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Five organizations were honoured at the first Maytree Foundation Diversity in Governance Awards. The awards celebrated public institutions and voluntary organizations demonstrating commitment and innovation in creating inclusive boards.
The 2007 recipients were The Ontario Trillium Foundation, The City of Toronto, Seneca College, Dixon Hall and an honourable mention to The York Region Police Services Board.
The awards were supported by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration as part of the Ontario Government’s Volunteering-Citizenship in Action strategy.
Award recipients were selected based on best practices for recruiting, appointing and engaging board members from diverse communities. Successful strategies include well-established diversity policies, outreach to diverse communities, measurement and reporting on diversity goals and professional development of board members.
Category: Provincial Agency, Board or Commission
The Ontario Trillium Foundation achieved a more culturally reflective Board of Directors and Grant Review Teams (GRT) by outreach to newcomer communities, including the use of advertising and public service announcements. The Foundation proactively supported the application process by tracking the progress of applications from diverse candidates and made diversity part of the orientation for all new Board and GRT members.
The Ontario Trillium Foundation supports the voluntary sector through investments in the arts and culture, environment, human and social services, and sports and recreation sectors.
Category: Municipal Agency, Board or Commission
The City of Toronto recognized that the City was best served by boards that reflected the geographic distribution and diversity of the communities they served. To achieve this objective, the City implemented pro-active strategies including new public appointments policies and benchmarks and extensive outreach to under-represented groups. The City of Toronto defined “citizens” to include all residents, including permanent residents, refugees, refugee claimants and residents without homes. Applicants were asked to identify their diversity status to track the City’s progress in achieving its goal.
Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. The city appoints 282 community members to 29 City boards during each term of Council.
Category: Other Public Institutions
Seneca’s best practices included diversity and equity as specific criteria for appointments, an appointment committee that was mandated to build a diverse roster from alumni and college committees and an annual voluntary survey in which, most recently, 45% of the board self-identified as visible minority.
With more than eight campuses across the GTA, Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology provides internationally and nationally recognized career education and training to more students than any other college in Canada.
Category: Nonprofit organization
At Dixon Hall, one-third of the board members came from the community and social services sector. Dixon Hall was deliberate about its board composition and engaged its multicultural constituents to fill vacancies and strengthen community partnerships.
Dixon Hall is a United Way agency located in Regent Park, Canada’s largest public housing complex. The agency assists local residents with housing, employment, education, personal growth, cultural enrichment and recreation.
Honourable Mention, Municipal category
The Regional Municipality of York Police Services Board made specific commitments to diversity in its business planning, including increasing the appeal of policing as a profession among diverse young people through its Recruiting with Vision Strategy; increasing the sensitivity of new officers to multicultural communities through its Recruit Community Insight Program; and establishing a Civic Leadership Award to honour stellar community leaders who promote understanding and tolerance in the community. As one of the most diverse Police Services Boards in Ontario, the Regional Municipality of York Police Services Board considers the implications on the diverse community when formulating its governance policies that provide direction to the York Regional Police.
The Regional Municipality of York Police Services Board is the seven member civilian board that oversees the York Regional Police. The Board oversees police services including crime prevention in the York Region.