Niagara Region passes its first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan

Published September 23, 2022 at 12:25 pm

At last night’s (September 22) council meeting, Niagara Region made its commitment towards fostering an inclusive and welcoming community by passing its first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Action Plan.

With only one vote against and one abstention, the motion overwhelming passed through.

Said the region, “Research shows that discrimination negatively affects businesses, communities, and economies because it directly impacts an individual’s mental and physical health, as well as access to employment, health care, and housing.”

“Research also shows that communities who are welcoming and free from discrimination lead to positive health, well-being, and a greater sense of belonging.”

The Plan was created with input from over 3,000 staff and community members through focus groups and survey responses.

Implementation of Niagara Region’s DEI Action Plan is structured around six focus areas:

  • ​​Inclusive workplace culture, leadership, and accountability
  • Increased understanding and humility through learning
  • Diverse workforce reflective of Niagara’s community
  • Programs and services meet the needs of everyone
  • Addressing discrimination
  • Inclusive communication

Each of the focus areas have an internal and external goal with internal and external focused actions, key performance indicators, and timelines. Some of the key actions include:

  • ​Establishing a DEI Community of Practice and Charter
  • Facilitating Town Hall dialogues with diverse communities on discrimination issues
  • Incorporating DEI impacts in Council reports
  • Reviewing and revising Niagara Region policies, programs, and services with a DEI lens
  • Partnering with community organizations to expand intern and co-op opportunities

“Since joining the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities in 2020, we have taken steps to demonstrate our commitment to change and growth. We established a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee, hired staff resources dedicated to this important work, and have done more engagement in the last four years than the previous decade,” said Regional Chair Jim Bradley.

“While I know there is much work still left to be done, I believe that we have made some real progress that I am eager to capitalize on as we move forward together.”

Two years ago, Niagara Region and the 12 local area municipalities joined the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities making a commitment to continue improving municipal practices in Niagara to support social inclusion, establish policies to eradicate all forms of racism, and to promote human rights and diversity.

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