CBA resolution: What’s the meaning of diversity?
Ensuring diversity and inclusion throughout an organization requires more than good intentions. It takes support from leadership and a willingness to change attitudes and behaviour. It also helps to have a shared understanding of what diversity means.
Ensuring diversity and inclusion throughout an organization requires more than good intentions. It takes support from leadership and a willingness to change attitudes and behaviour. It also helps to have a shared understanding of what diversity means. Without it, the organization will struggle to measure the success of its D&I policies and to hold its leaders accountable.
The tricky part is settling on a formal definition that recognizes the many dimensions of diversity across a range of contexts. Listing a broad range of personal attributes is one way to go about it. The risk, though, is the more you add to a definition, the more you risk highlighting what you leave out. Complicating matters further is that traditional definitions of demographic diversity are making room for new concepts centered on experiential or cognitive differences.
So how should we define diversity?
That was the question put to the CBA’s Equality Subcommittee, tasked by the Board with proposing a new definition of diversity that will be added to the CBA’s bylaws. These already commit the CBA to building and cultivating “a more powerful, inclusive, diverse and engaged professional community across Canada.”
Based on consultations with the Women Lawyers Forum, the Young Lawyers Section, the Aboriginal Law Section, the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Community Section, the Chairs of Branch Equality Committees, and the CCCA Diversity Committee, the Equality Subcommittee’s is proposing that the following definition be added to the bylaws:
“Diversity” means the inclusion of members from a variety of backgrounds, with particular attention to representation in the Association of members from equality-seeking groups, including but not limited to women, LGBTI2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and two-spirit) communities, Indigenous peoples, racialized and ethno-cultural groups, and persons with disabilities. Diversity is to be interpreted consistent with the evolving nature of equality issues.
The proposed amendment will be put to a vote at the upcoming AGM. It will be the subject of one of three resolutions up for discussion.
What do you think about the proposed changes? This year we’ve set up a discussion board where you can have your say – all you need is your member number to log in. If you want to propose an amendment to the resolution, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Jan. 25.