When Statistics Canada published the results of the 2016 census, we learned that more than 7.7 million Canadians (one in five) are members of a “visible minority”, and 1.7 million people (4.9%), are Indigenous. Although these population groups have grown, racialized communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are still under-represented on governance boards.
Some of the same strategies used to increase the number of women on boards, have been used to increase the representation of racialized communities on governance boards:
- Set recruitment criteria to include targeted groups
- Institute formal mentorship and networking programs
- Support external partnerships to promote change
- Increase awareness of best practices through using resources like the Diversity in Governance Toolkit or the online governance board training provided by onBoard Canada.
- Promote your board’s commitment to diversity regularly. Provide education to existing and new members. Training should include a discussion about what constitutes racism and racial harassment.
- Ensure that diversity is something that all board members “own” not only those board members who are visibly diverse or who represent a marginalized identity. When all members embrace diversity, a culture of inclusion will begin to flourish.