Our Corporate Strategy on Equity and Anti-Racism includes eight actions that are a starting point for the City of Kitchener to meaningfully engage in equity and anti-racism work.

On this page:

  1. Actions and progress
  2. Equity & Anti-Racism Advisory Committee to Council
  3. Mayor's Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
  4. Workforce census

Actions and progress

This strategy came out of the work done by the Mayor's Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. The actions outlined below are a starting point for the City of Kitchener to meaningfully engage in equity and anti-racism work. Most of these actions are internal-focused and intended to introduce change at an organizational level.

Our Corporate Strategy on Equity and Anti-Racism is made up of these actions:

  1. Establish a full-time permanent staff team to lead Equity, Anti-Racism and Indigenous Initiatives work at the City of Kitchener (complete, see staff report)
  2. Develop an Equity, Inclusion & Anti-Racism Policy which outlines the corporate commitment to equity, inclusion and anti-racism and specific expectations for leadership, staff and volunteers to support this commitment (complete, see staff report)
  3. Develop a Funding Opportunity for Black, Indigenous & Racialized Groups to support community-led programs, initiatives or events meant to decrease inequities and increase opportunities and well-being for racialized communities in Kitchener (complete, see staff report)
  4. Develop, Implement and Maintain a Corporate Equity & Anti-Racism Training Strategy, including ongoing, mandatory training for all staff, volunteers, leadership and members of City Council (complete)
  5. Develop and Implement a longitudinal, systematic Demographic Data Collection Strategy across the Corporation in order to better understand how representative staff, clients and stakeholders are of the community, and help identify systemic barriers and opportunities to make the workplace and services more inclusive (in progress)
  6. Develop an Equity & Anti-Racism Communications Guide for staff, leadership and the Communications Division as a practical tool and educational resource (in progress)
  7. Conduct an Equity Audit of Human Resources Policies & Practices in the area of Hiring, Recruitment & Promotion at the City and implement recommendations (complete)
  8. Develop recommendations for a revised Youth Mentorship Program for low-income youth to replace the original youth mentorship program which has been run by the City for the past 20 years (in progress)

The Task Force also recommended that an Equity and Anti-Racism Advisory Committee to Council be established. See the related staff report.


Equity and Anti-Racism Advisory Committee

An Equity and Anti-Racism Advisory Committee to Council will continue the grassroots community involvement of the Mayor's Task Force as we continue to develop and implement Equity and Anti-Racism work.

Committee meetings will start in January 2022.


Mayor's Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

In September 2019, we launched the Mayor’s Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). The Task Force included 45 members, who themselves were made up of four groups: community volunteers (selected through an application process), representatives from community organizations, city staff, and members of city council.

The demographic make-up of the Task Force included women (70%), people who are racialized (38%), people born outside of Canada (20%), those LGBTQ2S+ identified (18%), people with disabilities (16%), and those who identify as transgender/gender non-binary or gender queer (8%).

The mandate of the Task Force was focused on four broad areas:

  1. broadening community engagement in municipal decision-making – particularly for people who are traditionally under-represented
  2. improving equitable municipal service delivery to Kitchener’s diverse population
  3. encouraging, maintaining and promoting a more inclusive workplace and diverse workforce at the City of Kitchener for both employees and volunteers
  4. celebrating the full diversity of the Kitchener community

In order to create a Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy for the City of Kitchener and develop actions that support sustained, meaningful change across the corporation, the Task Force split into eight working groups. City staff supported each of these groups through collaborative dialogue, research and targeted community engagement when required.

Key areas of focus included:

  • Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Policy for the City of Kitchener
  • Equity and Anti-Racism training
  • demographic data collection
  • guidelines for Equity & Anti-Racism communications
  • recruitment, hiring and promotional practices
  • community grant program for racialized groups
  • youth mentorship program development
  • staffing model

Each of the actions outlined above were developed in collaboration with members of the Task Force, whose lived experiences and expertise in a wide variety of areas directly informed the direction, scope, and content of each.

In May 2021, staff presented a report to update council on the work of the task force.


Workforce census

In June 2019, staff received a workforce census survey as part of a larger employee culture survey. The survey was administrated by a third-party company.

The mayor’s task force on EDI is using this data to:

  • identify potential systemic barriers
  • prioritize areas for focus and action
  • measure future initiatives to create a more inclusive workforce and workplace

We have a responsibility to serve everyone in our community. When our staff bring with them a broad diversity of lived experiences and perspectives, we are better able to make decisions that respond to the needs of everyone in our community. Research shows that increasing diversity and inclusion in the workplace can lead to an increase in mental health and wellbeing for all employees, as well as increased employee satisfaction, retention and productivity.

Some quick facts about the workforce census:

  • our employee culture survey had an 80% response rate
  • this is the first time that we have asked these types of demographic questions of city staff
  • the Ontario Human Rights Commission encourages organizations like ours to collect this type of demographic data
  • staff participation in the census questions was voluntary, none of the questions were mandatory
  • staff could answer none, all or some of the questions

Download the census results