City of Guelph commits to diversity, inclusion and anti-racism initiatives

Making our workplace and community more inclusive

Guelph, Ont., July 24, 2020 – Today, Guelph City Council learned more about how the City’s Community Plan, Strategic Plan and Employee Diversity and Inclusion Plan will help make Guelph a more inclusive, connected and prosperous city where people look after each other and the environment.

“As an employer and local government, we’re reflecting on our role and the values that guide us to ensure our workplace and our community are welcoming places for everyone; Black, Indigenous, people of colour, people who identify as members of LGBTQ2 community, those who have disabilities and other underrepresented groups,” says City of Guelph Chief Administrative Officer, Scott Stewart

Guelph’s Community Plan

The City already uses research findings, data and direction from Guelph’s Community Plan to develop master plans, projects and programs. The plan has also been used by several community groups to start conversations and take action to strengthen Guelph’s future. Over the next two months, the City will ask community members how the Community Plan could act as a foundation to explore what will be required for Guelph to set the community standard for the elimination of systemic racism in Canada.

“The City can’t do this work without the community. We can, and we must, support people and organizations already working to address racism in Guelph to amplify their voices and promote meaningful change,” added Stewart.

To achieve the vision of Guelph’s Community Plan and make Guelph a place where we look out for one another, celebrate our diversity and smile at each other in the streets, the City must listen and learn from those affected by systemic racism, and support their efforts through dialogue, data and action. Some ways the City could support this work include:

  • Facilitating conversations to develop a project scope and direction
  • Exploring how to measure and report on Guelph’s progress toward inclusion, diversity and anti-racism
  • Reviewing available data to determine or confirm our most pressing challenges and finding ways to collect data where none exists
  • Supporting broader conversations, listening to the ones already happening and using community engagement tools

Agencies, boards and committees

The City recruits local volunteers to participate in 20 different agencies, boards and committees. These groups directly influence public policies and local government decision-making.

Later this year, the City will collect any information members would like to share about their race, gender and disabilities to learn which groups may be underrepresented on each committee. The City is also updating its recruitment practices to encourage a more diverse group of applicants and members.

“We get better ideas and make better decisions when we listen and collaborate with people with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives,” says Stewart.

City’s Employee Diversity and Inclusion Plan

Comparing the City’s employee census data with labour market data, the City learned women and people who identify as visible minorities are underrepresented in certain types of jobs in the organization. Over the past few years, the City has used this information to develop partnerships, outreach campaigns, mentorship and internship programs.

Building on Guelph’s previous Diversity Strategy, the updated Employee Diversity and Inclusion Plan sets out actions designed to help the City go further, do better and build a workplace where:

  • all employees feel safe, welcome, respected and valued
  • we attract and retain employees as diverse as the labour market
  • we know better ideas come from listening and collaborating with people who have diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives
  • we build trusting relationships and effective teams through honest and open communication

“A diverse and inclusive workplace engages employees, strengthens teams and improves organizational performance—that means better service to the community,” says Stewart.

City’s Strategic Plan: Guelph. Future ready.

The City’s Strategic Plan: Guelph. Future ready is guided by the values of inclusion, integrity, service, learning and wellness.

These values show the City’s intent to work with the community to make strategies, policies, programs and services more inclusive and responsive. Although the organization does have a strong foundation, there are gaps and areas that must be addressed more comprehensively and explicitly.

These efforts require a long-term commitment and meaningful collaboration with diverse groups of people to ensure more inclusive decision-making.

“I believe our hearts are in the right place, we’re headed in the right direction, and we have a lot of work to do to ensure City policies, programs and services are designed to serve Guelph’s diverse and growing community. This is a journey, and we’re committed to taking this journey together,” added Stewart.


To share ideas and learn how to get involved contact [email protected].

Media Contact

Stacey Hare
Corporate Communications and Customer Service
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2611
[email protected]