Alberta Workers’ Health Centre – Equity Statement
As a community organization created and governed by workers, we strive to be strategic and responsive to the changing needs of a diversity of working people. We recognize that the AWHC has access to some forms of power, such as capital, networks, and influence. As such, it is important for us to be explicit in our commitment to equity. This includes specific anti-oppressive and anti-racist actions. We hope this statement will:
- Instigate conversations about the value of equity actions;
- Keep our organization accountable;
- Guide our specific actions; and
- Invite others to consider their own equity processes.
Definition of equity
Equity is an approach whereby all people – including those who bear the burden of historic and contemporary forms of marginalization, whether intentional or unintentional – have equal access to opportunities to define and achieve goals. Equity is more than an outcome; it is an ongoing process that seeks to correct systemic barriers and create a more just and fair society for all.
Equity is different from diversity and inclusion. Diversity is the presence of difference within a certain context. Inclusion is about people with diverse identities being valued and welcomed. Equity acknowledges unequal starting places and addresses unequal needs, conditions, and positions of people and communities that are created by institutional and structural barriers.
Definition of equity-seeking communities
For the purposes of this document, we use the term “equity-seeking communities” to include groups which are marginalized by societal and class structures. Equity-seeking communities often experience social and financial disadvantages as a result of systems of oppression. Oppression takes many forms including but not limited to racism, sexism, and ableism.
Therefore, examples of equity-seeking communities include: IBPOC (Indigenous, Black, and People Of Colour); 2SLGBTQIA+ (includes Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, and more); people with mental illness or physical or intellectual disabilities; people with diverse ethnic or linguistic backgrounds; and women. This list is not exhaustive, and the language is always evolving, and we recognize we have a responsibility to be aware of changes. People who belong to multiple equity-seeking communities often experience overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage (intersectionality).
Why is an equity statement important?
Workplace health and safety issues do not affect all workers equally. Equity-seeking communities may have greater exposure to certain hazards due to the kinds of employment available to them and to particular psychosocial hazards such as racist and sexist acts. Equity-seeking communities may also be at increased risk for work-related injuries and illnesses due to unique barriers to accessing their health and safety rights within the workplace and through government enforcement processes. Additionally, workers from equity-seeking communities may be under-represented in discussions and actions affecting their health and safety.
Specific anti-oppression actions are needed to address inequities experienced by equity-seeking communities.
|AWHC recognizes that Alberta is made up of a diversity of people from diverse backgrounds and lived experiences.
We acknowledge that systemic barriers to equity exist, both inside and outside the workplace.
|AWHC will strive for representation from equity-seeking communities in our programming. We will continue to build relationships with communities to meaningfully collaborate on new initiatives, and to better inform our programming and the programming of our stakeholders.|
|We strive to ensure we are supporting and creating inclusive and equitable communities. We value diversity and inclusion and are committed to helping achieve equity. We recognize that treating all groups equally will not result in equity.
Equity can only be achieved by actively pursuing it as a goal. It is an ongoing process that requires intentional and measurable outcomes. We recognize that this might create discomfort, but we acknowledge that change is rarely comfortable.
|AWHC will provide equity training, Indigenous education, and anti-oppression/anti-racism training opportunities for staff and board at least annually, and will seek to make similar opportunities available to project and program partners in and outside of the labour movement. AWHC will regularly evaluate all training undertaken to ensure our learning is up-to-date.
AWHC will commit resources to supporting equity as a process and outcome. We will continue to review policies and processes (formal and informal) through an equity lens and will review processes to identify unconscious bias.
|We will continue and increase our work with equity-seeking communities and individuals, engaging diverse voices to ensure all communities within Alberta’s workplaces see themselves reflected in the AWHC’s programming.||AWHC will encourage people of all backgrounds to apply for employment and other opportunities and will engage people from equity-seeking communities in our work at all levels.
|We see elevating the voice and power of communities as a key way we can help achieve equity. We want to ensure that people can thrive and reach their full potential by amplifying community voice and power.
We believe it is important for board members and staff to reflect the diversity of the workers and communities we serve.
|AWHC will take deliberate actions to achieve meaningful representation on our board. The board will:
1. Take real and concrete steps to achieve 35//50 representation on the board in two years (a minimum of 35% BIPOC and 50% women and gender variant)
2. Recruit, develop, and support a cohort of future board members within one year
3. Evaluate progress and process after one year
|We commit to reporting and communicating our successes and challenges in advancing equity, both within and outside our organization.||We will report on our actions and impacts at our regular board meetings and Annual General Meeting.
We will review this statement annually.
Current as of February 23, 2023.
*Based on Equity Statement from the Edmonton Community Foundation