Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Feb 2022 in All Stories, Slider, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Building a culture of inclusion within your organization

As an organization, ONPHA has been taking the time to better understand the issues of systemic racism, injustice, and oppression. We’ve committed to work on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, and we’ve made steps towards building a more inclusive culture within our organization. We’re also extending this work to better understand how we can have a positive impact in our broader communities.  

1 in 4 Black lone parent households experience moderate to severe discrimination when inquiring about available apartments,=.

Many of our members have also adopted or expanded upon this important work within their own organizations, with encouraging results.  

But there is more work to be done. Today, racial injustice remains a reality in our country, and even in our sector.  

Did you know: 

  • In Toronto, 1 in 4 Black lone parent households experience discrimination when inquiring about available apartments (according to a report from the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation); 
  • the core housing need is two times greater for individuals belonging to groups designated as visible minorities compared to those not belonging to a visible minority group (Source: StatsCan, 2020); 
  • and visible minority populations make up 40% of the renters in social and affordable housing (Source: StatsCan, 2020). 

These realities should move us to action. But what can be done?  

3.6% of all board positions in Toronto are held by Black individuals

The issues faced by Black Canadians and other racialized groups are systemic and complex, and cannot be solved overnight.

One thing we do know is that cultural change within our organizations starts from the top down.

If we want to see positive change in our workplaces and in our sector, ensuring equal representation at the leadership level can be a great place to start.  

We have a long way to go to get there. According to a 2020 study from the Diversity Institute: 

  • Racialized people occupy only 10.4% of board positions across the jurisdictions studied; 
  • 3.6% of all board positions in Toronto are held by Black individuals, despite making up 7.5% of the Greater Toronto Area population;  
  • and 0.3% of members on corporate boards are Black. 

These numbers are deeply concerning. We can and must do better, not just in our own sector, but across sectors, and across the country.  

With this in mind, ONPHA brought together a group of experienced, cross-sectoral leaders to discuss the issues, the opportunities, and steps each of us can take to help build a culture of inclusion within our organizations.   

Watch the discussion. (Time stamps listed below) 

This plenary, Building a Culture of Inclusion, took place at the 2021 ONPHA Conference in November. Special thanks to our esteemed panelists: 

  • Angela Cooke, Associate Deputy Minister at Province of BC – Ministry of Attorney General 
  • Dr. Barrington Walker, AVP: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Wilfred Laurier University 
  • Steffan Jones, Vice President, Innovation, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) 
  • Mark Beckles, Vice President, Social Impact and Innovation, RBC Corporate Citizenship 
  • (Moderator) Andrew McKenzie, Director of Operations, Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) 

Time Stamps 

9:50 Historical context setting – how did we get here? 

12:37 What are the biggest negative impacts of not having diverse representation at the top of the organization? 

12:54 Link between housing and education: How do we positively impact the lives of racialized students and ensure diversity in higher education institutions? 

27:13 Private sector perspective: What’s been the impact of not having diverse leadership in a private sector organization and what more can be done? 

31:23 Practical steps to positive change: How can we build more inclusivity within our organizations?  

45:17 Why does representation matter now and for the future? 

47:41 What are the positive outcomes of representative and inclusive leadership? 

1:03:10 Audience question: What policies can we put in place to help with better outcomes for racialized people across the leadership spectrum? 

1:09:26 Audience question: What can we do to support racialized employees and retain talent? 

1:17:27 Our responsibility to enable access to home ownership for disadvantaged groups 

1:24:00 Audience question: What role can a board of directors play to help create positive change? 


Centre for Equality Rights in Canada, 2021. The National Housing Strategy Act – a Primer. Available at:  

Diversity Institute, 2020. DiversityLeads. Available at:   

Statistics Canada, 2020. The Canadian Housing Survey, 2018:Core housing need of renter households living in social and affordable housing. Available at:      

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published.