Building inclusive communities is one of the three themes that shapes the Canadian Commission for UNESCO’s efforts in Canada and abroad. But it isn’t just a lofty goal: it’s something many partners, including municipalities affiliated with its Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination (CCMARD) are achieving across Canada. Let’s take a look at three examples—in Vancouver, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Ottawa.
Youth transforms Vancouver into a more sustainable, livable and enjoyable city
Located at City Hall in Vancouver, CityStudio is a hub where post-secondary students work with city staff and other community members to make their city more sustainable, livable and enjoyable. Through mentorship and experiential learning over a semester-long program, students develop and launch a project to improve their city. These projects empower youth to become active participants in community building.
Past projects supported by CityStudio include:
- The creation of documentary shorts that explore Vancouver’s downtown public spaces;
- The development of furniture designs from entirely upcycled source material;
- The creation of a mobile tea-serving cart that offers space for social connection over a free cup of tea.
Follow the rainbow crosswalk towards diversity and inclusion
On July 23rd 2017, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) introduced its first rainbow crosswalk. Located on Hardin Street in downtown Fort McMurray, Mayor Melissa Blake celebrated its installation, stating: “Diversity is our strength and this crosswalk celebrates that!” The Regional Advisory Committee on Inclusion, Diversity and Equality (RACIDE) and Pride YMM first presented the idea of the crosswalk to the Municipality at a Council meeting in June 2016. A year later, that crosswalk is a reality.
The crosswalk’s installation is part of the Municipality’s ongoing work on the YMM Pride Committee, which supports the LGBTQ+ community and its allies in the region.
Brewing up inclusion at the Diversity Café
The City of Ottawa hosts regular Diversity Café events, where its staff is invited to listen to speakers talk about their experiences of diversity. Speakers discuss several important topics, including:
- Experiences of stigma;
- Discrimination in the workplace;
- Strategies to maintain resiliency during difficult times.
These informal events invite City staff to ask questions on topics that don’t always get brought up in the workplace. In turn, participants become allies and champions for diversity and inclusion—in their workplace and across their city.
These are only a few examples. What exciting activities are your municipalities doing to build inclusivity? Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.