Canadian Occupational Safety

September/October 2020

Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) magazine is the premier workplace health and safety publication in Canada. We cover a wide range of topics ranging from office to heavy industry, and from general safety management to specific workplace hazards.

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Page 25 of 51

F E A T U R E 26 hearing more voices and I'm glad people are getting a voice. It allows for folks that perhaps have not faced [discrimination] to better understand and level the playing field for this drive toward inclusion." [KL] "I think very much nowadays people are very much looking toward organiza-tions that do espouse their morals and their values more so than before." [NS] "I think we have to have a clear policy and communication around discrimination, because in this climate today, I think companies don't know necessarily where to go. So, I think that that's part of the challenge. And unbiased hiring practices are an issue that companies need to look at. But, you know, most employers simply have not been taught how to approach diversity in a fair and inclusive way at all. That's where all of us can make a difference. And if we commit, we can confront or call names — I don't want to shame people, but I think we have to call out names when it's not right. We have to address biases, not in a divisive way but in a manner that brings forth positive change." [KL] "You have to deal with these real perceptions and attitudes that are in society that I feel get carried into the workplace. And you have to break them down. And you have to replace them with facts. "What companies are doing is they are taking this inclusive approach and they're looking at what are the systems and the practices that can be put in place. And when you do that, you start to identify key things that you can do. You look at policies that might help reinforce positive practices. So, an examination of policies is one approach. The preparation and training of people and managers, how they want them to manage and how they want them to supervise, is another. Those are very intentional types of strategies that can actually decrease or eliminate cases of harassment and discrimination. Another component is education. You have to educate people about the types of things that you can be doing and being very open about when there are problems and what do we do to change and address them. "So often, we look at this from a negative point of view. I mean, we should be celebrating the thousands of interactions and the thousands of days where there's been no racism and there's been no discrimination. Safety companies brag about three years without an accident. Why aren't we bragging about three years without a legal lawsuit or human rights complaint?" [COS] What steps can employers take to move toward better diversity, equality and inclusion in the workplace? [KL] "There [have] to be areas of responsibility and accountability. We've looked at the systems that you need to put in place and people will create a committee and so on. But you really need to look at how do you integrate it in what we call an enterprise-wide approach? How does it actually go through the entire enterprise from the board of directors down to the shop floor so things really change? Otherwise, you tend to isolate it, you put it in a committee and it gets stuck there. Everyone feels that they've dealt with this because they have a committee. The committee is just the mechanism. How it gets animated through the entire enterprise is really one of the measures. The second one is leadership commitment. The CEO, the C-suite: What are their accountabilities around diversity, equality and inclusion?" [NS] "Having a diverse HR team as part of your workplace environment is important, as is having a diversity statement. If we can have a diversity statement on the company careers page, it's important to show what the company culture and environment looks like. We don't want to imagine that there's a homogenous society looking in your organization when we live in a very diverse world. Those are just basic things: valuing human beings as they are and respecting and "You have to deal with these real perceptions and attitudes that are in society that I feel get carried into the workplace. And you have to break them down." Kelly J. Lendsay, president and CEO of Indigenous Works out [on] the floor, you walk around, you find a nail on the floor, OK, look, let's put it the garbage can. But don't walk by also can mean, in my mind, disrespectful editorial cartoons, off-colour jokes, etc. It's the ability for anybody to effectively say 'I'm not walking by this situation; I'm going to come back and I'm going to have a very direct peer-to-peer conversation with you about why I don't like this.' "Culture has been defined by many as 'the way we do things around here' and what we want to do at Horizon North is create culture through good communication, good listening and underpinned by good policy and practices. What this means for us is a culture where everyone feels we are in this together, pulling the rope in the same direction." [NS] "I believe in valuing people. In our agency, we have something called 'people matter': When we work with individuals, when we work with campaigns or any plan that we're doing, we think about the person. So, when we're putting out a message, we think 'who's going to see this message? How are they going to interpret the message? What will they feel when they read this? Are we offending? How are we using this medium to uplift, engage and amplify people's voices?'" [RG] "Roughly 13 to 15 per cent of our workforce would be self-identified [as] Indigenous. So, Indigenous employment is important. You're operating within communities, being very mindful of how communities function and of the privilege of working in someone's community as opposed to being entitled. It starts with this conversation about how do you build trust and how do you build bridges." [COS] What issues are Canadian workplaces facing in this area? [RG] "Right now is an interesting time in society. I think you've got a greater scrutiny from media. I think that you're starting to hear a better developed voice from various groups. I think that customers rightly are starting to demand better inclusion from their suppliers. And they're demonstrating that in the level of peaceful protests that you're seeing on the streets. People want better. And I think that it's important for customers and I think it's important for employees to effectively mirror each other in terms of being able to provide this inclusion component to it. From a legislation perspective, you're starting to see the bar rise. But I think you're

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