Diversity and Inclusion
The Regional Municipality of York is committed to a welcoming and inclusive community where diversity is celebrated and where everyone can develop to their full potential, participate freely in society and live with respect, dignity and freedom from discrimination.
A diversity calendar helps raise awareness about faith, cultural and other significant dates throughout the year. Learning about each other is fundamental to our commitment to inclusion. Ethno-cultural and faith-based holidays are an important part of many people’s lives and being aware of these events and observances can help foster an inclusive and welcoming environment.
To create a more inclusive and welcoming community through promoting awareness and dialogue, York Region has made the Multifaith Action’s Society’s diversity calendar electronically available to the York Region community.
Disclaimer: York Region is not responsible for the content published on the Multifaith Action Society, an organization that is dedicated to promoting interfaith and multifaith dialogue and understanding. Their calendar is renowned for its accuracy and integrity and includes valuable information about 14 world faiths and different systems of marking important occasions by various faiths.
Get to know York Region’s diverse community
As of 2021, 1.17 million people called York Region home, including people from all cultures, races, ethnicities, languages, religions, abilities, ages and sexual orientations. Our diverse population includes people speaking over 120 languages and representing more than 230 distinct ethnic origins.
The Census and Demographic Data page has various resources to better understand our community, such as:
- Age, Sex, Gender and Dwelling Types
- Labour, Education and Journey to Work
- Families, Households and Marital Status
- Immigration, Ethnocultural Diversity, Religion and Mobility
For any questions or more information, please contact @email
The Inclusion Charter for York Region was developed by the Municipal Diversity and Inclusion Group (MDIG) which includes 20 member organizations that serve people who live, work and visit here. Co-Chaired by York Region and York Regional Police, this community collaboration brings together municipalities, police services, hospitals, school boards, conservation authorities and agencies with a common commitment to welcoming and inclusive communities. All 20 MDIG organizations have endorsed the Inclusion Charter.
The Charter also involved the Community Partnership Council which leads local strategies to welcome and include newcomers from around the world to our communities. Endorsement of the Charter began with with MDIG, followed by organizations that are part of the Community Partnership Council and Human Services Planning Board of York Region and then spread across all sectors including businesses and community organizations.
The Charter is the result of three rounds of community consultations and discussions with individuals, organizations, boards, councils and groups. Thousands of people and organizations have been part of its development and championing. It is a remarkable example of collaboration and inspiration at its best. It truly is an initiative developed by York Region communities for York Region communities.
The Inclusion Charter is designed to be customized by each community partner. The first two paragraphs and the first sentence of the third paragraph will be consistent for all organizations. The remaining text of the third paragraph is customizable and unique to each community partner.
The Charter has gained international recognition. The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) International Training Centres for Authorities and Leaders (CIFAL Atlanta) has participated in the Charter initiative since May 2017. They recognize the Inclusion Charter as a leading practice model that communities around the world could use to become more inclusive. CIFAL Atlanta is the North American hub of UNITAR and the Charter bears its logo to recognize this support.
For more information, you can read UNITAR’s Letter of Support.
York Region is pleased to collaborate with York Regional Police, York University and UNITAR through a memorandum of understanding to deliver joint activities, pooling of resources and expertise, joint collaboration of experts and learning materials and the establishment of a CIFAL training centre within York University, with the intent to include a future presence in York Region.
CIFAL York was established in 2020 to provide a range of learning opportunities and facilitate knowledge sharing between public servants and leaders of the Western Hemisphere to strengthening their capacities, improving the decision-making process and encouraging sustainable development.
Learn more about CIFAL York, the first Canadian UN leadership training centre at York University
Inclusion Charter Progress Report
The Inclusion Charter Progress Report is an annual update that highlights the progress of the Inclusion Charter for York Region, including endorsements and collective actions implemented by the Municipal Diversity and Inclusion Group (MDIG).
Inclusion Charter Endorsing Organizations
The following organizations have joined The Regional Municipality of York in endorsing the Inclusion Charter for York Region. Access the list of all Inclusion Charter endorsees and endorsement dates, including the Municipal Diversity and Inclusion Group:
Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) Markham-Unionville
Catholic Community Services of York Region
Centre for Immigrant and Community Services
Chats – Community & Home Assistance to Seniors
City of Markham
City of Richmond Hill
City of Vaughan
Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority
Markham Stouffville Hospital
Newmarket Chamber of Commerce
Newmarket Public Library
Regional Municipality of York
Social Enterprise for Canada
Southlake Regional Health Centre
The Canadian Mental Health Association
The John Howard Society of York Region
The YMCA of Greater Toronto
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
Town of Aurora
Town of East Gwillimbury
Town of Georgina
Town of Newmarket
Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville
Township of King
United Way Greater Toronto
Workforce Planning Board of York Region
York Catholic District School Board
York Region Arts Council
York Region Children’s Aid Society
York Region District School Board
York Regional Police Services Board
Inclusion Charter Community of Practice
The Inclusion Charter Community of Practice is open to all endorsees of the Inclusion Charter for York Region. This Community of Practice, established in October 2021, serves as an inclusive and unified network of Inclusion Charter endorsees who can support each other, collaborate, exchange knowledge and inspire each other.
