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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Our DEI Statement

At the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO), we believe that diversity is part of what builds and enhances our communities’ vitality and vibrancy. Inclusion is the way we perceive and embrace all differences. EDCO is committed to creating an inclusive and safe space for economic developers through professional development and relevant programming for our members and their communities.

In 2021, EDCO started it's first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. As part of their initiative, the Committee members will release monthly blog posts on different DEI topics. 

Questions or suggestions? Contact the DEI Committee Chair, Nour Mazloum, at

We need your input! Please take a minute and fill out the DEI Strategies Survey. Your insights will help us enhance our efforts to create a more inclusive environment. DEI Strategies Survey ( 

DEI Training Opportunities:

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  • 27 Sep 2023 1:41 PM | Laura DeMille (Administrator)

    Embracing Reconciliation: Paving a Path to Economic Development with Indigenous Peoples in Ontario

    September 30th marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day, and is a day to recognize and create awareness of the individual, family and community inter-generational impacts of Indian Residential Schools. One way reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples can be done is by understanding and creating a commitment to Canada’s Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). By acknowledging historical injustices, nurturing meaningful partnerships and actively involving Indigenous communities in economic development, Ontario can create a future that is not only economically prosperous but also deeply rooted in justice, understanding and unity.

    The legacy of colonization has left an indelible mark on Canada that will forever be present in the lives of Indigenous communities throughout Canada. The TRC's reports document the painful impacts of residential schools, cultural suppression, and displacement that have reverberated through generations. Socio-economic disparities, resulting from these historical injustices, persist as poignant reminders of the work that remains to be done.

    Indigenous cultures embody a treasury of knowledge, wisdom and skills. The TRC's calls emphasize the need to incorporate Indigenous perspectives, languages and traditions into various aspects of society, including economic development. This cultural wealth can enrich economic endeavors, contributing to sustainable growth, innovative practices and a more holistic approach to progress.

    The heart of reconciliation lies in partnership and collaboration. The TRC's reports highlight the importance of working alongside Indigenous communities, respecting their autonomy and acknowledging their role as rightful stewards of their lands. By actively engaging Indigenous Peoples in economic planning and development, Ontario can foster mutually beneficial partnerships that align with Indigenous values and aspirations.

    The TRC's Calls to Action underscore the need to address socio-economic disparities faced by Indigenous communities. Empowering Indigenous entrepreneurship through training, mentorship and access to capital can create a pathway for economic self-determination. When Indigenous-owned businesses thrive, communities can flourish, leading to sustainable economic growth that benefits all.

    The TRC's reports emphasize the importance of cultural revitalization. Tourism and cultural exchange programs that celebrate Indigenous heritage not only generate revenue but also promote understanding and dialogue. When Indigenous Peoples are given the platform to share their stories, traditions and knowledge, it enriches the cultural fabric of Ontario and opens opportunities for economic growth rooted in respect.

    Reconciliation offers a vision of economic development that goes beyond profit. It envisions an economy where growth and progress are intertwined with cultural integrity, social justice and environmental responsibility. By aligning economic endeavors with the principles of reconciliation, Ontario has the chance to shape a more equitable and inclusive future.

    Organizations play a pivotal role in the journey of reconciliation. Authentic efforts involve not just words but meaningful actions. It requires organizations to:

    1.      Start by acknowledging the historical wrongs and the impact they've had on Indigenous communities. This recognition is the foundation upon which authentic reconciliation is built.

    2.      Consult with Indigenous communities in a meaningful and respectful way. Seek their input and consent in projects and decisions that affect their lands and well-being.

    3.      Actively support Indigenous-owned businesses and initiatives. Partner with Indigenous entrepreneurs and suppliers to create economic opportunities.

    4.      Invest in education and training programs that empower Indigenous individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to participate in various sectors of the economy.

    5.      Foster cultural awareness within the organization. This includes promoting understanding and appreciation of Indigenous cultures among employees and stakeholders.

    6.      Incorporate Indigenous perspectives on sustainability and responsible environmental practices into business operations.

    7.      Continuously assess and adapt reconciliation efforts. Recognize that reconciliation is an ongoing process that requires commitment and adaptation over time.

    8.      Educate yourself and those in your organization on the history of residential schools, the assimilation of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, Canada’s Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Greater knowledge equips us to steer change and to understand the ongoing impact that colonization has on Indigenous Peoples today.

