By Sarah Jessop, Secretary for the Diversity and Inclusion Committee (She/Her)

At ASP, we value and recognize the diverse religious beliefs of our employees. The world is rich in diversity and so is our workforce, which is reflected in the observances celebrated by its various cultures. Knowledge of the following diversity holidays and celebrations can enhance our workplace diversity and inclusion efforts. Throughout the months of July, August and September 2021 a variety of religious holidays, festivals, observances, and spiritual commemorations took place. These events were celebrated and observed by many of us, so it is important that we recognize and respect each and every one of them. We have compiled a list below of the many important religious events that took place throughout the last few months. We encourage you to review this list to learn more about some of the significant celebrations and observances that are meaningful to your colleagues and friends. Let’s celebrate diversity, together.

July 2021

  • July 9 – Baha’i: Martyrdom of the Bab – commemorates the execution of the co-founder of the Baha’i faith, the Bab
  • July 17 -22 – Islamic: The Hajj – annual pilgrimage that all Muslims must make to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia at least once
  • July 18 – Jewish: Tisha B’Av – this holiday commemorates the destruction of the Jewish temple in both 586 BCE and 70 CE in Jerusalem
  • July 19 – 23 – Islamic: Eid al-Adha – a Muslim celebration marking the end of the Hajj pilgrimage
  • July 23 – Rastafarian: Birthday of Haile Selassie – celebrates Emperor Haile Selassie, who was believed to be the incarnation of God

August 2021

  • August 1 – Pagan and Wiccan: Lughnasadh – festival marking the beginning of the harvest season
  • August 10 – Islamic: Islamic New Year – Also called Hijiri, this day marks the beginning of the Islamic lunar calendar and begins at the sighting of the crescent moon
  • August 15 – Roman Catholic: Feast of the Assumption – a holy day that commemorates the Virgin Mary’s bodily ascension to Heaven
  • August 30 – Hindu: Krishna Janmashtami – an annual Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu.

September 2021

  • September 4 – 11 – Jain: Paryushana – the most important Jain religious observance, this festival is about forgiveness, with “paryushana” meaning “abiding” or “coming together”
  • September 6 – 8 – Jewish: Rosh Hashanah – celebration of the Jewish New Year that begins at sundown and brings upon a period of reflection for the past year and year to come
  • September 11 – Coptic Orthodox Christian: Nayrouz (Coptic New Year) – a feast day when both martyrs and confessors are commemorated in the church
  • September 16 – Jewish: Yom Kippur – the day of atonement in Judaism where individuals reflect on their sins and seek forgiveness from God
  • September 21 -27 – Jewish: Sukkot – A day that commemorates the years that the Jews journeyed to the desert on their way to the promised land
  • September 20 – October 6 – Hindu: Pitru Paksha – 16-day period when Hindus pay homage to their ancestors
  • September 21 – Pagan and Wiccan: Mabon – the Autumnal equinox
  • September 28 – Islamic: Arbaeen – A day of religious observance that marks the end of the 40- day mourning period following the Day of Ashura

Do you feel we have missed anything? Let us know! Contact our Diversity and Inclusion committee at

By Sarah Jessop, Secretary for the Diversity and Inclusion Committee (She/Her)

In the year 2020, a series of unconscionable events publicly uncovered long-standing racial inequities in North America. In February, a young black man named Ahmaud Arbery went for a jog and never returned home to his family. Breonna Taylor, a Black medical worker, was killed by police officers in her own apartment.

Diversity and Inclusion Committee Employee Chair

The murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was captured on camera in a video that shocked and outraged us all. The Covid-19 pandemic brought about racist attacks against the Asian community, and racial and ethnic minorities were disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 due to a history of systemic racism.

These senseless and tragic events laid bare a hard truth that compelled us to take action. People from all over the world woke up and recognized that sitting idly by and “not being a racist” will not stop racism and discrimination.

In order to make a difference, we must work together and create change through an anti-racism and antidiscrimination lens.

As a result of this, a group of ASP employees and leaders came together in August of 2020 to create our Diversity and Inclusion committee. Our members share the common goal of ensuring that all ASP employees have a seat at the table.

Our purpose is to develop Diversity and Inclusion initiatives that will ensure that all employees are respected, valued and given every opportunity to succeed.

