The Halton Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Charter was created through the voices of the community. Both quantitative and qualitative data were captured in the research collection methods of the Charter project. The process involved the development of a survey, with a set minimum of 200 participants. In addition to utilizing surveys for data collection, the project also involved conducting consultations in the community. Focus groups, through collaboration with community partners and organizations, were hosted with diverse demographics in Halton. A total of five public consultations were conducted, ranging from 1.5 to 2 hours in length. The consultations were targeting diverse, vulnerable and marginalized groups within the community.

Represented demographics:

  • Immigrant, refugee, and newcomer populations
  • Youth
  • Seniors
  • Individuals identifying with LGBTQ+
  • Female-led, single parent families
  • Low-income families

Intentional Outreach

Ensuring the Charter is reflective and representative of the diverse demographics throughout the Halton Region was paramount. Selection factors were considered of where the community consultations would be conducted.

Factors of outreach selections:

  • Reaching diverse demographics
  • Engaging residents from all municipalities in Halton
  • Working collaboratively with community partners and stakeholders
  • Utilizing neutral venues to host consultations
  • Ensuring time of consultations is suitable for resident participation

In addition, the surveys were sent to organizations across Halton that service vulnerable and marginalized populations in order for the data collected to reflect the realities of Halton’s residents and their experiences.

Voices of the Community

Overall we surveyed 202 residents in addition to over 50 residents who participated in the public consultations. The following is a summary of their voices:

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion ….

“means humility and a willingness to recognize that each person carries inner biases; it is making an effort to intentionally reach out to individuals/populations that may or may not be easy to connect with; it means taking time to listen and reflect.”

Equity through Intersectionality

Equity is the recognition of intersectional identities and the holistic experiences of the community. Individuals might be well integrated in some aspects of their lives while struggle in others. Equity ensures that everyone has the adequate support required to fully participate in the community regardless of the barriers experienced.

Voices of the community:

  • “Providing a service, as many or few, to individuals so that everyone has the same chances and quality of life. Some need more, some need less”
  • “Providing resources and opportunities for those who have been historically marginalized to have new opportunities that they may have not been afforded”
  • “Access is welcomed and barriers to access are reduced / eliminated voices of those being served is heard”
Intersectionality

Diversity through Allyship

Diversity is more than just representation. It is standing up and advocating for all communities and marginalized groups. Regardless of one’s association with a particular group, it is a sense of solidarity and allyship to actively break down barriers and create better circumstances for all members of the community.

Voices of the community:

  • “It needs to represent the community it serves – people living in the community should see themselves reflected in the services offered”
  • “Diversity doesn’t just mean having a bunch of people of different skin colours in the same room. It means marginalized people are given the same time, effort, and space as non-marginalized people to speak on issues that are important to them”
  • “Diversity refers to the visible presence of several groups, colors, races, sexual orientations, cultures and other attributes”
Diversity

Inclusion through Belonging

Inclusion is feeling a sense of belonging to the community and acceptance of all aspects of one’s identity. It is the capacity to participate without prejudice and celebrate the diversity of cultures, abilities, identities, beliefs and ideas without fear.

Voices of the community:

  • “Inclusion recognizes that everyone has something to contribute or share and creates an atmosphere where different points of view are welcomed”
  • “People of all abilities are valued, welcomed, have a voice, included in decision making, and have power”
  • “Means welcoming diversity and creating an environment where all different kinds of people can thrive and succeed. Diversity is what you have. Inclusion is what you do”
Inclusion