    By aligning economic growth with cultural preservation, social justice and environmental responsibility, Businesses and leaders in Ontario can set a powerful example. Authentic reconciliation efforts by organizations are not only the right thing to do; they are also the path to more welcoming communities and a more equitable, prosperous, harmonious future for all.

    Here are some resources to get you started:

    Economic Reconciliation: Paving the Way to Concrete Economic Solutions

    Namwayut: we are all one. Truth and reconciliation in Canada | Canada is ... - YouTube

    National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

    National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

    Orange Shirt Day

    What is Truth & Reconciliation? (Canada's True History with Indigenous People) - YouTube

    Truth and Reconciliation Week 2023 Public Lunch and Learns Tickets | Eventbrite

    Written By:

    Lindsey Glazier 

    Marketing and Communications Coordinator

    Planning and Development

    Corporation of the County of Bruce

  • 04 Sep 2023 5:02 PM | Stephanie Crilly (Administrator)

    In our journey towards equitable communities and economies, there's something crucial we need to talk about: power and privilege. Power and privilege can be likened to invisible threads that weave through the fabric of our society, shaping our paths and determining who gets what opportunities. Power can be defined as access to resources, position, status, wealth or personal strength of character that gives a person, group or system the ability to influence others positively or negatively. While privilege is unearned power, benefits, advantages, access or opportunities that exist for members of a dominant group or groups in society. Privilege can also refer to the relative privilege of one group compared to another.

    An important note to highlight regarding privilege is that it does not mean you’re a bad person or that you haven't worked hard. It simply means that whatever identity you were born with requires you to consider how you navigate the world and certain spaces where navigation is more difficult or easier, depending on who you are.

    Now, why is this dialogue necessary? These dynamics exert significant impact on our economic landscape. Individuals wielding power often make decisions that ripple across society, occasionally leaving specific groups at a disadvantage. Moreover, privilege can exacerbate this situation, tilting the balance further. Historical injustices like colonization and discrimination have left profound scars that persist within communities today. Some of us may enjoy more opportunities bestowed upon us due to these injustices, while others face obstacles that seem inherently unjust.

    But here's the crux, we possess the power to effect change. We can take strides to challenge these imbalances and shape an economy that benefits everyone. Here's how:

    Learning and understanding: If you have been reading these blogs for the past few months, you will notice something that I have highlighted in every article, and will continue to highlight, educate yourself. Initiating authentic conversations about power and privilege serves as a foundational step. Greater knowledge equips us to steer change, illuminating a room that has remained dim for far too long.

    Equitable policies: Those in positions of authority—governments, institutions—wield considerable influence. By ensuring policies are inclusive, we ensure marginalized communities are having their voices heard, get a seat at the table and we begin working towards levelling that systemic imbalance that is currently in place.

    Empowering entrepreneurs: Starting a business is hard work. For those grappling with additional challenges due to their background, it can feel akin to scaling a mountain. Extending a hand in mentorship and support can make a world of difference.

    Amplifying voices: When those in power only mirror a single perspective, decisions are often skewed. It's time to provide everyone with a seat at the table. Diverse viewpoints lead to more impartial decisions, allows us to authentically communicate with new audiences, uncovers new perspectives and ideas and opens new avenues to business growth.

    Collective influence: Tremendous potential surfaces when we unite. Businesses, organizations, communities—let's collaborate to shape an environment that genuinely makes everyone feel a sense of belong.

    Unveiling implicit bias: Biases are intrinsic to human nature, yet recognizing and addressing them signifies a significant stride towards transformation. Embracing diversity in all aspects of life creates more equitable outcomes.

    Don’t forget about intersectionality: Intersectionality acknowledges that every individual has their own unique experiences of discrimination and oppression and we must consider everything that can marginalize people – race, class, citizenship, language, body size, mental health, formal education, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, etc. These overlaps and independent systems intersect, causing additional hurdles for individuals who experience more than one form of marginalization. This is a much more complex topic, but to begin understanding,

    In conclusion, power and privilege are integral aspects that intersect with our pursuit of economic development. Effecting change mandates confronting these challenges head-on and collaborating towards an economy that is inclusive and just. Through awareness, listening and active participation, we can pave the way for an economy where every individual has a chance at success. Though the journey might be demanding, it also offers an opportunity to instigate meaningful progress. Together, we can make it happen, one step at a time.

    Sometimes you're a caterpillar  - this video holds a special place for me. It can even be watched with kids. I encourage you to watch this video. When was the last time you empathized with a snail? You might after watching this video.

