Owner's Statement on Injustice

To our community:

I have been doing a lot of thinking over the past several weeks, trying to figure out how to evolve from (I think) a well-meaning non-racist ally to actually doing something to help change our society for the better. I am doing this both as an individual and as a corporate citizen. I have remained silent until now because I didn’t just want to post a well-intentioned message of support without also committing to real, meaningful action.

I have been trying to figure out what that action might look like, but I do not want my silence to be interpreted as a lack of concern or care on these issues. I have been somewhat distracted by my focus on sustaining my business through the pandemic crisis, but I also recognize that the pandemic has greatly exacerbated the issues of injustice and inequality, and many others are suffering much worse than I or my business.

I have consulted our staff on this issue, and so far we have a few specific actions in mind. These include:

  • Reviewing and revising our internal policy documents to ensure they explicitly prohibit discrimination in any form by our staff
  • Creating a Conduct Policy for customers and partners that explicitly prohibits any form of discrimination, and includes consequences
  • Creating a way to anonymously report any discrimination that may occur at the gym
  • Reaching out to our community to find more ways to offer climbing experiences to people who might otherwise not have the opportunity. We have an existing youth outreach program through the Toronto Police that will continue, and have already started discussions with 2 other community organizations. Real action will need to wait until our operations approach normalcy
  • Leveraging our relationships with other partners (including equipment manufacturers) to sustain climbers who start through those outreach programs
  • Supporting local charities that help and work with oppressed communities

I support the movement to achieve justice and true equality for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) and other oppressed/marginalized communities. The items above are just a start, and we are still figuring this out. I am still learning how to best support marginalized groups in our community. I welcome constructive feedback and suggestions from you on all of this. You can reach me at john.gross@truenorthclimbing.com

John Gross

Owner, True North Climbing

(Thanks to John Kudelka and Junction Climbing Centre for leadership on this issue)