The Ontario government says it is investigating allegations of racism, bullying and harassment involving senior management at a Toronto-area child welfare organization.

The province says it has launched an operational review of the York Region Children’s Aid Society in light of what it describes as several “troubling” allegations.

Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues Jill Dunlop says the government wants to ensure the well-being of staff so that families and children in the region receive the best and most culturally appropriate services.

She says the province will take the necessary action once it receives the findings of the review.

A directive issued to the society says it must, within 30 days of receiving the final report from the review, submit a work plan setting out the steps it will take in response and immediately stop working with the communications firm it hired this spring.

Society board chair Tahir Shafiq said it respects the government’s decision to conduct the review and will fully support it.

“We care deeply about our employees and understand the importance of ensuring we have a diverse, inclusive, safe and healthy workplace,” Shafiq said in an emailed statement.

“We are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our work.”

Shafiq said the society works with parents, caregivers, volunteers and other community organizations to build safer and stronger communities.

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