Greenbelt Foundation staff at our annual staff retreat
Over the years, the environmental movement has consisted primarily of white, middle class folks and hasn’t really reflected the Canadian diaspora of multicultural backgrounds. This has led to criticism that the movement is exclusive and not prepared to build diversity into its work.
That is changing—perhaps too slowly for some, and perhaps not reaching high enough into the hierarchy of Canada’s ENGOs. But it is changing and some good efforts are underway to reflect diversity at the staff and board levels. By being more representative, the sector can speak to many more (new) Canadians about important issues and engage them to be part of bringing about change.
Much of my human resources work focuses on bringing new talent to my organization that is more reflective of the diversity in Toronto and Canada. I do this by focusing on opportunities within our organization where we can actively reach out to new immigrants and offer them opportunities.
And I do that fully aware that the arrangements need to be a win-win-win.
A win for the individual: gaining valuable work experience, learning transferrable skills, and earning a living.
A win for the Foundation: as the employer, the opportunity and work relationship must have value, and we need to ensure employment expectations, standards, policies, and practices are applied equally throughout.
And a win for the Greenbelt: the work needs to help the landscape.
So I am proud I have had the opportunity to work with Kaniz, Namgyal, Olu, Ariam, Janet, Devi, Becky, and Sanique—all new immigrants that had their life in Canada begin with us.
Their contributions to our work have been invaluable and their arrival to Canada is off to a good start.