Councillors were presented the town’s Equity and Inclusion Committee Report during the last virtual meeting on February 22.
The committee is primarily an internal one.
“The committee’s purpose [is] to promote and assess municipal services, programming and organizational culture to ensure that all staff and residents of Cochrane have opportunities to fulfill their potential and healthy development through our thriving social, economic and cultural life,” spokesperson Melissa Engdahl told council.
Any Town of Cochrane employee can join the committee provided their work schedule can accommodate it.
“The committee brings together staff and leadership from a diversity of business units and uses an inclusion lens to review and assess our practices,” she added.
“This process occurs with the intention of creating a culture of inclusion for our staff to contribute and provide their unique perspectives. This process can greatly accelerate social change, without requiring breakthrough innovations or vast increases in funding.”
Engdahl told councillors how this year, the committee’s focus will include gender-based (+) analysis training and workshops, land acknowledgment training and workshops, implicit bias training, and an internal survey to track progress.
“The way we operate is a huge opportunity to build trust within the organization and the community by openly engaging residents and staff and creating a continuous cycle of alignment, learning, discovery and emergence,” reads the dialogue of a committee-produced video presented to council.
“This cycle means we can be better than we were every day.”
Councillors congratulated the committee for the work they’ve been able to conduct despite a limited budget.
“I’m glad that we’re able to share with the public tonight all the important work that’s going on behind the scenes that makes this organization such a great place to work,” said mayor Jeff Genung.
“It’s good to see the ‘zoom out’ and the big picture of what’s been happening and what’s going to happen.”