Diversity

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Closing the Gap Between Aboriginal Business Leaders and Corporate Canada

Last week, we hosted the first of two joint Summits in Vancouver between our organizations, The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) and The Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC). Both Summits focus on board governance, kick starting a critical national dialogue about the merits of strengthening these communication lines between Corporate Canada and aboriginal business leaders.

I Risked Death to Seek a Better Life for My Kids in Canada

My children and I immigrated to Canada in 2010 as refugees. When we arrived, I was so happy that my kids were in a safe country. In Zimbabwe I remember not being able to cry or find comfort in anyone, because everyone was experiencing their own share of pain and shock. So in April of 2010, after being released from the most recent lock-up, I took my kids at midnight and headed for the border knowing that if I was caught I would be burned alive and killed. Even though I was living with the uncertainty of how my immigration hearing would pan out, watching my kids embrace Canadian culture strengthened me when I was at my weakest point.
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Leadership Skills Learned From Cinderella

In an era where women are still struggling to be recognized and paid for their leadership skills, it is a frustrating message that one's best shot at elevating her status is to wait patiently for opportunity to appear. Rather than sitting around waiting for a Fairy Godmother to magically deliver your next promotion, here are five movie-inspired steps you can take to prove you are a capable leader and elevate your status at work.
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Canada's TV News Networks Have a Diversity Problem

CBC Television went national in 1958. The CTV Television Network followed three years later. Both TV networks have grown into a Canadian staples. Over a half century, consumer habits have changed. But have the networks evolved with the changing face of the viewership? The best Canadian content is the one which reflects the full spectrum of the Canadian identity -- before and behind the cameras.
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Why We Need Better Dark-Skinned Dolls

Both American and Canadian media have showcased the new wave of ethnic Barbie-sized dolls. The culturally-attuned figurines fill the gaping void in a transforming consumer base. Dark-skinned dolls with Aryan noses, Elizabethan hips, and Caucasian hair fail to capture the magic that Barbie has brought to little white girls for over 50 years.

How Does Diversity Boost Your Career?

It is said that "necessity is the mother of invention." This refers to the drive to create a solution to a problem, like a caveman making a spear to kill that night's triceratops dinner. But in busine...
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Why We Must Teach Our Kids to Be "Culturally Bilingual"

The fact is our student populations are becoming more diverse, though that's barely mirrored in the staff make-up of most urban schools. And while there is recognition of a need to hire teachers that better reflect the student population, reaching that goal remains a long way off considering the comparably low number of teachers who self-identify as visible minorities. In the meantime, we need to foster culturally sensitive and inclusive schools where student engagement leads to higher graduation rates, the de-glamorization of gangs, and the nurturing of productive citizens of all backgrounds.
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What Type of Entrepreneur Are You?

One can easily see the allure of focusing on millennial entrepreneurs. Their youth and inexperience allows them develop innovative solutions and ideas and their low overhead enables to them to work on what Y Combinator's Paul Graham famously called the "ramen diet" where the only food entrepreneurs can afford is ramen noodles.
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If You're Rich and White the Newspapers Want You

In terms of visible minorities, the Globe and Mail is doing no better than its national print-based competitors in providing a forum for ethnic Canadian voices. This diverse demographic is projected to grow to a third of the Canadian population by 2030. Is traditional Canadian media doing anything to include, reflect or address their experiences in the multicultural mosaic, building on the wave of the present and future? The examples are few and far between.
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Supreme Court's Chief Justice Forgets Diversity

The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court in the country, and the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice system. That's why the latest SCC appointment by Stephen Harper has ruffled so many feathers, as he appointed yet another male to replace Marie Deschamps on the bench, bringing the total count to three women, six men.
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What Award-Winning Companies Do Right

I recently served on a governance awards judging panel assembled by the Canadian Society of Corporate Secretaries (CSCS). Winners of the awards were announced at this organization's annual conference in Halifax last month. I participated in a plenary discussion to discuss some of the winning practices.
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What The Census Shows So Far

