Strategic goal: Equity, inclusion and a sense of belonging

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In this series of six posts I introduce you to the 2019-2020 strategic plan’s goals and objectives , as well as highlight a few related outcomes we have and will be delivering.

Goal: Equity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging

In creating a city that supports a strong sense of belonging and access to opportunity for all, we recognize that our operations, programs and approach to service delivery should consider circumstances and solutions to respond to systemic barriers.

Objectives

  1. Implement strategies and tactics that strengthen the engagement of diverse and marginalized populations, and all ages, and support an enhanced sense of belonging within the community.

  2. Incorporate best practices to maximize inclusion within all city business, operations, and service delivery.

  3. Address the needs of an aging population through responsive development, programming, and communication strategies.

  4. Focus on the economic disparity in our community by ensuring our work considers the impacts of this gap.

  5. Respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action for municipalities.

Work to date

  • Building on the work of past councils and this statement Councillor Bonoguore and I presented, equity and the environment became two of the principles in the strategic plan.

  • Council unanimously approved this motion denouncing Quebec’s Bill 21, which prevents public servants from wearing religious symbols and reaffirming the city’s commitment to religious freedom.

  • In a wheelchair of my own, I joined a resident who uses a wheelchair on a tour to and from the shopping plaza at Bridgeport/Weber. It was tough, but I am grateful for getting a slightly better perspective about accessibility gains and pains that will help me make better decisions.

  • Expansion of the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex to begin January 2020. There will be inclusive washrooms, community gathering spaces, and a focus on creating an even more welcoming and accessible space for people of all ages and abilities.

What’s next?

  • Implementing the city’s first official action plan in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action and using/adapting as appropriate the corporation’s land acknowledgement (approved October 21, 2019).

  • Ramping up the Inclusionary Zoning study, a joint initiative between the City of Kitchener and the City of Waterloo, which is exploring opportunities and challenges related to requiring new developments to have a certain percentage of affordable units.

  • Working with a ward 5 resident to organize a neighbourhood event in a lower-income area in the ward to increase a sense of inclusion and belonging among individuals who are often not heard and consequently disengaged with large systems, such as municipalities.

Jen Vasic