Coquitlam will spend up to $100,000 to make city hall more diverse, equitable and inclusive.
Last month, council earmarked the cash to address issues around ability, age, religion, gender, citizenship status, sexual orientation and ethnicity for staff within the municipal organization.
Deputy city manager Raul Allueva told the Tri-City News that council has yet to decide how the money will be allocated, and if the city will hire consultants to formulate public sector policies.
“We don’t know the scope of this or how much money we’ll need,” Allueva said. “It’s the early stages…. It’s more about the the city looking at itself and the evolution of our organization.”
And in passing the 2021 budget last December, Mayor Richard Stewart said Coquitlam “has long sought to be an inclusive community, one that reflects our remarkably diverse community. But we know we’re not immune to these types of hatred and prejudice that challenge our very society.”
The mayor added, “We want Coquitlam to continue to challenge itself to be better, to be more inclusive, and to strive to recognize and eliminate historic barriers to a truly inclusive society.”
Indeed, many Canadian municipalities and companies are designing diversity, equity and inclusion policies as a result of the Black Lives Matter protests and police brutality in the U.S. last year.
In B.C.’s capital of Victoria, the city is recruiting an equity, diversity and inclusion co-ordinator as part of its corporate initiatives department. The new hire will be “responsible for contributing toward the goal of removing systemic barriers to enable and empower everyone in the community to enjoy equitable outcomes from the services the city provides,” the job posting reads.
As well, on various job sites, there are similar specialist postings for the city of Vancouver, UBC, SFU and other educational institutions and firms. In 2017, the provincial government launched its three-year Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan for its employee recruiting and retention.