This task force includes community members and city staff who are working together to create an equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategy for the city.

On this page:

  1. Equity, diversity and inclusion strategy
  2. Project phases
  3. Equity, Anti-Racism and Indigenous Initiatives team
  4. Workforce census

Equity, diversity and inclusion strategy

Our EDI strategy will make recommendations to council on:

  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 and supporting a more inclusive and diverse workforce at the City of Kitchener for both employees and volunteers
  4. celebrating the full diversity of the Kitchener community

Project phases

The task force’s work has three phases.

Phase 1 – launch

Time: October 2019 to February 2020

This phase focused on relationship building and priority setting. During this time, members of the task force worked together to find areas of focus and discussed approaches to engage with the larger community.

Phase 2 – engage

Time: September 2020 to April 2021

At this stage, the task force is focused on community input, research and corporate engagement to inform the development of a series of recommendations that will be included in the city’s corporate strategy.

Task force members have assembled into working groups focused on several key areas including:

  • Equity & 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
  • a community granting program for BIPOC-led groups
  • youth mentorship program development

Phase 3 – report

Time: May to June 2021

Using input generated from research, community consultation and engagement, the task force will develop specific actions and recommendations related to the areas of focus above. A corporate equity, diversity and inclusion strategy strategy focused on actionable change, including. a budget, implementation plan, timeline, key milestones, and recommendations for sustainability will be presented to council by the end of 2021

Equity, Anti-Racism and Indigenous Initiatives team

In October 2020, City Council approved a new 5-person staff team to support equity, diversity and inclusion at the City of Kitchener. The Equity, Anti-Racism and Indigenous Initiatives team will provide the City, and City Council, with leadership, expertise, advice and senior level competencies, in issues of equity, anti-racism, Indigenous initiatives, and the intersection of broader social issues such as homelessness, mental health and addictions.  The mandate of this team is to:

  • lead staff across the organization in eliminating systemic barriers and racism within the corporation.
  • support the ongoing work to create an inclusive workplace and diverse workforce through foundational changes to policies and accountability mechanisms, and build a corporate culture grounded in equity, anti-racism and a commitment to long term change
  • enhance the city's engagement with members of the community who have bene traditionally excluded.
  • recommend new municipal programs and initiatives (or changes to existing ones) that support marginalized members of the community, including organizations focused on equity, anti-racism and Indigenous related issues
  • implement a multi-year evaluation and accountability strategy to monitor, measure and publicly report on the city's work on equity, anti-racism and Indigenous initiatives

Recruitment for the Equity, Anti-Racism and Indigenous team started in January 2021 and will continue until all five team members are hired. The members of this team will execute the recommendations and actions identified by 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