Regional Diversity Roundtable Newsletter: July 2015
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In this Issue:
  • Peel Pride Week
  • RDR Conference Materials
  • Call for Papers
  • Resource Corner
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Become an RDR Member

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A Thought from RDR
#HappyPride to the LGBTTIQQ2S - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transexual, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, 2 Spirited - community and beyond!
Peel will be holding it's annual Pride Week from July 13 - July 25, with a festival to close the week, as organized by East Mississauga Community Centre and Pride Week in Peel Planning Committee. Both RDR and the Diversity and Inclusion Charter of Peel will be present, come have a chat with us at our booth and check out the Pride festivities!

Currently, our social media feeds and news outlets have flooded us with the recent legalization of same-sex marriage across all the states in the US. An issue Canada resolved when it became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage, outside of Europe, on July 20, 2015 with the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act. This act included a gender-neutral definition of marriage. While recognition of same-sex relationships within the institution of marriage is an important issue and one that deserves celebration, it often dominates conversations around the LGBTTIQQ2S community.

e must also reflect on the way in which the community is often homogenized and the diversity within erased alongside the resulting issues. Legalization of same-sex marriage is a priority for some and but one of multiple hurdles people with fluid identities face. Trans individuals are targets of violence and still pathologized in the DSM which has resulted in inadequate transitioning processes. Further, LGBTTIQQ2S individuals have intersecting identities that they must navigate - race, culture, ability, socio-economic status. What is the lived experience of a South Asian lesbian, a 2 spirited individual impacted by colonization, an intersex individual with a disability? 

In short, marriage equality may not be high on everyone's priority list. 
For this reason, RDR urges you to think about the current 'face' of the community and how 'the hetero-marriage institution' has become the dominating focus. How, as allies of the community, can we work together to build a truly inclusive future?

Also, in remembrance of the racist violence that took place in Charleston, South Carolina this past month, we'd like to draw everyone's attention to Multiculturalism Day (June 27) and National Elimination Day of Racism (March 21). RDR encourages everyone to think about how these national days of celebration can continue the work of building healthy, equitable and inclusive communities all year long. More importantly, communities where senseless yet targeted violence against certain groups - black, LGBTTIQQ2S, muslim -  ceases to exist. 
Please check out RDR resources relating to positive spaces and training below. We have also added links to glossaries with key definitions pertaining to the LGVTTIQQ2S community. Education and awareness is the first step in creating inclusive spaces!

-The Regional Diversity Roundtable

RDR Resources:
Bending the Mold: An Action Kit for Transgender Youth
LGBTQ Safer Spaces
LGBTQ Tool Kit For Creating LBTQ Culturally Competent Care at Toronto Long-Term Care Homes and Services
Practice Brief: LGBTTIQQ2S
Rainbow Health Ontario Resource Database

These glossaries are provided to bring some clarity and common understanding to some of the terminologies used in LGBTTIQQ2S communities. We recognize that language is constantly evolving and also limiting, as such these multiple glossary links are meant to be a starting/continuing points. We would like to encourage you to explore other sources to further enhance your understanding of these terms and add to the list as these meanings change. 


RDR News

A. Centring Diversity for Workplace Equity: Tools for
     Change Conference 2015 






Thank you to everyone who attended and presented at our annual diversity and equity conference. To say the conference was a success, is an understatement! Our keynote speakers challenged attendees to think beyond diversity 101 by providing key ways in which to implement diversity, equity and inclusion within organizations. In the Capacity Building Sessions, experts in healthcare, evaluation and education shared their successes, challenges and tips in implementing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. We look forward to bringing another great conference to Peel in 2016!

Conference Resources: 
Dr. Denise O'Neil Green
Naveen Mehta
Andrew Taylor
Waheeda Rahman
Saleha Khan

Attended the conference but didn't have a chance to provide feedback? Fill out our quick Conference Evaluation

Find more pictures on our Facebook page!

Stay tuned - we will also be posting our keynote presentations on our website in the upcoming weeks!
Drumming Circle
Peel Aboriginal Network - Elder Cat Criger and Sean Kinsella

B. RDR Welcomes New Board Members!
Three new board members are joining us for the next year! Their individual expertise, passion for DEI and connections to Peel Region will help steer RDR towards its strategic vision. 


