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Big Ideas in IDEA

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

September 2023

Greetings and welcome to the September issue of Big Ideas in IDEA! We're delighted to have you with us for another monthly newsletter, dedicated to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility. Our journey toward greater inclusion is a dynamic and ongoing process, one that requires continuous dedication and education. Our commitment to IDEA extends beyond mere words and into the actions we take each day

Within these pages, you'll discover a wealth of insightful content showcasing articles on truth and reconciliation, gender inequality in the Canadian workplaces, and factors impacting gender equity. You'll also find resources, tools, and guidance to help us further our mission and an invitation to our education webinar series with a focus on 'Inclusive Leadership Through a Cultural Competence Lens.' 

Remember to take part in our IDEA Research and let us know which topics of IDEA you are interested in receiving training. We invite you to consider your response as both an individual learner and as an advocate for your organization.

We appreciate our readers ongoing support, your dedication and commitment to IDEA are the driving forces behind our progress, and we thank you for your invaluable contributions.

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to our shared vision. Together, we can turn ideas into actions and create a brighter, more inclusive future for all.

Zakeana Reid
Interim CEO & Chief Operating Officer

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: September 30th

In 2021, the country observed the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (NDTR) held on September 30th coinciding with Orange Shirt Day. Orange Shirt Day, initiated in 2013, serves as a campaign to promote awareness and education of the residential school system and its impact on Indigenous Canadians. The orange shirt became a symbol of awareness because of the bravery exhibited by Phyllis Webstad - a residential school survivor. When Phyllis was taken to residential school, her new orange shirt was taken away from her and was never returned. This became a symbol of the forced assimilation and abuse of Indigenous children in residential schools (Orange Shirt Society, 2023). This year marks the eighth anniversary since the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) six-volume final report. With the third NDTR upon us, it is time more than ever to move from a place of intention to a place of action, for which the TRC refers to as Reconcili-ACTION.  

Getting involved in taking action and reconciliation is an important step toward healing and addressing the impacts of the residential school system. Here are some ways to get involved.  

  1. Educate yourself: Start by taking the opportunity to educate yourself and learn about the history and legacy of residential schools in Canada. Read books/articles like the “Reconciliation Manifesto” by Arthur Manuel and Ronald Derrickson (2017), watch documentaries/movies like Bones of Crows (2022), or listen to podcasts like “Warrior Life” by Pamela Palmater. 
  2. Engage with TRC Events: Make sure to offer employees an opportunity to attend TRC events. This could include conferences, workshops, public hearings, experiential learning opportunities, or webinars. 
  3. Support Indigenous Organizations: Take the opportunity to support Indigenous organizations. This means finding Indigenous-led organizations or groups working on reconciliation and supporting their initiatives. This can include volunteering, donating, or participating in their activities. 
  4. Advocate for Change: As our journey towards learning continues, it is important to take what we have learned and advocate for change. This can mean writing letters to your local government representatives or engaging in advocacy campaigns to express your support for the TRC Calls to Action.  media to share resources or engage with educational events in your community. 
  5. Support Survivors and Families: Make sure to support survivors and their families by learning about support services available to survivors and offering assistance if appropriate. 
  6. Engage with Indigenous Traditional Knowledge It is also important to learn about Indigenous traditional knowledge by engaging in respectful dialogue with Indigenous individuals and communities. Seek opportunities to learn from Indigenous knowledge, cultures, and traditions. Participate in cultural events or initiatives that promote intercultural understanding and respect.   
  7. Practice Sustainable Allyship: Becoming a meaningful ally to Indigenous peoples involves ongoing education, active listening, and taking action to support Indigenous rights, cultures, and well-being. It means we must be our own scholar in learning about the rich diversity, histories, and contemporary issues encountered by Indigenous peoples. It means to advocate and champion Indigenous causes/events and to seek out opportunities to listen to Indigenous perspectives and experiences. Amplify Indigenous voices and support their initiatives for self-determination. You can also provide recommendations by being a sponsor, or in the case of building relationships and trust, be a confidant to Indigenous colleagues/individuals. Recognize that Indigenous peoples are not a monolithic group and that allyship will require different actions depending on the specific context and needs of the community you are supporting. Remember, being an ally is an ongoing process, and it is important to be receptive to feedback, adapt your approach, and engage in allyship in a respectful and humble manner.
  8. Challenge Stereotypes and Microaggressions: It is also important to challenge stereotypes and microaggressions by being an upstander. This means being aware of and challenging stereotypes and microaggressions that perpetuate harmful narratives about Indigenous peoples. Speak up against racism and misinformation when you witness it, whether it is in your personal relationships, workplace, or the broader community. 

If you are interested in continuing your learning, check out a list of resources below or for more information about CCDI Consulting Inc.’s Indigenous Inclusion 2.0 and 3.0 sessions that focus on incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing and assisting organizations with writing/implementing engagement and TRC strategies. Contact us at today.

Go to the Resources.

