Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity
The year 2020 marked an important call to action among police services across the globe.
The death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who was murdered while in police custody, prompted a year of necessary change and awareness in policing.
Conversations surrounding Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) began towards the latter part of 2019 for the CPS, and while the pandemic may have stalled some of these efforts, the death of George Floyd was a clear indication that EDI in policing must become a priority. His death greatly influenced the level of trust and confidence in police, resulting in a call to action for change.
In 2020, the CPS embarked on a journey to become an organization that is reflective and understanding of the communities it serves. As an organization, we are compelled to reflect on our values of equity, diversity and inclusion and the reality of the lived experiences of many diverse communities. In doing so, the CPS committed to developing an Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Action Plan.
The following will highlight the actions that have been taken by the CPS since 2020 to become an organization that prioritizes Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity.
EDI ACTION PLAN
The CPS identified Staff Sergeant Tracey Pilon to lead the development of the EDI Action Plan. The plan was established with the intention to increase awareness of diversity issues within the CPS; ensure equitable treatment of all people; and, promote better relations between CPS employees and diverse communities. In September of 2020, a Framework for the Action Plan was presented to and endorsed by the Cornwall Police Services Board.
One of the first actions taken as part of the framework was training in “Courageous Leadership” and “Courageous Conversations.” These training sessions were led by César Ndéma-Moussa, the Roots & Culture Canada President and Eastern Ontario’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Director in Child Welfare. This training module touched every member of the service. The presentation addressed the roots of racism and its systemic manifestation in race and class, which have ultimately shaped the modern world. It helped employees to challenge long-held traditional beliefs and address accountability in light of growing social discourses.
Additional training has taken place since the launch of the EDI Action Plan, including:
- Virtual Diversity & Inclusion Workshop
- Courageous Leadership
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity Training via Children’s Aid Society of SDG
- Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Awards Webinar
- Courageous Conversations
- Addressing Systemic Racism through Data Collection Webinar
- Gender-Based Violence Through an Intersectional Lens
- Unconscious Bias: Understanding Bias to Unleash Potential
- Exploring Unconscious Bias Workshop
- Introduction to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to new employees
- National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada
- Kairos Blanket Exercise
- Systemic Racism Webinar
- Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity Symposium
- Ethics Program Training Application of a Diversity Lens to Policy
- Unconscious Bias
CPS EMPLOYEE CENSUS SURVEY
Another important early action of the CPS was to distribute a voluntary census survey to all employees in order to capture a baseline understanding on the diversity of our employees. This information will contribute to our efforts to understand and leverage the diversity, perspectives, and lived experiences of our employees.
In February 2021, the internal survey was made available to all CPS employees, in compliance with the Ontario Human Rights Code and Privacy Legislation. A total of 145 responses were received.
Having a clear picture of the diversity of our employees will assist us in addressing barriers in the workplace, use data to guide our future, build a sense of belonging, make informed evidence-based decisions, anticipate and/or respond to the needs of our diverse communities. Diversity is particularly important in the law enforcement context because policing is most successful when it has the support of the community it serves.
From the survey results, we were able to determine that 95 members of the CPS speak French, while several employees also indicated they speak American Sign Language, Arabic, Croatian, German, Mohawk, and Spanish, to name a few.
Four employees indicated they are First Nations, three indicated they are Metis, and five employees indicated they are mixed race Aboriginal or Indigenous.
One employee identified as being an Arabic visible minority. 13% of employees identified as having a sexual orientation other than heterosexual. 9% of employees indicated they have a disability.
When surveyed about religious beliefs, 25% of employees indicated they do not have a religious affiliation, while 46% of employees indicated they are Catholic. Other responses from employees included Protestant, Spiritual, New Age Spiritual, and Christian Orthodox.
The CPS was pleased with the results and the participation from employees to share this personal information. Surveying employees will continue to be an important element of the CPS’ EDI journey, while ensuring employee confidentiality and privacy is respected.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
On February 26th, 2021 S/Sgt. Tracey Pilon was invited to be a guest speaker at a Black History Month event, hosted by the African Caribbean International Association of Eastern Ontario (ACIAEO).
At the event, S/Sgt. Pilon provided an overview of the CPS EDI Action Plan and answered questions from members of the forum.
Over the course of the last year and a half, the CPS has actively sought out opportunities to take part in presentations on the topic of EDI. Some of the presentations we have been a part of include:
- Interview with Student from Algonquin College - Student reached out as part of a project and conducted an in depth interview around the Action Plan, its implementation, data collection, training and partnerships.
- St. Lawrence College Social Service Worker Program - Teacher from the SSW Course at SLC reached out and requested a presentation on CPS’s EDI Action Plan and its importance on shaping the future in policing.
- Coalition for Unity, Respect & Equity/Equality for All (CUREA)- Presented the Action Plan to the CUREA Board.
- Block Training to CPS Employees - Introduced the EDI Action Plan to the membership and explained the role they all play in challenging traditional viewpoints.
