Policy Number: A4
Subject: Diversity and Inclusion Policy
Issue Date: October 2022
United Way Niagara is a place where people many backgrounds and perspectives come together, united in a common vision to make our community better. The strengths of this diversity and the spirit of inclusion are what make our community both strong and unique. United Way Niagara is a convening body in this community, a space where people of varied backgrounds and perspectives come together, united in a common vision for a better community.
United Way Niagara recognizes that:
- The diversity of our broader region’s population brings cultural, social and economic enrichment to the community;
- Many members of the Niagara region encounter barriers to full participation; and
- The inherent dignity and worth of each person cannot be realized without deliberate efforts to create a climate of inclusion that fosters mutual respect and allows each person to realize their full potential and their ability to contribute fully to the community.
This policy applies to all employees, volunteers, sponsored employees, interns, and consultants who work for or with United Way Niagara.
The Ontario Human Rights Code, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are at the core of this policy.
Diversity refers to the presence of a wide range of human qualities and attributes within a group or an organization and extends beyond the four categories identified in the federal Employment Equity Act. The dimensions of diversity include, but are not limited to, age, gender, race, ethnicity, physical and intellectual ability, sexual orientation, educational background, talent, skills and experience. Diversity is seen as a positive valued concept indicating the richness that exists when people with a variety of backgrounds, orientations, skills and experiences participate in and contribute to an organization’s work environment. Diversity encompasses elements of understanding, acceptance and respect. It emphasizes the need to embrace and celebrate the varied dimensions of diversity with each individual.
Inclusiveness is an attribute of organizational culture characterized by a demonstrated commitment to diversity. An inclusive organization is one where all employees’ contributions are valued, recognized and rewarded; where employees can realize their full potential, are motivated and engaged; and, where innovation in enhanced as diverse teams bring more perspectives to the table and generate more ideas. Inclusiveness also refers to the extent to which an organization fosters interaction, communication, knowledge-sharing and decisionmaking. An organization with an inclusive culture distributes accountability and responsibility for diversity across all employees and organizational levels.
- Diversity and inclusion contributes to a more successful and effective organization
By ensuring a governance model accompanied by a staff and volunteer complement that reflects the demographics of Niagara and the community we serve, and by implementing policies and practices that foster inclusion, United Way Niagara will enhance its ability to attract and retain diverse talent, and respond to the needs of our diverse constituent base.
- Diversity and inclusion requires a conscious, continuous and deliberate effort
Inclusion requires the ongoing commitment and involvement of United Way Niagara’s Board of Directors, Executive Office, staff and volunteers to introduce and sustain a culture conducive to the development and implementation of strategies and programs that embrace the various dimensions of diversity.
- The journey of diversity and inclusion is as important as the destination
The work of building a truly inclusive organization that embraces diversity is urgent and ongoing. Inclusion is a journey towards continuous improvement with an agreed set of actions founded on sustained change.
United Way Niagara will establish and implement policies and practices that foster and promote diversity and inclusion, including:
- Competencies and understanding developed within the Board of Directors, volunteers and staff to ensure that we understand the needs of, and are responsive to the diverse community we serve;
- Resource development and community impact approaches that seek to eliminate barriers to full participation, and ensure access and equity for the diverse population of Niagara; and,
- Incidents and/or behaviors related to discrimination or harassment are addressed appropriately when they occur, including clear guidelines for internal and external complaints procedures.