Inclusion Charter Community of Practice members participate in networking calls to update each other on diversity and inclusion efforts within their organizations and can access existing resources developed to support endorsees such as an internal awareness raising campaign toolkit that can be used to raise awareness about the Inclusion Charter within each endorsing organization and more.
Endorsing organizations can contact @email for more information about this Community of Practice.
Inclusion Charter Collective Actions
To advance the vision of the Inclusion Charter in the community, MDIG is pursuing a community education and awareness strategy.
In 2019, MDIG identified two strategy priority areas: increasing the sense of community belonging among York Region residents and decreasing the incidence of hate crimes. Baselines for both priority areas have been established to measure the strategy’s impact over time. The actions taken and results achieved will be reported in future progress reports.
Below are some of the many actions developed in consultation with MDIG which result from the Inclusion Charter for York Region.
Inclusive Language Guide
The York Region Inclusive Language Guide was developed to support the use of inclusive language in writing and conversation. Inclusive language refers to communication free of prejudicial terms, names or phrases. It does not include stereotypical or discriminatory ideas or views of people/groups and is respectful of different backgrounds, languages, ethnicities, religions, ages, abilities and/or other identities.
This Inclusive Language Guide was modelled after inclusive language guides from across Canada and is a living document and will be updated periodically to reflect evolving language preferences.
- Includes guiding principles to follow to help you communicate using inclusive language
- Covers various inclusive language topics such as age, citizenship or immigration status, creed or religion, disability, gender, gender identity and gender expression, Indigenous Peoples, low-income status, marital status and family status, mental health, race or ethnic background and sexual orientation. Topics are presented through a Regional lens with key facts/data about our community
- Recommends preferred terms to use
In consultation with York Regional Police’s Hate Crime Prevention Unit, this collective action campaign aims to raise awareness about hate crimes and incidents – and their harmful effects, and inform residents, businesses and groups about how we can work together to end hate across York Region’s nine local towns and cities. Learn more.
More information about the progress made on these collective actions and others is available in the Inclusion Charter Progress Reports listed above.
Actions to Address Anti-Black Racism
In March 2021, York Region’s Senior Management Team, acknowledged and denounced system anti-Black racism and committed to learn more, do more and be a champion for change. York Region is implementing a corporate framework for action to address anti-Black racism, as one of the many actions resulting from the Inclusion Charter.
This framework consists of four pillars of actions focusing on internal activities and community activities. Many actions to address anti-racism and systemic discrimination are underway:
- Acknowledging and committing to action including a formal acknowledgement and denouncement of systemic anti-Black racism and commitment to take immediate action to address it.
- Understanding who we are and how workplace policies and practices impact us through developing and implementing actions to address gaps.
- Understanding and affirming how we need to treat each other through anti-Black racism training for all Regional staff and management.
- Working together and supporting each other by establishing an internal Anti-Black Racism Advisory Group, developing supports for Black staff and engaging with the local Black community on community actions.
Engaging the local Black community on community actions
York Region is working with local Black community groups to explore and advance community development opportunities and partnerships. This includes building relationships with Black-mandated/focused, Black-led and Black-serving (B3) community organizations in York Region. Activities to support these efforts are underway and include engaging with B3 organizations to learn more about current community actions and identify alignments and partnerships.
Through community engagement, York Region is:
- Engaging with Black communities to address racial inequities related to COVID 19
- Exploring collective efforts to address and dismantle anti-Black racism
- Continuing to leverage partnerships and community tables
International Decade for People of African Decent
In July 2020, York Regional Council recognized 2015-2024 as International Decade for People of African Descent. This decade, for which the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) was designated as the lead agency, aims to strengthen actions and measures to ensure the full realization of the economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights of people of African descent and their full and equal participation in society.
Regional Council and York Region’s Senior Management Team recognize our communities are not immune to systemic racism and biases. Together, they are championing action now to address anti-Black racism in York Region and helping to build strong, caring and safe communities for all who call York Region home.
Learn more about other efforts to address anti-racism and systemic discrimination such as the Region’s Community Safety and Well-Being Plan, Community Investment Fund and more.
York Region’s internal Anti-Black Racism Advisory Group (ABRAG)
Addressing anti-Black racism at York Region is grounded on the principle of Nothing About Us Without Us. York Region heard that Black staff need to drive the actions related to addressing anti-Black Racism. A dedicated internal Anti-Black Racism Advisory Group was developed in November 2020 - a group within the Diversity and Inclusion Staff Committee (DISC) and comprised of Black staff - guides, leads, advises on and/or participates in the implementation of corporate actions to address anti-Black racism. Below are the group’s mission and vision statements
ABRAG’s mission is to guide, lead, advise on and/or participate in the implementation of the approved corporate pillars of actions on anti-Black racism, to support changes in practice to foster equity for those who are Black in the workplace and in the community. ABRAG’s vision is a workplace and community where impacts of systemic racism experienced by Black staff in the workplace are dismantled and eradicated and an environment where those who are Black see themselves represented and reflected at all levels of the organization and the community.
Get to know members of the Anti-Black Racism Advisory Group and read various resources produced by the group such as Be an Effective Ally.
You can also read the Region’s formal acknowledgement and denouncement system anti-Black racism statement.
You can also join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #InclusiveYR.