We are focused on equity, which means that we recognize that each person or group has different circumstances and we must allocate resources and opportunities accordingly
to reach an equal outcome.

The committee is co-chaired by Neeru Panjwani, Employer Chair and Melicia Gregory, Employee Chair. To make ourselves easily identifiable to our employees, the Diversity and Inclusion committee created our own logo based on the original ASP branding. Keep an eye out for this logo as you should be able to spot it in all of our past, present, and future communications.

2020-2021 Initiatives

During our first meeting, our committee quickly realized that the voice of our employees will guide our action plan. For this reason, we developed our first initiative – the Diversity and Inclusion Survey.

The Diversity and Inclusion Survey was centred around researched constructs of inclusion, such as fairness, belonging, and voice. It measured your opinion on the degree to which our culture creates an inclusive environment where people of all cultures, background and identities can thrive.

We used your feedback to guide all of the programs we developed and implemented. You may recall the following:

Black History Month Roundtable February 2021

The purpose of the roundtable was to create a safe space for Black ASP employees to come together and share their thoughts and experiences. The event was hosted by Melicia Gregory, the Employee Chair of ASPs Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Melicia, along with many other ASP employees, did an excellent job in celebrating black culture whilst also educating all those in attendance about their lived experiences.

International Women’s Day – May 8, 2021:

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked our women-identifying employees to submit their photo and a message for our newsletter on what it’s like to work at ASP It was wonderful to hear from so many of you across the organization.

Asian Heritage Month Roundtable May 2021

This event was chaired by ASP employee Fanny Tran, PSR at Billy Bishop Airport and guest-host Joanna Zhang, Executive Assistant at the GTAA. During the roundtable, our employees shared their experiences around Asian heritage with the intention of celebrating the contributions made by Asian Canadians. Those in attendance openly discussed the issues that continue to impact many Asian communities today. Like the Black History Month Roundtable, this was a beautiful event that increased awareness and understanding within those who attended.

Mental Health Week – May-3-9, 2021:

During Mental Health Week, we sent out a link to our EAP provider’s (LifeWorks) new website that is all about self-care. The microsite explores why self-care should be part of your routine and how to work it into your daily life, no matter the situation. As a reminder, the link can be found here:

Pride Month – June 2021


In June 2021, ASP’s Diversity and Inclusion committee ran our first ever Pride Month roundtable.

This event was organized to celebrate ASP’s LGBTQ2S+ employees and their allies, and to address and understand the various issues LGBTQ2S+ individuals face in the workplace.

The roundtable was chaired by Christine Parkinson, Tanner Parkinson and Sarah Jessop. For more information, please see the Pride Month Roundtable article that is included in this newsletter.


For the month of June, ASP updated our branding to include the Pride flag rainbow colouring. It is important to mention that ASPs support of the LGBTQ2s+ community goes far beyond one month of recognition. This act simply served as a symbol of our year round allyship.

National Indigenous Peoples Day June 21, 2021:

This year, National Indigenous Day was dedicated to the missing children, the families left behind, and the survivors of residential schools.

ASP stands in solidarity with Indigenous communities across Canada as we continue to mourn this tragedy. In the June 2021 memo that was released by our committee, we asked our Indigenous ASP employees to share their experiences with us.

We’d like anyone reading this newsletter to review the beautiful and poignant article entitled “Wachiya!” that was written by ASP employee Katrina Stachurski. Katrina is a Canine Handler and a proud member of the Indigenous community.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation September 30, 2021

September 30, 2021 was the first formally recognized National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. This day honours the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities.

ASP sent out an informative article in September to educate our employees on the history and significance of this day.

We encourage you all to continue learning more about the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences and stories of First Nations, Inuit and Metis people by visiting the Government of Canada’s website:

Other initiatives included:

  • Implementation of our Workplace Harassment, Violence and Bullying Prevention Policy in 2021
  • Increased email and newsletter communication on behalf of the Diversity and Inclusion committee for important events, holidays, observances and resources
  • Launch of our Diversity and Inclusion Inbox – This provides a direct line of contact between our employees and the committee. It is a great way to ask us questions or make suggestions.

