Saskatchewan Career Development Association Diversity & Inclusion
Canadian society has become more aware of the diversity of its population over the last few decades. Recognition of the importance of including diverse people(s) as participants in the structures and organizations of Canadian society is increasing. This has implications for the structure of the today’s workplace and the way in which career development services are planned and delivered.
Defining Diversity Human diversity is defined here as variety in individual and group presence and interactions. In this vein, membership in SKCDA is open to people of all representations (e.g. by age, colour, ethnicity, gender (and gender identity), religion, ability, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, national origin). SKCDA is open to representation from a variety of individuals and groups.
Benefits of Diverse Membership There are benefits to a diverse membership.
As we move away from being a society that separated people and discriminated against them based on their differences, having a diversity of people within the organization meets today’s social-ethical responsibility to embrace diversity and to engage in inclusive practices.
Diversity in members generates diversity in thought. Members from diverse backgrounds bring different ideas and diverse approaches to the same problem. This challenges group think. Organizations can become more innovative, less static and more creative from their diversity.
Diversity within an organization helps its members become better able to meet the needs of their clients who are also diverse.
Diversity within an organization and the creativeness it generates attracts new members who also value diversity and inclusion, thus creating a broader synergy of diversity and inclusion in communities.
As diversity enriches organizations, their ability to achieve their goals may strengthen.
Defining Inclusion Inclusion is the practice of ensuring that SKCDA’s members feel:
Respected by others
Welcomed and a part of the organization (i.e. that they belong)
Connected with each other and supported
Engaged in the work of the organization
That they have equal access and opportunity to participate
Inclusion means that SKCDA’s members actively support each others’ right to join the organization and to participate and contribute to its activities. Inclusion is also reflected in SKCDA’s willingness to collaborate with other groups and organizations.
While diversity means having a variety of people in an organization, it is the practice of inclusion that creates the conditions for this diversity to work well. Inclusion activates the concept of diversity by creating an environment where the richness of ideas, backgrounds and perspectives is recognized and valued by the organization.
Including others requires effort and practice, reinforcement and encouragement. While diversity is becoming more common within organizations, the knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSAs) necessary to foster inclusive practice are developing at a slower pace. Much work remains to improve how diverse peoples and groups are included and work together in organizations.
Principles to Support Diversity and Inclusion One of SKCDA’s goals is to develop an inclusive organizational climate in which differences of culture, beliefs, backgrounds, talents, abilities, and ways of living, etc., are used to enrich learning and to help its members make more informed decisions. To this end SKADA supports the principles below.
Having equal access and opportunity to participate and contribute to the work of SKCDA
Eliminating discrimination and barriers to involvement
Questioning and examining assumptions and stereotypes about groups of people
Promoting the inclusion of career practitioners from diverse backgrounds in the career development/counselling field (e.g. diverse educational backgrounds and training, organizational affiliations and positions within organizations)
Sharing knowledge and skills on how to integrate diverse ideas to achieve a more holistic perspective
Helping members acquire cultural knowledge and competencies
Assisting members and other career practitioners in developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSAs) to respond effectively to client diversity in their work
Inviting representation from diverse groups (e.g. Indigenous, new Canadians, people from Northern communities, people of varying abilities) in SKCDA’s membership
Developing connections with employers, community groups, not-for-profit groups, advocacy groups, etc.
Reaching out to underrepresented groups (e.g. groups in more isolated northern communities)
Developing relationships with organizations that support diversity and inclusion
Collaborating with the career development and employment services of other groups (e.g. indigenous and ethnic groups)
Participating in projects that reflect the diversity of the community
A willingness to review and modify Association practices and structures to be more accessible, diverse and inclusive
Encouraging diverse representation on the board and management committees
Providing members with a relevant, holistic source of career development/employment information
Ensuring that information is available to members in different forms (print, audio and/or visually recorded, etc.)
Using technology that enables diverse groups to participate in SKCDA