    Written By:

    Lindsey Glazier 

    Business Development Coordinator

    Planning and Development

    Corporation of the County of Bruce

  • 01 Aug 2023 11:51 AM | Stephanie Crilly (Administrator)

    Smaller organizations often have fewer resources to begin any efforts that don’t show immediate results or create tangible impacts. This means that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) projects are often the first initiatives put on hold. Or, if resources for DEI efforts do become available, both small and larger organizations sometimes don’t know where to start. Let's dive into way in which you can make changes with lasting, positive efforts to support DEI initiatives in your organization and community.

    First things first, educate yourself about DEI principles, challenges faced by underrepresented groups, specifically for the services you provide and the resources available in your local area. Knowledge is power and it will guide you on this journey.

    Now, take a good look at your organization and assess its current state. What policies, practices and cultural aspects need improvement? Don't forget to involve your employees in this process—anonymous surveys or focus groups can provide valuable insights.

    To make meaningful progress, form a dedicated DEI committee. Make sure it represents diverse perspectives and includes members from various departments. Together, create an action plan with specific goals, and don't forget to regularly check in on your progress.

    Setting clear objectives is crucial. Consider goals related to recruiting, retaining and promoting underrepresented groups. Implementing diversity training programs and mentoring initiatives can also help foster inclusivity and equity within your organization.

    Review your policies and procedures to identify and eliminate biases or barriers. Make sure your hiring processes promote diversity and inclusivity. Transparent guidelines for addressing discrimination or bias incidents are essential, along with a safe reporting mechanism.

    Building an inclusive culture is the key to success. Encourage open dialogue, active listening and respectful communication among employees. Employee resource groups or community partners can provide safe spaces for sharing experiences and insights.

    Don't limit your efforts to the confines of your organization—engage with the local community! Collaborate with other organizations, community leaders and local initiatives focused on DEI. Together, you can make a more significant impact and align your efforts with local needs.

    Remember to monitor and measure your progress. Regularly assess the impact of your DEI initiatives and be prepared to adjust strategies as needed. Employee satisfaction surveys, diversity metrics and promotions of underrepresented groups can be useful indicators.

    By taking these steps, you're making a commitment to embrace diversity, cultivate equity and foster inclusion within your organization and community. Even small steps toward change can have lasting effects. I hope these tips will help you towards reaching your DEI goals. 

    Written by:

    Lindsey Glazier

    Business Development Coordinator 

    Planning and Development 

    Corporation of the County of Bruce

  • 04 Jul 2023 4:55 PM | Stephanie Crilly (Administrator)

    Just because pride month is behind us for 2023, doesn’t mean we stop celebrating the diversity within the 2SLGTBQIA+ community (Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and the plus reflects the countless affirmative ways in which people choose to self-identify). In fact, incorporating inclusive practices into your business can drive economic development and bring positive impacts for our communities. Let's explore some engaging ways you can boost your business through inclusive efforts and practices:

    Reputation and Market Expansion:

    When we support inclusive initiatives, we cultivate a positive reputation as socially responsible organizations. This not only attracts customers who value diversity but also expands our market reach, opening doors to new business opportunities. By aligning ourselves with the 2SLGTBQIA+ community, we position ourselves as leaders in promoting equality, capturing the attention of the growing number of inclusive-minded consumers seeking products and services from businesses that share their values.

    Talent Attraction:

    Creating an inclusive work environment is crucial for attracting and retaining top talent. By actively participating in Pride Month and Pride activities, and by promoting 2SLGTBQIA+ inclusion, we position ourselves as progressive employers of choice. This sends a powerful message to potential employees, showing that we embrace diversity and value the unique contributions of every individual. As a result, we attract a diverse and skilled workforce that drives innovation, boosts overall organizational performance, and ensures we stay ahead of the competition.

    Access to New Markets:

    Pride activities and support offer an exciting opportunity to tap into new markets and niche segments. The 2SLGTBQIA+ community possesses significant purchasing power and actively supports inclusive companies. By genuinely engaging with this community, we can build connections, foster trust, and develop tailored offerings that meet their specific needs. This not only diversifies our customer base but also leads to increased revenue streams, creating long-term sustainable growth.

    Partnership Development:

    Participating in Pride activities goes beyond just celebration; it opens doors to valuable networking opportunities with like-minded organizations. By taking part in Pride events and sponsorships, we forge partnerships that benefit both parties involved. Collaborations formed during Pride Month can lead to exciting joint marketing initiatives, shared resources, and expanded business networks. By embracing these partnerships, we enhance our competitiveness and gain access to new markets, ultimately driving our business forward.

