City of Ottawa Equity and Inclusion LensHow to Replicate
Subject of AnalysisDiversity mainstreaming, Equity and integration, Inclusive workplace
AuthorClara Freire, Lois Emburg, Suzanne Doerge
City of Ottawa Equity and Inclusion Lens: A Toolkit for Building a More Inclusive Ottawa
The Equity and Inclusion Lens (EI Lens) was developed through a partnership process between the City for All Women Initiative/Initiative: une ville pour toutes les femmes (CAWI-IVTF) and the City of Ottawa. The City initiated this partnership owing to the success of the earlier Gender Equality Lens created by CAWI-IVTF. After the success of the Gender Equality Lens, the City felt it important to develop something to consider other groups at risk of exclusion. The EI Lens is designed to help City of Ottawa staff understand and respond to the needs and aspirations of an increasingly diverse population; recognize and engage the skills, experience and knowledge of residents; create policies, programs and services that address systemic barriers; and attract, promote and retain a talented workforce. City staff are encouraged to use the EI Lens in their everyday work.
An extensive collaborative process was undertaken to develop the EI Lens and the eleven (11) Diversity Snapshots. More than 150 community members were engaged in a collaborative process. A Community Reference Group consisting of city staff, CAWI-IVTF members, community members, advisory committee members, social service agency representatives, and University of Ottawa and Carleton University representatives, was formed to inform the development process of the EI Lens User Guide and Diversity Snapshots. This group met monthly to identify some of the challenges that specific populations encounter as well as assets that they bring to our community, provided support throughout the development of the Guide and Snapshots and will continue to support the implementation and evolution of the Lens.
The approach to development and content of the EI Lens
The Equity and Inclusion Lens includes a User’s Guide and 11 Diversity Snapshots, each focusing on one of 11 groups (see the list of all groups below) who risk exclusion, including immigrants and visible minorities. The Snapshots provide information about each group, such as who is included in the group, the contributions they make, the barriers they face, the Ottawa context, and relevant inclusion practices from other cities.
These Snapshots are intended to facilitate use of the EI Lens by City staff by offering practical and meaningful insight into the unique xperiences of each of the 11 groups.
- The process of developing the Lens was very positive, and involved representatives of 11 target groups working together with City staff to develop a common document.
- The process led to greater visibility of the presence of immigrant and racialized women in our community and of their contribution to civic engagement at the City of Ottawa.
- Cities across the country have expressed interest in adapting the E I Lens for their own use.
- The EI lens has informed the development of important municipal plans (i.e. Corporate Plan 2011-2014, Social Recreation Strategy, Cultural Renewal Plan, and the Older Adult Plan); a study of the impact of OC Transpo’s route changes and subsequent decision to pilot bus route enhancements; and the Mayor’s Senior Summit (2011) and Youth Summit (2012) .
- The City of Ottawa won an award as one of Canada’s Best Diversity employers for 2012, crediting the E I Lens as a key contribution.
What’s happening now
- The EI Lens is being rolled out in departments across the City of Ottawa. Training of City managers and staff is underway.
- An evaluation, led by Carleton University and University of Ottawa, in partnership with the City of Ottawa and CAWI-IVTF, is assessing the effectiveness of the EI Lens training, E I Lens tools and implementation strategy, while identifying early signs of institutional impact.
- Community representatives from the 11 target groups will be engaged to help inform the evaluation.
- Based on this learning, the E I Lens tool and its implementation will be enhanced to increase effectiveness.