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Q: What is DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project?
A: DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project is the combined work of Maytree and the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance. Our project is made up of a group of initiatives led by a steering committee of prominent individuals who recognize the value and potential of diversity in leadership for the region’s social and economic prosperity. They have come together to support and develop solutions that will address the under-representation of ethnic and racial groups in leadership positions in the GTA.
Q: What do you mean by “leader”?
A: We define leaders as people who work or volunteer in public, private or voluntary sector positions that:
Leaders may include: executives, political representatives, board members and senior public servants.
Q: Who are the under-represented ethnic and racial leaders?
A: For the purpose of the DiverseCity Project, under-represented ethnic and racial leaders include visible minorities as defined by the federal Employment Equity Act and as used by Statistics Canada. This term refers to any person who is non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour. For example, a person may belong to a visible minority if they are:
We also reach out to individuals who do not consider themselves visible minorities but who belong to an ethnic group that research has indicated is under-represented in leadership positions. This would include members of immigrant communities.
Q: Does your project address the under-representation of Aboriginal Peoples?
A: This project is focused primarily on visible minorities and under-represented ethnic groups.
Aboriginal peoples have their own history and experience of exclusion which is unique from that experienced by immigrants and their descendents in Canada. Looking at the issues of ethnic groups as separate from Aboriginal groups is consistent with the practice of many other organizations. For example, Aboriginal Canadians are not visible minorities (as defined by the Employment Equity Act). Statistics Canada’s Ethnic Diversity Study does not include aboriginal peoples. A separate survey has been created called the Aboriginal Peoples Survey.
While the DiverseCity Project does not explicitly seek to address the under-representation of Aboriginal people in this project, it does welcome the participation of Aboriginal people in the DiverseCity onBoard and DiverseCity Fellows initiatives.
Q: Women, gays and lesbians, and people with disabilities are also under-represented in leadership positions in the GTA. Why are they not a focus of this project?
A: The DiverseCity Project partners and steering committee strongly believe that the leadership of the GTA should reflect the populations of the GTA in every way. However, for the purpose of this project they have chosen to focus on the under-representation of ethnic and racial groups.
This project may serve as a model for work that addresses other types of under-representation. We would be happy to share the learnings of our work with those who are working to further enhance the diversity of the region.
Q: How do we know that some ethnic and racial groups are under-represented in leadership?
A: According to research conducted by Ryerson University in 2009, visible minorities represented only 13% of leadership positions in the GTA, compared with 49.5% of the population under study. This research is updated annually. For current facts and figures, please see the most recent DiverseCity Counts report.
Q: Does this project discriminate against Caucasian Canadians?
A: Absolutely not. The DiverseCity Project is about providing equal opportunity to all people in the Greater Toronto Region.
The principle of providing opportunities to disadvantaged groups is found in legislation which protects Canadians against discrimination. For example:
Part I of the Ontario Human Rights code protects all people in the province of Ontario from discrimination on the basis of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or handicap.
Part 14-1 allows organizations or employers to create special programs “designed to achieve or attempt to achieve equal opportunity if that is likely to contribute to the elimination of the infringement of rights under Part I.”
Section 15 of The Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that “Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.” This “does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”
Q: Is this a project about the City of Toronto or the GTA?
A: The DiverseCity Project is about the GTA as a whole, but some initiatives may target particular municipalities or particular regions within the GTA. The initiatives will each specify whether they are focused on:
Q: What will success look like, and how will it be measured?
A: By 2010, the DiverseCity Project has changed the leadership landscape in the following ways:
In addition, we hope to encourage broader societal change. As we articulate the social and economic importance of leadership diversity for the GTA we will measure the extent to which public, private and voluntary sectors reflect the diversity of the population.