The City of Delta is “deeply committed” to equity, diversity and inclusion, according to the results of an external audit.
On Monday, Delta council received the results of a detailed assessment conducted by consulting firm Veza Global that looked at the city’s policies, actions and other material, including an external review of city operations, an organizational assessment survey and focus group meetings with staff from all departments.
The audit report comes 13 months after mayor and council voted to create a new Mayor’s Task Force on Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism and retain a consultant to conduct an external review of the City of Delta’s policies and actions related to diversity and inclusion, as well as provide recommendations for improvement.
Veza Global ranked the city’s approach to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) as “championed,” the second-highest rating on the firm’s “EDI Maturity Model.”
According to Veza’s audit report, the City of Delta “cares deeply to move further towards being a diverse and inclusive community grounded in equitable practices within the city’s internal operations.”
“It is clear that the organization recognizes and takes pride in the diversity of its employees. The common sentiment in focus groups was the sense of belonging and inclusion staff felt in their roles. [The] City of Delta aims to go beyond the numbers by promoting an inclusive culture where all employees feel like they belong, are respected, appreciated, and valued,” the report states.
The report noted a number of successful city initiatives, including the creation of the Mayor’s Task Force on Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism; Delta Talks (a regular live show for staff where city manager Sean McGill discusses EDI topics with special guests); and a regular staff newsletter focused on EDI topics.
Other successes include the installation of “Diversity Welcome Here” rainbow benches and annual raising of the Pride flag at city hall, a strong and respectful workplace policy, a collaborative partnership with First Nations groups, change in leadership towards 50 per cent gender representation, support for employees (especially through gender transition), hiring employees without Canadian experience, creating space for and celebrating culturally diverse events, and taking the #DifferentTogether pledge to further embrace inclusivity and diversity.
The report also offers several recommendations for how the city can move from “championed” to “innovation” stage, the highest rating on Veza’s “EDI Maturity Model,” such as developing a connected inclusive leadership program as part of regular EDI training for management and executive leaders, continuing to develop succession planning with EDI in mind, and creating and implementing an EDI framework in all human resources programs.
Veza also recommends the city continue to focus on making public facing documents and material reflective and representative of Delta residents, use closed captions in videos and descriptive captions below images, work towards aligning city suppliers and vendors with the city’s EDI values, examine programming and committees to see if they are representative of Delta’s residents, and further engage the community through art installations and activities.
A staff report to council notes work is already underway to establish an internal team tasked with incorporating Veza’s recommendations (which is itself one of the recommendations). The team should be up and running “in the coming weeks.”
As well, a workplan for implementing the recommendations will be developed by the Mayor’s Task Force on Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism and brought to council for its consideration at a future date.