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Coquitlam's new EDI manager aims for 'a culture of safety and belonging'

Manisha Dutta started at Coquitlam City Hall last week as manager of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).
Manisha Dutta
Manisha Dutta is the new EDI manager for the City of Coquitlam. She started April 11, 2022.

Coquitlam has a new manager in a newly created role at city hall.

Last week, Manisha Dutta started as manager of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) — a job funded in the 2022 budget and part of the corporate services department.

EDI is one of the city’s four key themes in this year’s business plan.

The others focus on sustainability, growth and liveability; pandemic recovery; and reconciliation.

In her new position, Dutta will look at policies and programs promoting representation and participation of various demographics from all ages, ethnicities, abilities, genders, religions, cultures and sexual orientations.

And her work within city departments and in the community will seek to address injustices and unconscious biases, as well as furthering “a culture of safety and belonging.”

“Having just started with the city on April 11, my focus at this time is on listening to and understanding the community, and information gathering to support the city in advancing this work in a thoughtful, holistic and measured way,” Dutta told the Tri-City News.

“As Coquitlam’s EDI journey continues to unfold, I expect there will be ongoing evolution, growth and opportunities in this important area of work.”

Dutta said EDI is particularly important to her as she is the daughter of Indian immigrants.

She holds a master’s degree in human rights and multiculturalism from the University of South–Eastern Norway, in Oslo, as well as a bachelor’s degree from Simon Fraser University (SFU). 

SFU also recently created a role for an EDI executive director to develop framework and organizational strategies to understand and foster equity, diversity and inclusion in the academic and working settings on its campuses. 

EDI positions also are springing up in other larger municipalities and organizations; however, neither Port Coquitlam nor Port Moody has a dedicated person in such a role.

Meanwhile, the City of Coquitlam has a webpage for its current equity, diversity and inclusion programs. 

You're encouraged to visit the city's EDI page to learn more about initiatives designed to reduce barriers and provide financial assistance to those eligible.