IDEA: Inclusive, Diverse, Equitable and Accessible

May 28, 2009 
IDEA, Inclusive, Diverse, Equitable and Accessible OPS: An IDEA Whose Time has Come 

The 4th BLN Breakfast Series Event was hosted at the Royal Ontario Museum in the RBC Foundation Glass Room.

The MC for the event was Miguel Aguayo, Manager, Employer Outreach Secretariat (our sponsor for the event). Miguel introduced Noelle Richardson, Chief Diversity Officer for the Ontario Public Service and the topic of her speech was "Creating an Inclusive Work Environment at Ontario Public Service." Highlights of her comments:

  • An important psychological shift needs to take place in order for us to truly begin to internalize what being inclusive means
  • When I was doing this work on the continent of Africa, another thing that struck me was the fact that discrimination is neither a North American nor a European construct... It's a human construct - the way we all handle differences. The context might be different depending on the jurisdiction so in a place like Swaziland discrimination might be based on regional or tribal or ancestral differences, but it is all discrimination.
  • This is about diversity and respecting all the ways we differ. It's about taking deliberate steps in policies and practices to welcome, accept and value all individuals.
  • Strategies at OPS include: forming the operational framework through informed, committed and competent leadership; behavioural and cultural transformation linked to and nested in other key corporate initiatives; training for 68,000 people in OPS; examine and review policies and programs to better reflect needs of current and future organization, integrating diversity into every single thing we do (not as an add-on or a nuisance), but embed inclusion into the way we operate and into the very fabric of OPS; and finally, measure, evaluate and report. (We're not setting targets, but we are going to set personal goals.)
  • We need to stop operating from a place of stereotypes to a place of knowledge. Stereotypes represent very limited information. As human beings we are very lazy so we grab on to limited information and run with it.

Nicole Jacksic from BMO Bank of Montreal and BLN Founding Member finished with closing remarks encouraging the employers in attendance to become BLN members and to hire through JOIN.