Moving Forward Upcoming 2021 Initiatives

As you can see, our committee was busy over the last year! 2021 isn’t over yet, so please keep an eye out for a few more initiatives coming your way. This includes:

ASP Diversity and Inclusion SelfIdentification Survey

We will be sending out a link to our Self-Identification Survey via ISpring in the near future. By completing this survey, you will be helping our committee capture an accurate picture of our diverse workforce, which will in turn allow us to design and implement thoughtful initiatives that are intended to leverage the diversity in our workplace. Many of you have already discovered and completed this survey as it is showing under your ISpring courses – thank you for being so proactive!

2021 Diversity and Inclusion Survey

In November 2021, we will once again be asking you to complete the Diversity and Inclusion Survey that you answered in 2020. Last years results were critical in helping us design our 2021 initiatives, and so we will use your feedback to guide us into the New Year!

Membership Drive

Do you stand against racism and all forms of discrimination? Are you committed to expanding our inclusion and anti-discrimination practices and policies? If so, we’d love for you to apply for a membership with our committee. We are specifically looking for frontline employees to join the committee as we require more representation and expertise from this area. Please note that as an hourly employee, you would be compensated for any Diversity and Inclusion Committee meetings you attend on your day-off. To find out more, apply to join
through the link below or send an email to Please be sure to share with us why you are passionate on this topic.


If you have any questions for our committee, please do not hesitate to contact us at

By Sarah Northrup, Director - Human Resources

We are proud to have supported the Hillsdale & South Asian Bar Association’s (SABA) goal of raising $30,000 for the Help India Initiative.

A second wave of COVID-19 is wreaking havoc throughout the country. The current surge is overwhelming Indian healthcare infrastructure – patients are not able to access hospital beds and oxygen is in short supply. The loss of life is tragic and catastrophic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of children and families in nearly every country across the globe. Though children make up a very small number of deaths from the coronavirus, the impact on their lives has been devastating.
We are very lucky to be living in Canada with easy access to healthcare and COVID-19 vaccines. ASP encourages all our teammates to take a moment to think about those who are less fortunate. If you wish to make a donation to UNICEF, here is the link. UNICEF has an outstanding track record of managing donations effectively and delivering live saving programs.

ASP also encourages everyone to get a vaccine so we can end this pandemic. If you would like more information on how to get a vaccine or have questions about the vaccines, the link is LINK REQUIRED

What UNICEF is Doing

UNICEF sent 5,000 oxygen concentrators to India in April and May 2021, and 25 medical oxygen generation plants for hospitals are underway. Globally, UNICEF’s Office of Innovation has been focused on oxygen therapy as a key component of its effort to save lives of children. As a result, UNICEF has procured 15,000 oxygen concentrators as part of its COVID-19 response, helping more than 90 countries across the world.

What is an Oxygen Concentrator?

An Oxygen Concentrator is a portable machine that creates oxygen by removing nitrogen from ambient air. In most cases, these portable devices are the best option for remote and/or low resource areas without oxygen plants or cylinder delivery networks. Costing approximately C$1,000 each and with minimal operational expenses, an oxygen concentrator has the potential to save many lives, as countries around the world struggle to flatten the curve.

How ASP’s Donation Helped

The following supplies have been identified as critical by UNICEF:

• Oxygen Concentrators: C$100,000 can provide approximately 100 portable machines and can be distributed across many states in India
• Oxygen Generation Plant: C$235,000 can provide enough oxygen for a 500-bed hospital for 20 years
• RT-PCR Machines: Each costing C$27,000, can speed up identification and treatment of COVID-19 infections. The machines last for 10 years, providing a legacy for testing for other deadly diseases such as TB, HIV, HPV, and streptococcus when COVID-19 declines

In May 2021, ASP donated $8,000 to UNICEF’s COVID Fundraising Efforts

By Melicia Gregory, Employee Chair for ASP’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Black History Month. A history too complex to be recognized in a day, week, month or year. A history of oppression, silencing and questioning one’s worth. A history that often reminds us that not much has changed and that the deep-rooted sentiments of racism are very still apparent.

During the Diversity and Inclusion Committee round table this month, I was given the opportunity to facilitate an open and honest discussion regarding Black History Month. I had brushed up on my research and tried to find a way to navigate the discussion. There are not enough words that could truly encompass the history of my people. Should I begin by reflecting on matters of the past with displaced or Black Canadians? What angle should I take? There was no angle. I went off script because being a Black woman, we are tired. Black people are tired. We are continually re-traumatized by reflecting on our ancestors on their knees, this represents the days of knees being rested on our fellow Black body (George Floyd).

