Ryerson University issued the following announcement on March 12.
Toni De Mello, director of human rights (centre) and Dayo Kefentse, director of communications (right), both from the Office of the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion, receive the Canada’s Best Diversity Employer award on behalf of Ryerson University, presented by Kristina Leung, senior editor, Canada's Top 100 Employers.
Ryerson University has been named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers, external link (CBDE) for the fifth year in a row. The annual competition recognizes organizations that create an inclusive and respectful environment through initiatives that focus on women, racialized employees, people with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples and those from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered/transsexual and two-spirited community.
“Achieving this distinction for five consecutive years is a testament to the ongoing implementation of Ryerson’s priorities of equity, diversity and inclusion,” said Denise O’Neil Green, vice-president of equity and community inclusion. “We are proud of this achievement and we will continue to create space for students, staff and faculty to be their best selves on campus.”
Green is one of three co-chairs of a large Ryerson committee that is putting into action recommendations made in a community consultation report called Truth and Reconciliation at Ryerson: Building a Foundation for Generations to Come. Some of the major goals are to increase access to post-secondary education for Aboriginal students, development of an Aboriginal-focused curriculum and increase the number of faculty and staff who are Indigenous.
Another initiative of the Office of the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion is a report based on the Diversity Self-ID survey for staff and students. The report, titled Our Community, Our Diversity, shows trends in representation, recruitment and retention, and helps Ryerson community members to develop plans and actions to attract and retain diverse employees.
CBDE, external link cited Ryerson’s Viola Desmond awards, which recognize exemplary Black students, faculty, staff and alumni while raising awareness of the contributions of past and present women of African descent in the development of the country.
The award also recognizes the campus-wide “Access Ryerson” initiative, and how the university identifies, removes and prevents barriers to inclusion for persons with disabilities. Ryerson’s accessibility website houses resources on creating accessible documents and planning accessible meetings. Access Ryerson developed a “Smart Campus” app to provide immediate notifications regarding service disruptions, all intended to increase inclusion of people with disabilities on campus.
As Christina Sass-Kortsak, assistant vice-president of human resources shared, these designations are an opportunity for the university to recommit to the continued work of creating equitable and diverse workspaces on our campus. "To create environments where employees can thrive and do their best work, we need to ensure that the values of equity, diversity and inclusion are infused in all that we do."
The sentiment of celebration and continued commitment to implementing equity, diversity and inclusion is shared by Deborah Brown, vice-president, administration and operations. "At Ryerson, we're committed to creating a People First workplace where equity and inclusion are key values, and employees can bring their whole selves to work. This designation is an important indication that we're moving forward on this path, and a reminder of the ongoing work we need to do to continue to create inclusive initiatives, programs and environments."
One example of these programs is the Refresh, Writing for Wellness and Mindful Meditation workshop series. Co-ordinated by Workplace Wellbeing Services and the university’s mental health co-ordinator, these sessions are designed to help faculty and staff support their own wellbeing, as well as the wellbeing of others.
Additionally, this year the university celebrated the opening of Ryerson’s new Staff and Faculty Wellbeing Lounge, Ahnoowehpeekahmik. Developed through extensive consultations, the space is designed to support wellbeing by providing a lounge to connect, socialize and eat while also providing the opportunity to rejuvenate and rest.
Input gathered through a number of channels, including town halls, in-depth consultation retreats and targeted outreach, led to a space that meets the needs of a diverse employee community. Consultations with the Indigenous community resulted in the inclusion of natural elements like the cedar wood wall and ceiling, as well as beautiful, large photographs of Ryerson’s Eagle Staff commissioned for this room.
For more information about Ryerson’s diversity initiatives, visit Best Diversity Employers, external link, Ryerson OVPECI and Ryerson HR Work Life.
Original source: https://www.ryerson.ca/news-events/news/2019/03/ryerson-named-one-of-canadas-best-diversity-employers/