Waterloo Region Rainbow Coalition Survey

October 20, 2014

I received this survey from the Waterloo Region Rainbow Coalition. Unfortunately, my input was not submitted in the proper format and is not included on the WRRC web site. My apologies for any inconvenience.

1. Do you have any experience or previous involvement with LGBTQ community, or any other community that has been marginalized?

As a trustee for 11 years, I have been involved in policy development that promotes inclusive and accessible spaces for all. In the high schools, the GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) groups reflect these inclusive policies. As a woman who has been in the workforce full time since 1978, I have witnessed positive changes in policy and behaviour that have begun to create an inclusive working environment for women. There is still work to do in many areas to create a truly inclusive community for women and for the LGBTQ community.

2. If elected, how might you promote inclusion and belonging for the LGBTQ community?

Policy development and review is the responsibility of the board of trustees. Board Policy 1008, Equity & Inclusion provides the framework for many other policies regarding inclusion, accessibility, safe environment, etc. All schools have bully prevention training and leadership initiatives that include, for example, character education initiatives, student leadership and mentorship programs. As well, all schools have a Safe Schools team in place to participate in the development and implementation of school-wide bullying prevention and intervention plans. Policies are in place to ensure that students, staff, families feel safe, comfortable and respected in the schools.

3. If elected, how might you address issues of concern to the LGBTQ community, such as the following: Hate crimes and bullying - LGBTQ youth homelessness - Workplace and employment barriers - Barriers to adoption and assisted reproduction - Access to long-term care and retirement housing - Access to healthcare and social services overall?

Modelling inclusive strategies within the schools by staff, administrators and trustees demonstrates an expectation of respectful environments. When instances of bullying arise, procedures are in place based on a progressive discipline model and open, honest communication. The release of “Building an Inclusive Workforce” demonstrates the commitment of the WRDSB to creating a welcoming, safe and caring working environment. This strategy builds on the work done to date to remove workplace and employment barriers and increase the diversity of the workforce through fair, inclusive and equitable hiring practices. As a trustee, I can ensure that policies are in place that help create and maintain an inclusive, safe, and respectful environment for all.

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