Unmasking Gender Inequality in Canada's Workplaces

You would think, as a woman, I would have paid more attention to the subtle but ever-present inequity I experienced, but to be honest, until I knew to look, I was oblivious! In the early 2000s, I was working in human resources and was responsible for analyzing employment equity data at my organization. Until I saw the salary discrepancies laid out for me in the reports I was responsible for generating, I had never considered that it was so glaringly obvious. Year after year, I was asked to report my findings, and I kept seeing the same discrepancies. Naively, I thought that once I brought the issue to the attention of the leadership, someone would do something - instead, I heard a LOT of excuses. 

Now, 20 years later, I have the privilege of helping other organizations with their employment equity reporting. Depressingly, I keep seeing that in the same roles, women make less than men. Racialized women (as well as Indigenous women and women with a disability) make lower salaries, have fewer overtime hours, and receive lower bonuses. I think to myself, how is this even possible?

Gender inequality in Canada's workplaces persists despite significant progress in recent decades. One of the most evident manifestations of this inequality is the gender wage gap. On average, women in Canada earn less than their male counterparts for similar work.  

Why does this gap persist? 

Occupational Segregation: A Pervasive Problem 

Occupational segregation is a major contributor to the gender wage gap in Canada. This phenomenon refers to the unequal distribution of men and women across different occupations and industries. It's a deeply rooted issue that often results in women being concentrated in lower-paying fields while men dominate higher-paying sectors. 

The Motherhood Penalty 

The motherhood penalty is a harsh reality for many working women. It refers to the negative impact on a woman's career, earning potential, and opportunities for advancement that often occur after becoming a mother. This penalty is often due to biased perceptions that mothers may be less committed to their careers or less available for work-related responsibilities. 

Lack of Equal Representation in Leadership 

Another aspect of gender inequality is the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions.  This lack of representation has consequences for decision-making and workplace culture. 

Equal Pay for Equal Work: A Fundamental Principle 

Equal pay for equal work is a fundamental principle that is often not realized in practice. Pay disparities between men and women in the same roles can be due to multiple factors, including negotiation bias, lack of transparency, and biased evaluation processes. 

The Intersectional Lens 

Gender inequality doesn't affect all women equally. It's crucial to recognize that gender intersects with other aspects of identity, such as race, ethnicity, and disability, creating unique challenges for different groups of women. Racialized women, Indigenous women, and women with disabilities often face even greater wage gaps and barriers to advancement. 

The Role of Advocacy and Legislation 

Beyond organizational efforts, advocacy and legislation play a critical role in addressing gender inequality. Canada has made strides in this area, including the Pay Equity Act and the Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) initiative, which promotes gender equity in public institutions. 

What can organizations do to bridge the gap? 

  • Organizations can actively promote diversity in traditionally male-dominated fields by implementing recruitment and retention strategies that encourage women to pursue careers in these areas.  
  • Organizations must implement family-friendly policies, such as parental leave and flexible work arrangements, to support working parents. Promote a culture that values and rewards productivity and results over face time. 
  • Encourage and support the development of women's leadership skills through mentorship and sponsorship programs. Ensure that women have equal opportunities to access leadership roles and that diversity is celebrated at the top. 
  • Organizations should conduct regular pay equity audits to ensure that compensation is fair and equitable. Implement transparent salary structures, negotiate salary openly, and train managers to recognize and address bias in evaluations. 
  • Organizations should adopt an intersectional approach to diversity and inclusion efforts. This means considering the overlapping identities and experiences of individuals and tailoring programs and policies to address the specific challenges faced by different groups of women. 
  • Organizations can actively support advocacy efforts and compliance with relevant legislation. Embrace the principles of GBA+ to ensure that gender equity is considered in all policies and programs. 

A Collective Effort for Change 

Addressing gender inequality in Canadian workplaces is a complex challenge that necessitates a collective effort. While organizations play a crucial role in creating more equitable environments, they cannot tackle this issue alone. Achieving gender equity requires the commitment of leaders, employees, and often, the fresh perspectives brought by external partners. 

For more information on our Employment Equity support services and DEI assessments, contact us at  

Unveiling the Layers: Factors Impacting Gender Inequity Beyond the Workplace

In an era where many individuals find themselves balancing the demands of children at home, often adult offspring, and aging parents in need of care, the complexities of gender inequity reach beyond the workplace. As we reach senior positions in our careers, managing teams or even larger leadership roles, we wear many hats, and the accumulation of these responsibilities compounds an already complex issue. In today's world, individuals often find themselves juggling a multitude of roles and responsibilities outside of their workplaces. These roles, while fulfilling, can compound the complexities of gender inequity. Let's delve into some of the key factors outside of the workplace that contribute to the inequity faced by women in Canadian society, factors that affect their ability to fully take part in the workforce at a level that would allow for equitable pay. 

