We are committed to making sure Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) are at the core of everything we do. Learn about what steps our IDEA Committee, staff and members have taken so far to accomplish this:
CSI’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) Committee is made up of members of our community, DECAs, Staff and Board and has met on a quarterly basis since 2016. The IDEA Committee’s purpose is to steward and support the work being done by CSI Staff and the community to make CSI more welcoming and inclusive.
CSI, guided by our IDEA Committee, launched our first demographic survey to our Staff, Board, DECAs (volunteers), and community in late 2016. The purpose of the survey was to help us understand and establish a baseline understanding of our community. We hoped to use this data to identify and address the potential barriers for individuals and communities who are currently underrepresented at CSI. You can check out the report here.
The IDEA Committee made significant revisions to our Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination Policy to ensure there it is as clear and informative as possible for members, DECAs, Staff, and Board at CSI. The policy was implemented in the fall of 2017 and can be accessed on our website here. It is also included in the contracts for every CSI Staff, DECA, member and Meeting Room & Event-Renter. The policy will continue to be reviewed and revised as necessary to address any potential gaps.
Our next phase of work includes improving our conflict resolution process to ensure that issues and complaints can be resolved in an impartial, safe, and confidential manner.
In collaboration with CSI Member, The StopGap Foundation, and with the financial support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Toronto Foundation, we made significant accessibility improvements at CSI Annex and 192 Spadina Ave, including: installing wheelchair lifts, accessible bathrooms on the ground floor, and wayfinding signage that is in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
We still have work to do in both buildings to improve overall access, and we are supporting Artscape on improving wheelchair accessibility on the third floor of the Daniel’s Spectrum Building, which is home to CSI Regent Park.
In collaboration with CSI Member, Playground Inc., and in consultation with the internal and external community, we launched a new public website which is in compliance with the AODA standards. Our community intranet and payment system, however, requires more work to bring it up to the same level of compliance with AODA standards.
TechSoup Canada, a program of CSI, is dedicated to empowering charities, nonprofits and libraries with the effective use of technology. Over the last several months, TechSoup Canada has been integrating an anti-oppressive framework into their Marketing and Communications efforts, with the goal to simultaneously and intentionally elevate marginalized voices and counter forces of oppression in the nonprofit and technology sectors.
Staff training combined with our desire for more diverse identities and experiences on our team has resulted in some promising progress on our Staff demographics. This progress will be more evident when we repeat the demographic survey in Fall 2018, but we have observed some preliminary progress including that 44% of our Director team now identifies as racialized (previously 25%) and 10% of our overall staff team identify as Black (previously 0%).
In February of 2017, we hosted Toronto for Everyone, a four-day farewell festival at Honest Ed’s in collaboration with CSI Members, arts and community organizations, and citizen volunteers. The event prioritized programming that was focused on inclusion and diversity. Our learnings around designing an inclusive event are shared in a final report, which we will be releasing in June 2018
In November of 2017, we were one of the many partners that co-hosted a 3 day conference – Spark! Canadian Social Innovation Exchange – to bring together social innovation practitioners across the country. The conference placed emphasis on topics including improving diversity and inclusion in the Social Innovation sector, Indigenous Innovation and Reconciliation and the relationship between Social Innovation and Social Justice.
In addition to these events, we provided event space, staff and communication support to several projects and initiatives that convened on topics related to inclusion and diversity. These experiences produced several learnings on how we can make our spaces and internal practices more welcoming and inclusive and we are appreciative to our partners and collaborators for their trust and time:
From 2016 to present day, CSI has been the event venue sponsor for Stories of Ours, a grassroots project based in Toronto that aims to deepen community, invite solidarity, and challenge dominant narratives through intentional acts of storytelling and creative arts. Stories of Ours happens on quarterly basis and is hosted at CSI Regent Park.
In February 2017, CSI hosted an Inclusivity Summit to find the strengths in our community to be utilized to “Resist Hate, Lead to Love;” to stand together – and behind – communities under attack in the climate of hate that was bubbling up in this difficult time.
In 2017, CSI was the venue sponsor for a 6 week residency lead by CDW (Creative Decent Work) for newcomers to Canada who were seeking meaningful employment. Learn more about the project here.
In February 2018, and in collaboration with Jay Pitter, CSI hosted a drop-in Q&A surrounding inclusive city building, peacemaking, and black communities. More information about the event can be found here.
In March 2018, to broaden our social reach and support for diversity & inclusion initiatives, CSI provided marketing support for Venture Out, Canada’s first conference for LGBTQA+ students and young professionals interested in careers in tech and entrepreneurship.
On June 1 2018, CSI will be the event venue sponsor for the first PS I’m Muslim Iftar at CSI Regent Park. Tickets can be accessed here.
In collaboration with CSI Member, Anima Leadership, we now provide a mandatory two-day Diversity and Inclusion training for all CSI Staff and DECAs twice a year.
In partnership with CSI Members, Rania El Mugammar and Bear Standing Tall, we have provided free monthly workshops for CSI Members on Anti-Oppression, Meaningful Inclusion, and Indigenous Protocols.
In partnership with CSI Members, Rania El Mugammar, Bear Standing Tall, and educators: Jermaine Henry, Jalisa Luces-Mendes, Samson Brown, and Denise Mcleod, and with the financial support of many individual donors through the Toronto for Everyone Fund, Canadian Heritage, and The Inspirit Foundation, we offered free and paid allyship education from November 2016 – February 2018. This program has recently wrapped up and we are reflecting on the learnings, to help inform next steps. A list of the workshops hosted are below.