City of Hamilton Works Toward Inclusive Policy

 

The City of Hamilton is exploring a new diversity and inclusion framework.

Kojo Damptey, the program manager for the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) appeared before the General Issues Committee on Wednesday (Sept. 18), to discuss the proposed Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) framework.

Earlier this year, City Council unanimously passed a motion brought forward by Mayor Fred Eisenberger to develop an action plan for the implementation of an EDI lens.

If adopted, the framework would require mandatory training for council members, the city's senior leadership team and the union executive leadership.

Damptey started his presentation by saying that the city has done a lot in their efforts to be inclusive but on this issue, in particular, it's a constant work in progress.

"We've moved the needle forward," Damptey said. " But if we want to be a great city, we have to [keep moving forward."

A recent staff report highlighted the importance of this work moving forward.

"The EDI Framework is important because there are many citizens that are at risk of exclusion if community leaders are not aware of the impacts decisions have on these groups," it said.

The report identifies Indigenous peoples, member of the LGBTQ2S community, immigrants, persons with disabilities, persons living in poverty, racialized people, rural residents, women, youth and older Adults people as being most at risk, but stipulates that there are more.

The framework recommends the position of City Manager should be one of a champion of EDI and that there should be a multi-level Diversity and Inclusion steering committee so that this remains a "standing issue at the city."

Damptey explained that the City Manager is in a unique position of power to be able "highlight the efforts of people [on the frontlines]," he said. Meaning those working for change every day.

"It's an evolution," said Eisenberger. "It doesn't ever end. We'll always have to work at it."

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