    Supporting Economic Development:

    By actively promoting 2SLGTBQIA+ inclusivity, we attract businesses and investments that prioritize diversity. This, in turn, contributes to job creation, economic growth, and community development, fostering a resilient and inclusive economy. Moreover, by creating a supportive ecosystem for 2SLGTBQIA+ businesses and entrepreneurs, we drive economic diversification, fuel innovation, and pave the way for long-term prosperity that benefits everyone.

    Let's wholeheartedly embrace the spirit of inclusivity and diversity, leveraging its power to drive our economy forward. By promoting equity within our organizations and actively engaging with the 2SLGTBQIA+ community, we create a more inclusive and prosperous future for Ontario and beyond. Together, we can make a real difference.

    Lindsey Glazier 

    Business Development Coordinator
    Planning and Development
    Corporation of the County of Bruce

  • 15 Jun 2023 10:08 AM | Stephanie Crilly (Administrator)

    As many of you might already know, officially proclaimed by the UN General Assembly and commenced in 2015, running until 2024, The United Nations' Decade of People of African Descent (“The Decade”) is an international

    initiative aimed at promoting the rights, development, and well-being of people of African descent around the world.

    While The Decade advocates for the advancement of the African Diaspora, it also recognizes the significance of international partnerships and collaboration in promoting economic development for people of African descent. It encourages cooperation between governments, businesses, civil society organizations, and international institutions to leverage resources, share best practices, and promote economic integration. Such collaborations can facilitate trade, investment, and technology transfer, contributing to sustainable economic development.

    Canada has recognized the Decade. The province of Ontario has recognized The Decade. And, many of our cities, such as Toronto, Ajax and Mississauga have also recognized The Decade. Mississauga not only has

    recognized The Decade, it has committed to working with a team of community leaders–which I am a part of–to create mutually beneficial initiatives. We all understand that Win-Win solutions are the only true effective solutions. 

    With over a year left in the decade, it’s not too late for you to explore how your city could also celebrate The Decade and benefit from collaborations with African and Caribbean cities, institutions, businesses and communities. 

    For more information, please contact

  • 02 Oct 2022 10:11 PM | Stephanie Crilly (Administrator)

    I was fortunate enough to be invited by the Wahnapitae First Nations to attend a Cultural Mindfulness training session lead by George Couchie of the Nipissing First Nations. The lessons and teachings were meaningful, powerful and, for me, sometimes quite shocking. 

    On matters of Indigenous history in Canada, I admit to having been completely ignorant. Ignorance is only a “thing” until one seeks out or is gifted with knowledge. After only a one-day session, I know that I am still ignorant to much of the history and the culture, but I have been gifted with understanding now that I didn’t have before.

    I am not an expert, but this session educated me on some of the violent atrocities that took place across this country, of which I was previous unaware.

    • It is likely that you have heard of the tragedies of the missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. I learned on this day that the number of missing and murdered Indigenous men is actually 10 times higher than the number of the women!
    • I learned that the residential schools robbed individuals and their communities of their language, culture and their families. They were given dog tags with numbers and were often referred to only by that number.
    • I learned that statistically a person was more likely to die in a residential school than they were to die while fighting in one of the great wars.
    • I learned about so many streams of systemic, generational racism and the genocide of multiple cultures. 

    This session was emotional and impactful. However, it is not hopeless. As George said, “We cannot change the past, but we can make the future better.”

    George gifted us by starting the day teaching us the Seven Grandfather Teachings. I enjoyed this portion so much, as it is very akin to the life journey that I had started for myself about two decades ago. I am going to make it a point to remind myself of these teachings every day to remember that we all can be a part of the solution. 

    As this was the first time I learned these teachings, I know that with time I will develop an even deeper understanding. Here is what I learned and what I wanted to share. For those who know them, I apologize if this feels like I am not doing them justice. George has a far more powerful way of instilling these lessons. He laid them out like a path and went into far more explanation than I would be able to. This portion of my blog is just for those who are starting a journey like I am:


    We need to be brave and speak up when things need to be changed, and have the courage to listen, even when the lessons are difficult. 


    Wisdom comes from experience. Hardships and struggle can turn into something positive if we are still breathing, and we can learn from the struggle in order to make life better for ourselves and others.


