In preparation of the launch of its Anti-Rumours Strategy, the city of Montreal organised an anti-rumours training for local stakeholders on 12-16 March. This was an intensive week of meetings and training session focussed on:
- empowering the city’s actions and programmes through capacity building and strategic meetings on the design and implementation of the ARS. This included capacity building sessions on antirumours diagnosis, how to design an ARS, how to map rumours, building an antirumours network, how to plan the antirumours agents training, how to carry out an ARS impact evaluation, etc.; exchanges with local politicians so to get their feedback about the present context and challenges in the city of Montreal.
- Training of Antirumours Agents targeting staff from different municipal departments (including social diversity, human resources, communication etc.) and some other stakeholders (local organisations, university of Montreal, etc.). The training focussed on the main theoretical concepts as described in the CoE Anti-rumours Handbook: stereotypes, prejudices, rumours and discrimination; communicative skills to confront rumours in face-to-face interactions; the intercultural approach and the ARS; examples of effective antirumpours activities; brainstorming to propose antirumours activities and tools for Montreal’s strategy.
The new municipal agency for welcoming policies, the “Bureau d'intégration des nouveaux arrivants de Montréal - BINAM” will be in charge of the implementation of the antirumours strategy once this will be adopted. According to the feedback of the local team, the training has provided a solid base to start work on the implementation the standardised Council of Europe ARS methodology. Cooperation with the “Carrefour de ressources en interculturel” (CRIC), a community-based organisation that offers intercultural expertise and support to local organisations in the center south part of Montreal, has also proved to be a strength, as the CRIC is involved in ARS work since 2016 and is one of the key players in the local implementation of the ARS methodology
It is expected that Montreal’s high commitment, showed through a strong political support, the engagement of key stakeholders, a participatory approach, and the allocation of adequate resources to ARS actions, will inspire and guide other ARS cities to follow similar paths.