Diksha Sawhney
Diksha Sawhney is a CPA, CA with several years of experience in corporate and non-for-profit governance, risk management and financial accounting. Diksha began her career in Public Accounting with PwC and is currently working for Manulife Financial. Diksha obtained her Bachelor of Commerce (Hon.) Degree with Minor in Economics from McMaster University. Diksha shares a strong passion for promoting diversity, equity and inclusion of individuals in the society and workplace. She is an active volunteer in her community who has volunteered with several Not-For-Profit organizations and has judged various accounting case competitions. She is also a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario.

Taranum Khan 
Taranum Khan relocated to Canada in 2011. Although her professional background resets in education and training, the nonprofit sector inspires her! She took on a role in front line work to give back to the community that took her in with open arms. Social work; issues of women and youth always remain an area of focus for her. She maintains diverse interests like social media strategy, change management and social entrepreneurship. As the first woman to join administration at University of Jammu, India, she likes challenging norms. While working as Deputy Registrar, she continued to pursue academics. She has a Ph.D in English “Canadian Fiction” and published research papers to her credit. She also attended the Executive Program at Rotman School of Management. Her current profile includes Employment Facilitation, 360Reach Certified Personal Branding Analyst and co-founder of ETREC a premier consultancy offering academic advise to international students for study in Canada. 

Gursharan Virdee 
Gursharan is a researcher at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and mental health therapist with GTA Psychological Services in the Peel Region. Her recent research focused on the role of community in mental wellbeing and participation. Since moving to Toronto from London (UK), Gursharan has worked with diverse communities across the region and developed an interest in advancing culturally relevant and alternative models of mental health care. Gursharan is a member of the Peel Services Collaborative, The Collaborative for South Asian Mental Health and the Choices in Mental Health Collaborative. Gursharan brings a social ecological lens to all areas of her work, realizing that we are all embedded within systems that can shape our everyday experiences. She is committed to reducing inequities, cultivating inclusion and breaking down barriers that exist for marginalized groups.

C. RDR Membership
Is you organization interested in becoming an RDR member?  As a member of the roundtable, you can network with other public sector, social service and non-profit organizations, participate in pilot projects, engage in monthly learning components and strengthen your organization's diversity, equity and inclusion strategy/skillset. 

Access our membership application and membership guidelines/criteria today. Once filled out please send it to our coordinator who will seek approval from the board. Visit our website or contact our Project Coordinator for more information!

D. RDR's 3rd Annual Journal of Promising Practices on Diversity and             Equity


Diversity & Inclusion Charter of Peel

The Diversity and Inclusion Charter of Peel has had a busy month! We thank all members who attended our special session at RDR's annual diversity conference on June 10th - we received some very valuable feedback about our very own Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Organizational Self-Assessment Tool. Since then, we have officially begun the pilot test of the tool and are looking forward to developing it further!  

On June 23rd, the Diversity and Inclusion Charter of Peel delegated to the Caledon Town Council, inviting the Council to reaffirm its commitment to the Charter.  At the meeting, Council unanimously endorsed the Charter - a significant achievement for RDR and a great milestone for Peel Region! We hope that this will catalyze movement for the City of Mississauga and the City of Brampton as well!  

On June 25th, we made a special presentation to community members, and to members of the Canadian Evaluation Society, about the opportunities and challenges of evaluating a complex social initiative - the Diversity and Inclusion Charter of Peel. It was a great learning experience for us and we hope to engage in more of such events! 

This summer, we will be working on developing our capacity building resources! Please submit your feedback, questions and requests to get involved with the D&I Charter Initiative to Project Lead Amrita Kumar-Ratta at Stay tuned for more community forums in the coming months and please follow us on twitter (@DICharter) and like us on Facebook (Diversity and Inclusion Charter of Peel)!

Hashtags to take note of include:


Resource Corner

Resource - Positive Spaces in Peel Region

Positive Spaces Initiative


June 2015, Report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women


Report - A Higher Standard: The Case for Holding Low-Ware Employers in Ontario to a Higher Standard

June 2015, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Ontario Office


Report - In & Out: Diverging Perspectives on LGBT Inclusion in the Workplace

May 2015, Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, University of Guelph Sexual and Gender Diversity Research Lab, Pride at Work Canada


Webinars - Employee Resource Groups in Canada

Thursday July 16 | 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Tuesday July 28 | 3:00pm - 4:00pm


Webinars - Preventing Sexual Harassment at Work

Tuesday July 7th | 12:00pm - 1:00pm


Community Events

Event - Pride Week in Peel



Public Meeting - Let's Talk about Social Assistance


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