Diversity and Inclusion in Canadian workplaces

If we take a closer look at the Canadian demographic we will notice that the number of immigrants is increasing leads to make Canada a multicultural pot and that of course will create a sort of dialogue about the diversity and inclusion in all life areas like the workplace where these conversations become even more critical.

Having different ethnicities, genders, sexualities, and voices in a workplace under the umbrella of one nation is a heterogeneous workforce; this variety of perspectives and experiences reflects the society in which an organization operates.

The term inclusion was always a term used in parallel with diversity, wherever diversity is present inclusion needs to show up. inclusion in the workplace is the ability of those people who my feel like minorities or as different to have equal access to use resources and to have the same opportunities as the others, for example, the ability to get a  promotion and get recognized. Diversity is considered as the mixture of different backgrounds and experiences in the workplace while inclusion is to secure that the social norms and behaviors will not affect negatively the participation of all employees in the same manner.

Radhika Nath, an Indo-Canadian, who has worked with the nonprofit sector in Toronto for over ten years  says that  she has seen  the emergence  of the inclusion concept  in the Canadian society, for example, three years ago he was working in a company  where no immigrants on it board

She added that things are changing now and  there is a new air of positivity concerning this issue and that was observed when she visited the website of the company and noticed that, they hired two immigrants in their senior management position and the diversity become more visible in their committees

Are we doing enough?

A survey conducted by Gartner showed that diversity and inclusion (D&I) measures are not effective to a large extend because policies don’t trickle the employee level.

The vice president manager in the Gartner HR practice, Lauren Romansky, said that COEs gave more priorities and commitment to values of diversity and inclusion (D&I) to see progress. However, the actual measures are not enough to move the needle of change and progress. Romansky added that a lot of D&I strategies and approaches were not effective because they focus on point-in-time training, an individual champion, or a singular experiment. Besides, those experiences are usually shared only at senior levels.

Romansky says if the organizations ensure they are sustainable, in other words, that the strategies used by these organizations are supported and included in all of the company’s existing processes only then  D&I initiatives can be successful.

York University in Toronto is considered one of the educational institutions in Canada where units that deal with diversity and inclusion are dedicated. Placed 33rd in the world in the Times Higher Education 2020 Impact Rankings, this university was one of the earliest universities across the country to pay attention to the concept of diversity and inclusion through the CHREI (Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion).

Yanni Dagonas, advisor and deputy spokesperson, communications and public affairs at York University says York University is a leading community when it’s come to practice values like diversity and inclusion. York considers the continual improvement to support these shared values as commitment.

Dagonas expounds that the York university has various advisory bodies that try to enhance principles like equity and diversity by providing crucial feedback and lived experiences.

The advisory bodies include the President’s Advisory Committee on Human Rights which was created in the late 1990s; sub-committees SexGen, RISE, and Enable York; and the university’s Indigenous Council, which was created in 2002.

He says York university is engaged to set equity and diversity by providing and preparing a positive environment . he gives some statistics to support CHREI’s success. For example, the attendance at Equity, Diversity & Inclusion workshops recorded an increase of 200 percent year-over-year. The statistics were studied through series of four sessions that were delivered three times to 584 staff participants and 199 faculty participants.

Looking ahead

Perminder Singh, the administrative assistant in the human resource department in a medium-sized construction contracting company, thinks that organizations, where efforts about diversity and inclusion are made, should be praised in public.

Singh has witnessed the difficulties of finding inclusive employers. He worked in different jobs after his graduation including warehouse and food chain jobs before he took a job with a construction company.

Singh says that in jobs of low-paying notions like inclusion and diversity were not essential for those companies. Singh is happy and lucky that the company where he is working is actually giving more importance to make the workplace heterogeneous by reflecting different cultures, ethnicities, races, and genders in their hiring process.

 Maya Touissant a content facilitator of diversity and inclusion was invited to give a presentation about inclusivity and diversity within the workplace. Singh says that it had been really an instructive speech, leading to interaction and conversation between the workers in the company. The presentation shed light on the means by which notions like diversity and inclusion become more present in the workplace, and also people have to think again about their idea and discard any biases. People often create these prejudices unknowingly, and it affects their ability to express themselves as people who are clearly minorities.

In autumn 2021, all the employees will complete the Training for prejudices. Singh says that it is remarkable for him as an immigrant to witness that a company focuses on the training of this type where everyone feels included.

Singh appreciates having a position in the Canadian labor market. However, he has a plan for future days to open his independent HR company where he would integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion

Singh says an individual will feel included when he feels a sense of belonging and is empowered to participate in the culture of the majority as a full and valued individual of the community. He wishes that the discussion about diversity and inclusion not be restricted to a mere menu month and that companies begin to revisit and heterogenic their workforce composition completely.