Equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) have always been important parts of our work. But like many organizations, there are many ways we can learn, adapt and improve.

The act of prioritizing EDI is a journey, rather than a destination.

That journey is one we started walking more deliberately in 2017. That was the year we co-led the creation of Building Poverty Solutions, a community report. We consulted with and collected ideas from more than 1,100 citizens, and we learned a lot about equitable community engagement along the way.

The highlights and the challenges of this experience led us to create a policy for how we learn from, consult with and compensate individuals in the community who have lived experience with poverty and marginalization. Today, we make thoughtful decisions about where to gather, what supports to provide (like food or childcare), and how to meet transportation needs. We pay a living wage and respect people’s preferences for how they’d like to receive these funds.

It also solidified our commitment to taking an equity-based approach to poverty solutions. Equity recognizes that there are differences between populations and each person within the population is unique, with different needs for supports and resources to prevent inequities. Essentially, the equity approach to poverty is not a “one size fits all” solution.

Between 2018 and 2020, we brought equity more fully into several aspects of how we work.

This has been visible through things like equitable washrooms in our office, pronouns in our email signatures, and land acknowledgements. And it has been somewhat invisible as well, influencing our internal processes, such as funding allocations or Board recruitment, and the way we gather, and learn as a staff team.

Now, in 2021, it is not uncommon for us to dedicate an entire meeting or afternoon to talking about equity, learning about anti-Black racism, or reflecting on the devastating impact of residential schools, for example.

Staff Reflections

As a community impact organization, the ongoing practice of learning and unlearning about systems of oppression is as important as anything else we do. Systemic change does not get created by any one group or moment in time, and yet, we all have a responsibility to influence what we can.

Over the next several months, we’ll be entering a new phase of our EDI journey.

With the onboarding of new members in September 2021, the diversity of our Board of Directors will strengthen even further, cementing a new standard for the organization that has been underway for years. That does not mean we stop there, but rather, that we continue to work toward having the diversity of our community represented across everything we do.

By spring 2022, we will have a new strategic plan that will feature a commitment statement that further solidifies equity as the centre of the impact and excellence we’re striving for.

In September 2022, we’ll release our next progress report.

We’re committed to nurturing equity, diversity, and inclusion for the long term, and we’re pleased to have you on the journey with us.