The Black body and voice have always been forced into submission. Our very history that we are taught is negative and there is no mention of the kings and queens that used to reign in Africa. Our past has been erased and the only recollection we have is of modern Black revolutionaries such as Martin Luther King Jr, Malcom X and Rosa Parks. When the status quo of white people is challenged, we are promised a fate of certain death, imprisonment and stigmatization of race.

During the roundtable discussion, it was apparent what Black people often have to put up with. This includes micro-aggressions and playing the role of the “nonthreatening” Mammy just to appease our coworkers. We often have to remain silent on pressing issues due to a lack of trust. Trust has gotten Black people nowhere before so there is distrust in a company or system that characterizes and polices the entire Black body. It is no wonder that we remain loud in our laughter and quiet in our suffering.

How can we make change? I propose that all Black people realize that we no longer need to play by the rules of fear. We’d like to encourage you to speak your voice; you’re not going to be less liked for speaking up. You are not troublesome, your voices and lives matter. Take time to reflect on your past and your current situation. Don’t be afraid of building new relationships and allies, as sometimes we see that people actually care when we ally ourselves with other races.

Black people have been speaking for many years and the world is going to listen to us, respect us and know that our voices and history are greater than the month we introduced, greater than the food we create and the dance trends we invent. We are not a commodity that can be used up and discarded. We see you; we hear you, and we value your efforts.

To everyone who cares about human rights, remember that Black history is a matter of the abrasive abuse of human rights onto Black people. Let us right our wrongs, avoid making assumptions (but do make eye contact) and try bridging that gap between yourself and the quiet co-worker who may be bottling their emotions just to keep their job. Please join in and lend your voice to our Diversity and Inclusion Committee; where your life matters, your opinions are heard and a difference can be made in shifting the pendulum one step at a time.

By Marcela Mecaj, Airside Supervisor for Gurdeep Aujla, NPSV - TPIA

I want to nominate Gurdeep Aulja our senior guard on Airside for International Women’s Day.

Her dedication and long hours that she puts in for our company, and her willingness to make her work a better place, are a true inspiration.”

“If you want to follow, follow the footsteps of your women colleagues because they are the real heroes and real winner.s. Managing home and work as a single mother, is never easy but she has always done it so effortlessly….. Wishing you all the success and prosperity on International Women’s Day.”

Thank you everyone for sending in your testimonials. As a company and as individuals, we must continue to champion and promote workplace diversity and gender equality, not just because it is the fair and right thing to do, but because gender diversity has a positive impact on the success of the company.

The ASP Diversity and Inclusion Committee is committed to promotion of workplace equality and diversity. For more information, please write to

“If you want to follow, follow the footsteps of your women colleagues because she is the real hero and real winner.”

By Neeru Panjwani, Human Resource Manager – Aviation

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. At ASP, we celebrate it every day because of the courage, confidence, and courteousness of all our female employees who make it happen every day. International Women’s Day serves as a reminder to the strength of women, the beauty in diversity and the steps we have all taken in the positive direction.

As of last month, we have 886 female employees of total 2019 employees (almost 44%). We have also seen an increase in the number of female employees in our office and management positions whereby 44% of the group is represented by women employees.

ASP values workplace diversity and gender equality, which is evident in the number of women in our organization and the varying roles they occupy, ranging from Canine Handler, Security Specialist, Customer Service Agent, Resource Planner, Human Resources, Recruiter to Security Guards, which is extremely impressive in a traditionally male-dominated industry.

On this occasion we requested our women employees to send in their testimonials on how they feel as a Working Woman at ASP or Working Woman in Security. We are happy to share their views with everyone.

Ravinder Chhina – Security Supervisor at Calgary International Airport

Ravinder Chhina is a Supervisor at YYC Calgary International Airport. She has been working in security for 18 years and loves what she does. She always feels very respected not only by other ASP staff, but also by the entire airport community. As a woman in security, Chhina feels that she is very safe in her work environment and appreciates that everyone looks out for each other and works hard as a team to achieve shared goals. She feels that she is always treated the same regardless of her gender and this makes her feel like an equal and that her voice matters. When asked why she chose to work in security, she responded that “it’s not why security, it’s because I am security”.

