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The Greater Toronto region has long been known as a region of immigrants, welcoming people from around the world with the promise of opportunity and success.
Our region is the most ethnically and racially diverse in Canada. Almost half of our residents are visible minorities. By 2031 this figure will rise to over 60 per cent. Collectively, we comprise more than 200 distinct ethnicities and speak more than 140 languages and dialects.
The business case for diverse leadership
So what does this mean for us?
A great deal if we want to prosper as a city region.
Imagine the flow of creative solutions if we could tap into the wealth of ideas and experience that our diversity offers. How many new jobs might we generate if we mined all the international networks at our disposal? What if we became the top choice for the best and brightest from around the globe? What would happen if our public institutions truly reflected all of us?
What a shining future we would have if every young person had a role model to point them forward and prepare them to lead.
Innovation. World markets. Global talent. Social cohesion. All of these are within our grasp.
We launched DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project to realize the promise of a stronger, more prosperous city region. We believe that by actively enabling diverse, under-capitalized leaders to emerge, we can recruit and mobilize the best talent, access new markets, innovate, and inspire us all.
In short, we are accelerating prosperity.
When DiverseCity began we laid out a bold and detailed plan and assembled a large pool of businesses, nonprofits and public organizations to help us transform the leadership landscape. And we established clear goals:
The DiverseCity Counts research report, prepared by Ryerson’s Diversity Institute on behalf of DiverseCity, uncovers the disconnect between who lives here and who has power and influence. Findings show that just 14 per cent of leaders in the Greater Toronto Area are visible minorities (relative to 49.5 per cent of the population studied.) While the leadership in some areas reflects our population quite well – in City of Toronto public agencies, for example, 33 per cent of those in the top jobs are visible minorities – the majority (56.6 per cent) across the public, nonprofit and corporate sectors have no visible minorities in their leadership ranks.
These results are a wake-up call that we must answer if we are to achieve our promise.
Diversity in leadership strengthens the workplace, the board room and society as a whole. It plays a key role in a country’s economic outlook because when there is diversity around the decision-making table, organizational performance improves, innovation happens and new solutions are generated.
Diversifying our leadership is not just the right thing to do: it is a fundamental driver toward realizing our shared social and economic prosperity.
Ratna Omidvar & John Tory
Co-Chairs, DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project