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Big Ideas in IDEA

CCDI Consulting's Monthly Newsletter for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility.

June 2023

Hello and welcome to Big Ideas in IDEA. We're thrilled to be back with another edition of our monthly DEI newsletter.

This month, we're shining a spotlight on two important topics: National Indigenous History Month and PRIDE Season. 

But that's not all - we've also compiled a list of recently published posts from our blog, The IDEA Journey, that you may have missed. From thought-provoking articles to practical tips and tons of resources, we have got you covered. 

As a reminder, our 2SLGBTQIA+ celebration webinar, "Elevating 2SLGBTQIA+: A Celebration Webinar", is free and open to all. Sign up today! 

Zakeana Reid
Interim CEO & Chief Operating Officer

What is National Indigenous History Month?

National Indigenous History Month is a time to honour and recognize the rich history, diverse cultures, and significant contributions of Indigenous peoples in Canada. This month-long observance is an opportunity for all Canadians to learn about the legacy of residential schools, the impact of colonialism, and the resilience of Indigenous communities.

It is important to celebrate National Indigenous History Month because it provides an opportunity for Canadians to acknowledge and reflect on the history and legacy of colonization and its ongoing impact on Indigenous peoples. Through education, awareness, and understanding, Canadians can take steps towards reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

The history of Indigenous peoples in Canada is characterized by colonization, systemic racism, and oppression. For centuries, Indigenous peoples have faced devastating consequences as a result of colonial policies such as the Indian Act, the residential school system, and the Sixties Scoop. These policies resulted in the loss of Indigenous languages, cultures, and traditions and the intergenerational trauma that still affects Indigenous communities today.

National Indigenous History Month is an opportunity to reflect on the legacy of these policies and to recognize the resilience, strength, and contributions of Indigenous peoples in Canada. It is also an opportunity to honor the many Indigenous leaders, activists, and advocates who have fought tirelessly for the rights and recognition of Indigenous peoples.

For employers, it is especially important to celebrate National Indigenous History Month as it allows them to acknowledge and reflect on the impact of colonization and systemic racism on Indigenous peoples in the workplace. Here are some ways that employers can acknowledge and celebrate National Indigenous History Month in the workplace:

Provide learning opportunities: Employers can provide learning opportunities for their employees, such as workshops, webinars, or guest speakers, to educate them about Indigenous history, culture, and traditions. By providing employees with these opportunities, employers can help promote understanding and respect for Indigenous peoples and cultures.

Acknowledge traditional territories: Employers can acknowledge the traditional territories on which their workplaces are located, recognizing the historical and ongoing presence of Indigenous peoples in the area. This can be done through signage, email signatures, or other means.

Support Indigenous-owned businesses: Employers can support Indigenous-owned businesses by sourcing products or services from them, or by highlighting them on their social media channels or company website.

Participate in Indigenous cultural events: Employers can participate in Indigenous cultural events, such as powwows, ceremonies, or festivals, either as a company or by encouraging employees to attend.

Establish partnerships with Indigenous organizations: Employers can establish partnerships with Indigenous organizations, such as Friendship Centers or Indigenous business associations, to support their initiatives and to learn from their expertise.

Foster an inclusive workplace culture: Employers can foster an inclusive workplace culture that values diversity and respects Indigenous cultures and traditions. This can be achieved through training, policy development, and ongoing dialogue with employees.

In conclusion, National Indigenous History Month is an important observance that provides an opportunity for Canadians to learn about and reflect on the history and legacy of colonization, and to recognize the significant contributions of Indigenous peoples in Canada. For employers, celebrating this observance is an opportunity to create a more inclusive workplace culture that respects Indigenous cultures and traditions, and promotes understanding, respect, and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and communities.

Celebrating Pride Season in the Workplace

The 2SLGBTQI+ community has faced centuries of discrimination, stigmatization, and marginalization. This has resulted in unequal treatment, violence, and systemic barriers to their advancement in society. PRIDE month serves as a reminder of the struggles that the 2SLGBTQI+ community has faced and continues to face today.

Acknowledging PRIDE season in the workplace is one way that inclusive leaders can help create a workplace that is inclusive and welcoming to all employees, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and foster a sense of belonging and acceptance. In short, acknowledging PRIDE season in the workplace makes good business sense. This, in turn, leads to increased employee engagement, productivity, and retention. 

Moreover, recognizing PRIDE month also shows the employer's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In today's society, where social justice issues are at the forefront of public discourse, companies that are seen as promoting and supporting diversity and inclusion are more likely to attract and retain top talent, as well as earn the loyalty and respect of their customers and clients.

In short, acknowledging PRIDE season in the workplace is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic business decision. By doing so, employers can create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all employees, demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion, and reap the benefits of a more engaged and productive workforce.

Here are some suggestions for employers to celebrate and acknowledge PRIDE in the workplace:

Host a PRIDE event: Consider organizing a PRIDE event such as a virtual parade, a lunch and learn session, or a panel discussion on 2SLGBTQI+ issues. This is a great way to educate employees about the 2SLGBTQI+ community and their experiences.

Display the PRIDE flag: Displaying the PRIDE flag in the workplace sends a message of support to the 2SLGBTQI+ community. The flag can be hung in the office or on the company's website and social media pages.

Offer 2SLGBTQI+ resources: Ensure that the company's benefits package includes coverage for 2SLGBTQI+-related medical expenses such as gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, and mental health services. Additionally, consider offering resources such as employee resource groups, training on 2SLGBTQI+ issues, and sensitivity training.

