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Promoting inclusivity and diversity in the City of Delta

A look at what the city is doing to listen to, include and welcome marginalized people and communities within Delta
Pride bench at City Hall
Delta Pride Society board member Christa Horita Kadach (she/her) is pictured with Mayor George Harvie on the Pride Bench outside Delta City Hall in Ladner.

It’s impossible to know all the right answers on how to be the most respectful, inclusive or welcoming without consulting the communities who are impacted by these actions.

This premise is what the Mayor’s Task Force on Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism was born from – acknowledging that there is always room to learn more and do more.

Delta Mayor George Harvie says promoting inclusivity and diversity has always been at the top of his to-do list, and now, with the help of city staff and 15 other community volunteers, he is setting out to improve the way the city does things.

“They want to be active and they want to make a difference, and I’m relying on them to help me make a difference as mayor,” says Harvie.

The task force last met on July 13 to go over an audit done by Veza Global, which is a “strategic transformation firm focused on bringing tools and resources to build diverse and inclusive teams leveraging cultural diversity, diverse abilities and promoting diverse populations in leadership,” reads their website.

Some of their recommendations included decolonizing the workplace, fostering inclusivity through initiatives and ensuring that city policies, vendors and suppliers align with EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion) efforts and objectives.

Also during their last meeting, the task force suggested that the city includes more “First Nation dates of importance” to the community calendar and pointed out that it should be easier and more accessible for everyone to provide feedback to the city.

“I see this task force becoming an integral regular committee of council in the future,” says Harvie.

For Sean McGill, Delta’s city manager, he feels that leading by example is where all city staff should start.

“I have to send a clear message as city manager of what’s acceptable and what we expect throughout the organization and take a proactive role in addressing issues,” says McGill.

One of the ways that he’s promoting this idea is through hosting a livestreamed show for city staff, called “Delta Talks”, where people from diverse communities join them to chat for 45 minutes about their experiences.

The city has also brought in members of the LGBTQ community for staff training sessions, as well as put up the Pride flag and different rainbow benches throughout the city.

“Our efforts are never done. Our efforts to promote diversity and inclusion are never over until there’s no more discrimination. We have to keep working on it,” says McGill. “What I’ve learned quickly, over the years, is that it’s not my opinion or my thoughts [that matter], it’s the voices of people in that community.”