The Caregiver's Dilemma
Many individuals in the "sandwich generation" are tasked with caring for both their children and aging parents simultaneously. This caregiving role, often assumed by women, can be emotionally rewarding but also incredibly time-consuming. Balancing the needs of both generations can lead to reduced availability for career advancement and personal development. 

The Gendered Burden of Domestic Work
Despite progress in gender roles, women still bear a disproportionate share of domestic responsibilities. Household chores, childcare, and eldercare often fall more heavily on women's shoulders, leaving less time and energy for career-related pursuits. This unequal distribution of domestic work can hinder women's career progression and impact their earning potential. 

Maternity and Parental Leave 
While Canada has made significant strides in parental leave policies, women continue to face challenges related to maternity and parental leave. The choice to take time off for caregiving responsibilities can impact career continuity and advancement. Moreover, the stigma often associated with extended leaves can hinder women's career trajectories. 

Lack of Affordable Childcare 
Access to affordable, quality childcare is still a significant challenge in Canada. The high cost of childcare can discourage women from returning to work after maternity leave or pursuing career opportunities. It can also limit their ability to work full-time, affecting their earning potential. 

Women's Health and Well-being 
Women's health issues, both physical and mental, can impact their careers. Conditions such as pregnancy complications, postpartum depression, or menopause can affect work performance and may necessitate time off or workplace accommodations.  

Intersectionality: Compounded Challenges 
It's essential to recognize that the impact of these factors can be compounded for women with intersecting identities, such as racialized women, Indigenous women, and women with disabilities. These individuals often face more barriers and inequities outside of the workplace, which further affect their career opportunities and earning potential. 

The Struggle for Work-Life Balance 
Achieving work-life balance can be particularly challenging for women who are juggling multiple responsibilities. Striving to excel in both their professional and personal lives, they may experience burnout and stress, affecting their overall well-being and career trajectories. 

Societal Expectations and Cultural Norms 
Societal expectations and cultural norms continue to influence women's roles and responsibilities outside of work. These norms can shape decisions about family planning, caregiving, and career aspirations, reinforcing traditional gender roles. 

Addressing Gender Inequity Beyond the Workplace 
Effectively addressing gender inequity beyond the workplace requires a multifaceted approach. Here are some strategies and considerations: 

  • Supportive Workplace Policies:
    Advocate for workplace policies that support work-life balance, including flexible work arrangements and paid family leave. 
  • Accessible and Affordable Childcare:
    Advocate for improved access to affordable and high-quality childcare services to ease the burden on working parents, particularly mothers. 
    Encourage employers to provide childcare support or subsidies as part of employee benefits. 
  • Raising Awareness:
    Raise awareness about the importance of fair distribution of domestic responsibilities and challenge traditional gender roles within families. 
    Promote discussions around caregiving and work-life balance to reduce stigma and encourage open dialogue. 
  • Intersectional Approaches:
    Recognize and address the unique challenges faced by women with intersecting identities and develop policies and support systems that consider their specific needs. 
  • Mental and Physical Health Support:
    Promote mental health awareness and access to resources for women facing mental health challenges. 
  • Advocacy and Legislation:
    Advocate for policies and legislation that support women's rights, including fair parental leave, equal pay, and affordable healthcare. 
    Engage in community and national advocacy efforts to raise awareness about gender inequity beyond the workplace. 
  • Empowering Change:
    Gender inequity extends beyond workplaces and affects various aspects of our lives. As we navigate the complexities of caregiving, family responsibilities, and societal expectations, it's crucial to address these factors collectively to build a fairer future. By advocating for supportive policies, fostering inclusivity, and challenging traditional norms, we can drive positive change that benefits not only women but society.  

For more information on our DEI assessments and policy reviews, contact us at  

Big Ideas in IDEA Monthly Poll

Which IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility) topics or areas would you be most interested in receiving training or support for?

You can vote and access the September DEI Poll by scanning the QR code below or by visiting this link:

QRCode for IDEA Monthly Poll_ September Edition

DEI Poll Results for August Edition

The recent DEI poll revealed that there is a substantial interest within our community regarding various aspects of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

The insights can hold a critical role in shaping any organizational approach to DEI initiatives. These results are not just numbers; they represent the diverse and multifaceted nature of our workforce's concerns and aspirations. Two areas stand out prominently: "Implementing Diversity in the Workplace" and "Understanding Privilege and Its Impact," both garnering a substantial 75% interest. This dual emphasis signifies a strong collective commitment to driving tangible change and fostering greater self-awareness and empathy. Additionally, the interest displayed in "Understanding Different Cultures and Backgrounds" at 50% underscores the significance of promoting cultural competence. Equally important are the topics of "Recognizing and Addressing Unconscious Bias," "Managing Diverse Teams," and "Inclusive Communications," resonating with 37.5% of respondents.

DEI Poll - September

These results can help guide us in tailoring DEI initiatives to not only address organizational needs but also to empower and engage our employees in a way that is meaningful to them while supporting the ongoing efforts to create an inclusive workplace that aligns both the employees' interests and the organization's goals.

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