    It is a valuable lesson to learn that doing the right thing is even more important when no one is watching, and no external praise is given. I have personally found over the years that when one learns that making a positive impact is its own reward, then doing good for your neighbours and the land becomes a habit.


    We all have the spark of life in us, we need to make the spark shine brightly by living our lives with authenticity and integrity.


    We are all responsible for own selves. Generational trauma is real, but we can learn to not carry it. If we break bad cycles, we can immediately create positive ripples for the future generations


    George taught us these teachings in the order that I have them listed. He put Respect before Love because without respect, there is no true love. Respect for the land, respect for others and respect for yourself are all necessary to live one’s best life. 


    Love, as I have learned along my life’s journey and was reinforced on this day, is the key. If everyone came from a place of love, the world would be a far better place. If we all practise it, then we will be the change we want to see.

    I know my knowledge will deepen over time, as I continue this journey and working with the Wahnapitae First Nations and other communities in the area.

    If you have not had a session like this, I highly suggest reaching out to George Couchie and booking him at his earliest availability ( There are deep rooted, systemic issues in the world. Using these teachings, we can all begin to make things better


    Keith Crigger

    Manager of Investment and Business Development at Economic Development, City of Greater Sudbury

    DEI Committee at EDCO

  • 20 Sep 2022 11:45 AM | Stephanie Crilly (Administrator)

    We know that in certain sectors with greater gender inequality just closing the gap in women’s labour force participation could increase economic output by an average of 35%. Progress, however, is slow and is different from one community to another.

    Appropriate economic and financial policies can help change these negative outcomes, improving economies by supporting the recovery and building resilience for the future.

    For example, while the pandemic set women further back everywhere, it also drove policy innovations. Several pandemic assistance programs targeted certain groups and brought more people into social safety nets. These programs make it easier to provide targeted assistance to cope with inflation.

    Investment in human capital to provide everyone equal access to food, healthcare and education are especially large in emerging and developing economies. Communities need to ensure their people can live healthy to be able to contribute to their growing economies.

    One solution is increasing the representation of women in leadership positions is critical. Studies show that a greater presence of women in financial institutions and financial policymaking roles goes hand in hand with greater financial resilience for communities.

    Nour Mazloum

    Marketing & Communications Manager at Kingston Economic Development

    Chair, DEI Committee at EDCO

  • 12 Jul 2022 11:48 AM | Stephanie Crilly (Administrator)

    Barriers for employment and economic opportunities still exists for women and LGBTQ2S+ Canadians. Further, LGBTQ2S+ women face higher economic inequality. Financially, women are still paid less than men. In terms of opportunities, women are more likely to hold low-wage and minimum wage jobs.

    The size of the LGBTQ2S+ economy both in population size and purchasing power is large.

    The economy is changing! The solutions to our most complex challenges will be developed and implemented by people of various backgrounds and experiences. Voices that haven’t always been around the table can hold those solutions we have not yet thought about. Our communities will be stronger when we include everybody.

    The Williams Institute at UCLA collected empirical evidence from 39 countries, 29 of which are emerging economies to map the relationship between LGBTQ2S+ Rights, inclusion and economic development.

    The study notes that when LGBTQ2S+ individuals are denied full participation in society because of their identities, their human rights are violated, and those violations of human rights are likely to have a harmful effect on a community’s level of economic development.

  • 17 May 2022 11:33 AM | Stephanie Crilly (Administrator)

    As a small and mid-sized town economic developer in-the-know, you recognize a prime source of new investment and residents are members of the “Diverse” communities. Over the last few years, we have seen a movement of people of every stripe from the big centres outwards to the exurbs. More recently, small and rural communities even further out are attracting attention. Of particular interest are the opportunities arising from the potential arrival of Black, Indigenous, and People-of-Colour (BIPOC) investments and new residents.

    Getting into the game is complicated by the term “BIPOC”. The term hides the myriad differences between the Black, Indigenous, and many many others that are captured in the “People-of-Colour” shorthand. And to complicate it even more, some PoC sub-groups are so large that there are sub-sub-groups. There are different needs, different resources, different histories and relationships with government and the general population, different influences and influencers, different family dynamics, and different desires. It means there are some numerous considerations when trying to attract, accommodate, welcome, and retain new BIPOC investments and residents. 