“As of last month we have 886 female employees of 2019 total employees – almost 44%”

Melicia Gregory – Security Guard at Toronto Pearson International Airport

“Working at ASP has been such an honour. I have had such a wonderful opportunity of meeting like minded individual and strong women within the company. Working in a field that is often male dominated, it is a joy to know that ASP supports women in security and has given me many opportunities within the security field.”

Diana Forbes – Security Specialist at Toronto Pearson International Airport

“Being a woman in the field of Security is a lot to manage and balance but to be treated equal and to get the respect when wearing the uniform makes it all worthwhile. Women are caring, thoughtful and reliable and put others needs before theirs. It takes hard work and leadership to keep workplace area safe and secure.

Being a female Security Guard is having a positive attitude, being polite, respectful, caring, and cautious. Customer Service is most important. Being soft spoken yet firm while trying to deal or handle a situation/matter is the key.

Being a Female Security Guard is and amazing and fabulous experience. It also gives me Customer Service experience and the benefit of interacting with the public. It gives me the opportunity to be myself and the honor of representing ASP where I work each and everyday. I really and truly enjoy being part of ASP Security Family. Blessed and thankful to be part of a company that welcomed me with open arms. Thank you and keep going strong and positive.”

Karen Mahabir, Elizabeth Purnwasi, Khadija Beale – Operational Support Representatives at Toronto Pearson International Airport

“Everyday at ASP feels like Woman’s day!”

“to be treated equal and get the respect when wearing the uniform makes it all worthwhile”

Jenelle Kunkel – School Crossing Guard

“It is wonderful to be a woman in safety, and if it’s not, we need to make it be. I feel strong and empowered, like a woman can do anything. It gives me confidence and raises my self esteem. The connection I have with others has a big impact on me in a positive way.”

Jennifer Mitchell – Security Guard at Greater Sudbury Airport

“I work for ASP at the Sudbury airport and I love my job here.”

Noreen Khan – Security Guard , Residential and Commercial Division

“I’m proud to be working as a female security guard. What I learned from my experience is that being a good Security Officer isn’t just about how to have the physical strength to defend someone, it’s more about communication, attention to detail, multi-tasking and empathy.

Women are usually better than men at dealing with males in heated situations. We’re good mediators and we’re able to get people to see another side of the argument and to just ‘quiet down’ and take some time out, which in many incidents is enough to quell a situation.

Women are also great communicators and that’s a key skill for front-line Security Guards. Strong communication is ideal on the ground to ensure all team members know exactly what they’re doing.”

“being a good security officer isn’t just about how to have physical strength to defend someone or something”

Anna Cappuccitti – School Crossing Guard

“Greeted every morning by the beautiful smiles of my children makes my day every day. Knowing that I am keeping the children and their parents safe always makes me proud to be a School Crossing Guard.

I was told by one of the parents that I have the most important job of all. I take this to heart, and I can see that everyone is appreciative of what I do. Crossing them safely across the street, keeping the sidewalks clear of snow, salt and any other debris, (311 has gotten to know my name) and even keeping the children company when their parents are late. I want them to know they can trust me.

On this Woman’s International Day, I want to express that behind the SCHOOL CROSSING STOP SIGN, I stand as a confident and proud woman.”

Maria Estrella – Security Guard at Toronto Pearson International Airport

“21 years ago I started this grateful journey of having a job as an Access Control Officer

I consider myself a hardworking person, a fighter and proud to be a woman. I like my job and I love what I do.

Every day I come to work with my best wishes to be able to help build a better country. With the satisfaction of knowing that I have given the best of me to the service of the airport community, and to make every day not just an a ordinary day a much better day knowing that I’ve done my job.

Queeneth Nkanga – Crossing Guard

“I am delighted to have the opportunity of contributing to the overall effort of ensuring the safety of our children. The best part of my job as a crossing guard is having the privileged platform of impacting every child that I have worked together with the best knowledge needed for a happy and successful life – LOVE. God bless our children.”

“On This Women’s International Day, I want to express that behind SCHOOL CROSSING STOP SIGN, I stand as a confident and proud woman.”

Zaina Syed – Security Guard , TPIA

“I have been with ASP for 7 months now and I can confidently say that as a woman, I have never felt more equal to my male counterparts in a professional environment than I have with this company! Competency, performance, hard work, professionalism and respect are of the utmost value here. Women and men alike, we are all seen as equal power to keep this ship sailing. Happy International Women’s Day to all!”