OTTAWA - If the reams of statistics released from the 2011 census and its controversial new cousin, the National Household Survey, teach us anything, it's that there is no such thing as the quintessen...
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When the Canadian Forces Used to Recruit Minorities

The last time the Canadian Forces made a huge effort to integrate a minority, there were serious concerns. There was a demographic forming 28 per cent of the Canadian population, which was said not to fit into the traditional military mould. They were seen as too "different", too "rebellious", too contrary to ever enter the fold of the military elite. They were French-Canadians.
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For Once, Let's Celebrate ADD

ADD is constantly in the news, and the news is never good. Some of these issues are very real and very serious. However, I will not address any of them today. Instead, I would like to take this small opportunity to celebrate the very things that drive some people crazy. Let's shout a big "hurray" for the following:
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Has Multiculturalism in Canada Lost Its Way?

Multiculturalism is not about dwelling on our differences. It is about emphasizing our commonality. Unfortunately that principle gets lost when multiculturalism gets viewed as a foreign phenomenon designed to "tolerate" immigrants. Policies that nurture interaction between the various communities will reduce suspicion and finger-pointing.
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Making Entrepreneurs out of Indian Housewives

I believe that women entrepreneurship will not only give a boost to the economy by increasing the number of employed people and leading towards a more gender-equal growth. Not being financially independent is one of the main factors that prove as a hindrance in self-empowerment of women, especially in patriarchal societies like India.
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Why Turbans Have No Place On The Soccer Field

The Fédération de soccer du Québec (FSQ) caused quite a stir when it announced that a ban on headgear -- religious or not -- would be upheld. If a soccer club makes an exception for the turban, what other exemptions follow? The yarmulke? The kirpan? Why would regulations apply to some but not to others? As FIFA struggles to address persistent racism exhibited in the sport, is it wise to add additional bias to the field? By eliminating a religious symbol, the FSQ strengthens this cherished sporting sanctuary to which congregate almost half of all Canadian kids. In this oasis, there is room for only one religion: the one called "soccer."
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Blackface Breakdown: Welcome To Race Relations In Quebec

Earlier this month Huffington Post blogger, Nydia Dauphin, wrote a post entitled, "Why The Hell Are Quebec Comedians Wearing Blackface?" She was referring to Mario Jean's "impersonation" of Boucar Diouf at the Gala des Oliviers, in which Jean used black makeup to portray Diouf. This would have been an opportune time to have a constructive dialogue concerning race relations in Quebec. Quite predictably, however, the discussion has resorted to accusations of overzealous political correctness on one side to indictments of overt racism on the other, which is simply indicative of the sad state of the discourse surrounding ethno-race relations in Quebec.
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When You Commit a Crime, Your Race Matters

The individuals who admit selling illegal narcotics to the Mayor of Toronto were repeatedly referred to as "Somali drug dealers." Senator Mike Duffy, (former) PMO Chief of Staff Nigel Wright, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Councillor Doug Ford all boast heritage from the British Isles. How different would the national conversation be if the foursome had another ethnic lineage?
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Rob Ford: It's Not Just the Crack That's Whack

What's troubling is that the homophobic and racially slanted comments allegedly made by Rob Ford have received little or no scrutiny. The biggest stain this scandal brings isn't the possible addictions of a well-known politician. It is the fetid stench of acceptance and normalization of blatant bigotry that stinks to high heavens. Have we become collectively complacent in the face of bigotry?
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Diversity at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games

Toronto's 2015 Pan/ParaPan Am Games is in the process of asking the public to help it choose a mascot design. We are only just over two years away from what will surely be a movement of sportsmanship. Toronto's 2015 PAN AM Games is intent on leaving a legacy found in the essence of human diversity.
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This Party Scores Dead Last in Diversity

Statistics Canada has finally released its 2011 pseudo-long form census data. Of the 29 visible minority MPs, half of them are in the NDP. The Conservative Party is a close second, which is a testament to the inroads the party has made to court the so-called "ethnic vote." The Liberal Party, self-styled "inventors" of multiculturalism, is dead last in diversity as the caucus stands today. As the third-place Liberals renew and rebuild, they might be wise to emulate the nation's demographic self-portait.