Brampton Board of Trade
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BBOT Celebrates Diversity in the Workplace with Ramadaan

Brampton is home to approximately 682,000 people, of which 7%, or about 47,700 people identify as being a part of the Muslim faith. The significance of this is that this week, the Holy Month of Ramadaan (pronounced Ra-ma-dawn) is beginning. For context, Ramadaan is the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar wherein 2 billion Muslims worldwide spend 30 days physically abstaining from food and drink, and any conjugal relations from dawn until sunset. But Ramadaan is much more than the physical abstinence. This year, Ramadaan is expected to start on March 11th and will culminate on April 10th. The month is also used as a spiritual reset. Apart from the formal five daily prayers that are required, Muslims would generally partake in the nightly extra prayers as well, increase their supererogatory acts of worship and become more aware of exercising their willpower, kindness, and good judgement. The end goal is for Muslims to become a better version of themselves by strengthening their spirituality, by building discipline individually, and by developing more compassion for those less fortunate.

Brampton businesses employ a diverse workforce with 234 cultures speaking 115 languages. Many of these individuals are Muslims who are working in various sectors including transportation, manufacturing, finance, and administration – and they also are observing the Ramadaan fast. So, how can businesses best support their Muslim employees? Here are a few ways outlined below:

• It’s important that employees make an effort to help their employers understand the importance of this month. It would certainly help employers become better aware of their employee’s circumstances and needs during the fast.

• If businesses are running on various shifts throughout the day, which may coincide with the breaking of the fast at sunset, providing a breaktime and a space where Muslims can break their fast and perform their prayer would be very helpful. Maybe even take it a step further and provide them with something to break their fast with; it can be something as simple as dates and water, but it would show a gesture of good faith and may add value to the employer-employee relationship.

• If you are a Muslim owned business, perhaps organizing a community event where the community can participate in breaking the fast together which would foster greater outreach and provide an opportunity to educate others and show what Ramadaan is about.

We, as the Board of Trade are always looking for ways to celebrate Brampton’s diversity. By businesses becoming more aware of the month of Ramadaan, and how they can participate with the Muslim community, we all do our part in amplifying diversity, inclusion, and equity.

The Brampton Board of Trade wishes Ramadaan Mubaarak to all the Muslim businesses and employees in Brampton, in Ontario, throughout Canada and around the world.

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