970s, and of playing with my cousins on the Mississauga First Nation.
TBA: If you could say one thing to AMAPCEO members during Indigenous History Month and on National Indigenous Peoples Day, what would it be?
TS: I would emphasize that as a person of Indigenous descent, I want to be seen for my potential and not just my life experiences. Yes, it is important to remember our past so it isn’t repeated, but the past shouldn’t limit anyone’s potential.
Interested in joining the AMAPCEO Indigenous Circle or another Equity Caucus/Circle? Sign up here!
More about AMAPCEO and our Members: Established in 1992, AMAPCEO is a bargaining agent that represents 14,000 professional and supervisory public servants, most of whom work directly for the Government of Ontario in every ministry and in a number of agencies, boards and commissions; in 130 communities throughout Ontario and in 12 cities outside Canada. We also represent employees outside the Ontario Public Service in: the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario; the Ontario Arts Council; Ontario Health (Quality Unit); Public Health Ontario; the Waypoint Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene; and in the former Offices of the Ontario Child Advocate and the French Language Services Commissioner (now part of the Ontario Ombudsman).