Celebrate 2SLGBTQI+ employees: Recognize and celebrate the contributions of 2SLGBTQI+ employees. Consider highlighting their achievements in the company newsletter, website, or social media pages.

Partner with 2SLGBTQI+ organizations: Partner with local 2SLGBTQI+ organizations to support their initiatives and promote events in the community.

In conclusion, recognizing PRIDE season in the workplace is not only important but also beneficial for the company and its employees. By creating an inclusive and welcoming environment, employers can show their support for the 2SLGBTQI+ community and foster a sense of belonging among their employees.

Pride Month for Transgender Community

Pride Month is an important time to acknowledge the achievements of the transgender community and to reflect on the progress that still needs to be made. In Canada, the government has taken some steps to support and protect transgender people, but there are still significant challenges that need to be addressed. 

One significant achievement in Canada is the passage of Bill C-16 2017, which added gender identity and gender expression in three areas:

  • Amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act - bringing the federal legislation in line with many established provincial human rights legislation.

  • Two amendments to the Criminal Code - adding to the identifiable characteristics of a group protected from hate propaganda and adding to the list of aggravating circumstances to be taken into account during sentencing.

The Canadian government has also taken steps to make it easier for transgender people to change their gender markers on government-issued identification documents, including passports and birth certificates. In addition, some provinces provide funding for gender-affirming healthcare, such as hormone therapy and surgeries. 

Compared to many other countries in the world, Canada is considered to be a relatively supportive country for transgender people. The World Economic Forum, for example, rates Canada as a "good" country for transgender rights, while many other countries receive "poor" or "very poor" ratings. 

However, despite these positive steps, transgender people in Canada still face significant challenges. Many transgender people still experience discrimination when seeking housing, and experience violence, harassment, and social discrimination. Accessing healthcare and support services can also be difficult, particularly in more rural or remote areas of the country. 

Workplace Issues:

Canadian transgender people may face various challenges and issues in the workplace as well. Some common problems include: 

Discrimination: Transgender individuals may experience discrimination based on their gender identity, leading to unfair treatment, harassment, or exclusion during the hiring process, promotions, or day-to-day interactions.

Misgendering: Colleagues or employers may use incorrect pronouns or use the wrong name, which can be distressing and invalidating for transgender individuals.

Lack of inclusive policies: Some workplaces may lack comprehensive policies that protect transgender employees' rights, including guidelines on transitioning, restroom use, dress code, or name and pronoun usage. The absence of these policies can lead to confusion, discomfort, and potential discrimination.

Limited healthcare coverage: Access to gender-affirming healthcare, such as hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgeries, might be limited or not covered by some employers' healthcare plans, affecting transgender employees' ability to access necessary medical treatments. 

Strategies to address issues transgender employees are facing:

Develop inclusive policies prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and expression: These policies should cover all aspects of employment, including recruitment, promotion, dress codes, and restroom use, use of pronouns, using inclusive language in hiring and communication (Gender Decoder: find subtle bias in job ads ( – a great resource to help)

Provide diversity and inclusion training: Conduct regular training sessions to educate employees on transgender issues, gender identity, and appropriate language and behavior. This can help foster a more understanding and respectful work environment. Some courses offered by CCDI Consulting that might help – Managing Bias in Hiring and 2SLGBTQI+ Inclusion. Read more about these and other courses offered here Instructor-led IDEA Training for Organizations | CCDI Consulting Inc.

Update healthcare benefits: Review healthcare plans to ensure they cover gender-affirming treatments and surgeries. Consider partnering with insurance providers that offer comprehensive coverage for transgender healthcare needs.

Create safe reporting mechanisms: Establish confidential reporting channels for incidents of discrimination or harassment, encourage employees to report any concerns, and ensure that these reports are handled promptly and appropriately.

Instruct your employees to use the “5 Ws” as a guide: If they are experiencing discrimination or harassment by documenting -

  • who was involved (including witnesses)
  • what happened specifically
  • where the incident occurred
  • when the incident occurred (recently, in the past, ongoing) and, if relevant, how frequently, and 
  • what, if anything, the individual did in response (including who they may have told inside the organization both formally and informally).

Foster an inclusive culture: Encourage a culture of respect and acceptance by celebrating diversity and fostering inclusion in all aspects of the workplace. This can be achieved through employee resource groups, diversity initiatives, and open dialogue. More helpful strategies for employees experiencing harassment or discrimination can be found at 2SLGBTQ+ Human Rights in the Workplace - Nelligan Law. 

It is crucial for employers to prioritize creating a safe and inclusive environment for all employees, including transgender employees. By addressing these issues and implementing supportive policies and practices, workplaces can promote equality, well-being, and productivity for all employees. 

As a transgender activist and writer Janet Mock has said, "Trans people deserve something vital and fundamental—something we all deserve, no matter who we are: to be able to live authentically as ourselves without fear of violence or discrimination." Let us celebrate the progress that has been made but also continue to work towards a more just and equitable society for all transgender people. 

Big Ideas in IDEA Monthly Poll

In Case You Missed It

Which of the following challenges for Canadian organizations are keeping you up at night? (select up to three options)

Talent Acquisition and Retention

Economic Uncertainty

Digital Transformation

Regulatory Compliance

Diversity and Inclusion

Sustainability and Climate Change

Other Issues

All responses are strictly anonymous and voluntary. We will share the finding of this poll next month. 


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