Last week in the Voice of Business we talked about the business case for inclusion and diversity (I&D). Essentially, the business case answers the “why” a business should consider introducing principles and policies on I&D into their business culture. The
business case was based on research by the McKinsey Institute and identified five opportunities that businesses open themselves up to when I&D are considered.
The authors of the McKinsey article found that, “When companies invest in diversity and inclusion, they are in a better position to create more adaptive, effective teams and more likely to recognize diversity as a competitive advantage.”
But understanding the “why” is not enough. What has to follow is action. Answering “how” inclusion and diversity principles can become part of a business’ culture is one way to start down the path.
Currently, there are legislated actions that require businesses to place a lens on accessibility, along with hiring practices that are non-discriminatory. In Ontario these are the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the Employment
Standards Act (ESA). The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms lays out a set of Equality rights that ensures all Canadians are treated without discrimination and allows provinces to develop acts such as the AODA and ESA and make them law, but even still more can be done within an organization.
We reached out to Angela Connors with the Community Race Relations Committee of Peterborough (CRRC) to ask her how businesses can start to institute policies that
promote inclusion and diversity as part of their operating culture.
Connors suggested that businesses can start with the following:
Develop an anti-racism/anti-oppression (ARAO) policy and communicate it broadly
“This work is hard, individual to each business and has to be an ongoing process within an organization,” says Angela Connors, Executive Director, Community Race Relations Committee of Peterborough. “At CRRC, we are available for consultation and
executive training to help organizations and businesses learn.”
The opportunities for anti-racism and anti-oppression frameworks also exist for municipalities. In December 2019, the City of Peterborough became the 22nd municipality in Ontario to join the Canadian Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities. This
designation means the City is committed to working on a municipal-specific anti-racism action plan. It’s expected that more on this plan and its budget implications will be made available in the next few months.
The Community Race Relations Committee has been operating in
Peterborough since 1983 when it was formed as a committee of city council in response to racist attacks in 1981 on international students at Trent University and Fleming College.
Learn more about the committee and the programs and resources they offer: https://racerelationspeterborough.org/