In 2018, one of my campaign promises was to work on getting Niagara Region to join the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities. I accomplished that and advocated for the work to be properly resourced with a staff person and an advisory committee, rather than just being a feel-good publicity stunt.
In September of 2020, Niagara Region, joined by all 12 local area municipalities, signed a declaration to join and support the ten commitments of the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities.
Late in 2021, Niagara Region, through its first-ever Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee, began working on Niagara Region’s first-ever Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan.
Although the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan was unanimously approved at the September 14, 2022 Corporate Services Committee meeting and nearly unanimously* approved at the September 22, 2022 Council meeting, this work has only just begun, with the work to develop an Anti-Racism Advisory Committee and a 2SLGBTQQIA+ advisory committee still to be done.
What must not be forgotten is that, whilst there is an Accessibility Advisory Committee that I have chaired for the duration of the 2018 term, it is imperative that all work around diversity, equity, and inclusion also considers all facets of accessibility.
*Councillor Bylsma voted against the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan; Councillor Britton (who had not previously voted on the Action Plan) neglected to vote at Council.