Workplace Inclusion Charter Expansion

The project

The Workplace Inclusion Charter is a project launched by the City of Kingston (ON) in partnership with KEYS Job Centre in 2019, creating a system for employers, service providers, and groups underrepresented in the labour market to create more inclusive work environments and facilitate access to new talent among local businesses and employers.

This project is designed to build up Kingston’s employers’ capacity for equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in their workplaces. Most businesses in Kingston (95%) are small- to medium-sized, often without dedicated HR staff. The Charter program bolsters their ability to hire, train, and retain diverse employees. By incorporating inclusive practices into the workplace, Kingston businesses can be well-positioned to attract and retain highly skilled, underutilized talent.

The Future Skills Centre is investing $428,000 to expand this project, following a previous investment of $633,000.

Group in front of partner logos

Training / career services provided

The project’s inclusion coaches bring varied backgrounds and experiences into supporting employers and contributing to tangible change within organizations. In addition to its work with local SMEs, the Charter team has supported some of Kingston’s largest employers such as a local school board, several member-based organizations, and a legal firm.

Early results

The Charter Strategy outlines 20 employer commitments across four categories: organizational culture, policies & procedures, employee recruitment, and employee retention and career development. The pilot phase of the program focused on newcomers to Canada and launched in August 2019. The first phase of the FSC project took the blueprint established for newcomers and expanded it to support three other marginalized groups: racialized people, persons with disabilities, and Indigenous people.

The project has partnered with 50 employers to improve EDI practices within their organizations. The project has helped  employers to change policies, implement inclusive hiring practices and provide cross-cultural training. In partnership with participating employers, the Charter team has  worked on demographic data collection and workforce climate surveys so employers can better understand staff experiences within these organizations. 

Next phase

The next phase will build on the existing Inclusion Charter tools to address the complexities that municipalities face as employers. The expanded toolkit will be piloted at the Corporation of the City of Kingston and then it will be shared with other small and rural municipalities in the region.

The project expansion will also establish a “Community of Practice,” which will facilitate ongoing workplace EDI skills development among practitioners, employers, and municipalities.

Evaluation Strategy

This project will be evaluated using tools and approaches aligned with its goals, context, and stage of development. The evaluation will focus on generating the right evidence at the right moment to move the intervention forward. Read more about our evaluation strategy.

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