Port Coquitlam Adopts New Anti-Racial Discrimination Policy
PORT COQUITLAM, BC – Mar. 15, 2022…The City of Port Coquitlam has taken a stand against racism with the adoption a new anti-racial discrimination policy.
Today, City Council unanimously approved the adoption of an Anti-Racial Discrimination and Anti-Racism Policy that acknowledges the existence of racism and demonstrates the City’s commitment to conducting its operations and governance in an anti-discriminatory and anti-racist manner. Council also approved the proclamation of Mar. 21 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racism, based on a recommendation from the City’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Roundtable.
“It’s important that the City models the kind of behaviour we want to see in our community,” Mayor Brad West said. “With this new policy, we are saying loud and clear that racism and discrimination are simply not accepted or tolerated in our organization or in Port Coquitlam. We understand this policy is not the destination, but rather a step in our City’s ongoing journey to identify and address discrimination of all types and ensure Port Coquitlam is a truly welcoming and inclusive community for all.”
Development of the policy included consultation with staff unions and the EDI Roundtable, as well as research of best practices, legislation and legal advice.
Now officially in effect, the new policy applies to all staff, Council, volunteers, and anyone who works with the City. Working in tandem with the City’s existing Respectful Workplace Policy that addresses all forms of discrimination, the new policy focuses on racism specifically and is based on the following principles:
- The City recognizes and celebrates the diversity of the community and believes all members – regardless of race, colour, ancestry or place of origin – have the fundamental right to live, work, play and do businesses in an environment that supports their rights, personal worth and dignity.
- The City is committed to breaking down barriers, deconstructing biases, and fostering and promoting an inclusive, respectful and welcoming environment for all who interact with the organization.
- The City recognizes its leadership role and responsibility in this work, and expects anyone working with or representing the City to take the policy seriously.
The policy includes a process to ensure all complaints are thoroughly reviewed and investigated through the Complaint Resolution Process outlined in the Respectful Workplace Policy. Corrective actions for substantiated claims could include education, training, mediation, changes to reporting structures or work assignments, and discipline up to and including termination of employment or volunteer position.
“It’s a powerful message when an organization formally acknowledges and addresses racism through policy adoption and enforcement,” said Meena Dhillon, a Port Coquitlam lawyer and social worker who co-chairs the City’s EDI Roundtable. “It signals to not only staff but to residents the kind of community Port Coquitlam is striving to become.”
The Anti-Racial Discrimination and Anti-Racism Policy can be read in full at portcoquitlam.ca/ardar.
The new policy is part of the City’s ongoing work to address racism and discrimination that includes Mayor West’s launch of the EDI Roundtable in 2020, as well as anti-discrimination training with a anti-racism focus for employees, and review and update of the Respectful Workplace Policy.
The EDI Roundtable acts as a resource to staff on City priorities concerning diversity, equity and inclusion in the community. Representing a broad range of under-served and equity-seeking groups, members have the opportunity to share feedback and provide input on eliminating systemic barriers and creating inclusive opportunities that celebrate diversity through programs, events, services and policies.
Appointments are one year, although terms may be extended. For more information about this and other citizen roundtables in Port Coquitlam, visit portcoquitlam.ca/roundtable.
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Manager of Communications & Administrative Services
City of Port Coquitlam