    Your community is in competition for these new BIPOC residents, owner-operated retail and services, and small-scale processing or manufacturing. Unfortunately, it’s typically a zero-sum game. Economic developers are recognizing their traditional one-sized-fits-all efforts constrains them and that a diversity orientation gives them a competitive advantage.

    If you are at the starting line on your diversity thinking, your first step should be some basic training in general diversity concepts so that your council, board of directors, staff, and stakeholders have the same vocabulary. Your hope is that along with this new vocabulary, you start to create a safe space for discussing diversity. One thing I can promise you is that the discussions are going to be sometimes dramatic, sometimes painful, sometimes embarrassing, and sometimes ill-informed. Then if you decide that you really want to take diversity on as a core value or guiding principle then you need to be prepared to have this new orientation affect (over time) your operations from governance to branding messages and marketing actions to human resource to program and service provisions to how you evaluate yourself…everything. Another promise…you can either be proactive and be ready for a changing Canada or take your time and react while your competitors eat your lunch!

    How about some worthwhile reading to prime your thinking? Click here for a copy of A Place to Call Home: An exploration of how to attract, accommodate, and retain BIPOC investments and residents. 

    Written by Glen Loo ( — Glen is a member of the BIPOC community and has been an economic developer for over 40 years working in government, quasi-government agencies, and the private sector across Canada and overseas. 

  • 17 May 2022 11:31 AM | Stephanie Crilly (Administrator)

    International Women’s Day is happening on Tuesday March 8 and I was reflecting on how (not so) far we’ve come to Gender Equity and Gender Parity. A report from the World Economic Forum that was released last year titled the “Global Gender Gap Report 2021” examines the evolution of gender-based gaps in four areas: economic participation and opportunity; educational attainment; health and survival; and political empowerment. I’ll endeavor to provide the quick executive summary for you.

    Key points in this report state that progress towards gender parity have stalled in many of the large economies and industries. In fact, the global gender gap has increased by a generation from 99.5 years to 135.6 years! Due to the pandemic, women have been losing jobs at higher rates than men partly because sectors that have been disrupted by lockdowns have a higher representation of women in them. Sectors with low representation of women are also those in fast-growing jobs of the future like cloud computing, engineering and other STEM related disciplines showing that women are missing out on industries with the greater amount of growth.

    The report does go on to offer ideas on gender equality and recovery opportunities while also highlighting ways that other countries have worked towards closing their gender gaps. Iceland for example has ranked top of the list as the most gender-equal country in the world while North America (Canada and the US) is one of the more improved regions from 2020 with a result stating that it’ll take only 61.5 years to close the gender gap.

    With this information in mind, there were some seminal studies done last year examining the “She-Cession” and some ideas on a “She-Covery”. If you aren’t familiar with these terms “She-Cession” refers to the 2020 recession when COVID hit that there were greater job losses for women than men. “She-covery” is a term that traditionally followed recessions where men lost jobs and women would enter the workforce to help with household finances. In this instance, she-covery is hampered as COVID has disproportionately affected women more due to increased childcare responsibilities and the loss of service-sector jobs.

    Armine Yalnizyan, an economist and an Atkinson Fellow on the Future of Workers, first coined the term of she-cession and identified that a lack of childcare is a chokepoint for a she-covery. She posits, “There will be no recovery without a she-covery, and no she-covery without childcare.” This prompted an examination of local policies and tactics to help improve the she-covery thereby improving our small businesses recovery in our communities from the effects of COVID’s recession. The first of such documents was shared by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and their report, “The She-Covery Project: Confronting the Gendered Economic Impacts of COVID-19 in Ontario”. Some of the major takeaways from this report include:

    ·  Building in leadership and accountability to set collective targets, reward diversity, and including women in decision making bodies

    ·  A short-term strategy for childcare and improving accessibility and affordability

    · Focusing on critical skills and accelerating reskilling for workforce development

    · Building in pathways for entrepreneurship and economic growth

    · And flexible work arrangements to allow equitable access to work opportunities

    Despite the sobering results from the Global Gender Gap Report from 2021, I am optimistic that we are working together to build a stronger recovery plan that will help shorten the gap and achieve gender parity at a faster pace. Circling back to my original reflection, what are you doing in your communities to support our women and encourage gender equality and gender parity? How do we, as economic developers, bring about change as we build our communities for the future? I look forward to connecting with you at this year’s EDCO Conference on April 5-7th and sharing ideas together. 

    Author: Tammy Hwang, B.Comm, (she/her)

    Business Development Officer, Global Hamilton

    City of Hamilton

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