- Facebook Live Conversation with CUREA, Mayor and Chief of Police - Participated in Facebook Live event hosted by Mayor Clement. Table top discussion with participants relating to EDI.
- African Caribbean & International Association of Eastern Ontario (ACIAEO) - Presented EDI Action Plan – CRCP has presented various topics as the request of the Association relating to public safety.
- Children’s Aid Society of SDG – Paula Maddon - Presented EDI Action Plan.
- City of Cornwall Clerk, Manon Levesque - Presented EDI Action Plan and Policy Review activities.
DIVERSITY LENS IN POLICY
Since undertaking training in order to review policies using an EDI lens, all policy development or modifications are completed by applying this lens. Practices are being established to review all policies and procedures through a Diversity Lens.
EDI IN STRATEGIC PLANNING
In late 2020 into the beginning of 2021, the CPS began planning the development of the 2021-2023 CPS Strategic Plan. A great emphasis was placed on ensuring that all members of the communities served by the CPS had an opportunity to participate in the plan development.
A survey was distributed between March 19, 2021 and April 22, 2021, and was made available, both electronically and through paper copies. The survey was available in French and English, and was also accessible in additional languages through the assistance of community partners.
Members of the CPS and CPS Auxiliary members attended businesses, churches, mosques, community organizations and a number of other locations to appeal for assistance in sharing the survey. The CPS was met with great support from members of the community and partnering agencies to help distribute the survey to a wide cross-section of community members.
Additionally, a quantity of cell phone users in the Cornwall area received an automated message, further inviting them to take the survey.
The CPS was pleased to receive a total of 1,477 completed surveys, in which 19.6% of respondents identified as being Indigenous or a member of a visible minority. Additionally, 9.5% of respondents identified as a member of the LGBTQ2+ community, and 13% of respondents identified as having a disability.
Some of the key trends that were noted in the survey results, included the top five crime concerns for respondents who identified as Indigenous or a visible minority. These concerns being, violence against women, the presence of drugs/dealers, sexual assault crimes, hate crimes/incidents, and fraud/identified theft.
Respondents were also surveyed about their level of trust in the CPS, which revealed similar trends among the identified groups.
When respondents were asked to rate the performance of the CPS in working with diverse communities, it was clear that there is still work to be done, with most groups rating the performance as average.
A further break down of survey results can be found at https://cornwallpolice.com/2021-2023-strategic-plan.
The data submitted through the Strategic Plan Survey will continue to assist the CPS in serving the needs of these communities over the next three years. In addition to the survey, the CPS will also be continuing to use the partnerships and contacts that have been established through the Strategic Plan outreach, to maintain and further build relationships for improved understanding of community needs.
After extensive consultations with members of the public, community partners and employees, the CPS has streamlined all input from the Strategic Plan process into strategic priorities in response to the needs of Cornwall’s evolving community.
Four major pillars were identified as the plan’s foundation over the next three years. They are: Community Engagement, Organizational Excellence, Crime Reduction & Community Safety and Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI). Embedded within each of these pillars are strategic priorities that the CPS will look to achieve by the end of 2023.
By identifying Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity as its own pillar, the CPS is emphasizing the importance of prioritizing EDI within our police service and throughout the community. Major strategic priorities over the next three years will include:
- Building trust
- Building relationships with diverse communities
- Addressing systemic barriers
- Creating a diverse workplace
- Ensuring a culturally competent membership
- Championing an inclusive organizational culture
The CPS will be reporting back to the community on our progress in executing the priorities set out in the 2021-2023 Strategic Plan.
NEW CANADIANS PRESENTATION
On Friday, August 27th, members of the CPS attended an information session through Le Conseil Économique et Social d'Ottawa Carleton (CÉSOC) on safety and community policing to new Cornwall residents.
Staff Sergeant Tracey Pilon, the Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Coordinator for the CPS and Constable Marie Nissan (pictured left), an Arabic-speaking officer of the CPS, were able to engage attendees by introducing them to our community policing model, provide them with important information about their rights, how to access our services or call 911, as well as familiarize attendees with the police uniform, badges and vehicles.
The CPS was proud to welcome these new residents to the City of Cornwall and thanked them for allowing our police service the opportunity to share information about policing.
Newcomer Employment Welcome Services (NEWS) and L’Association des communautés francophones de l’Ontario, de Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry (ACFO SDG), and the Eastern Ontario Training Board (EOTB) also assisted with the execution of this workshop.
These important introductions to new Canadians will continue to take place in partnership with NEWS, CÉSOC, EOTB, and ACFO-SDG.
SUMMER MENTORING PROGRAM
In the summer of 2021, the CPS shared a job opportunity for a Student Mentoring Program. The successful candidate would be required to work in the Records Department, assisting the Receptionist and Records Clerks, in addition to having the opportunity to learn about other areas of the organization, how a municipal police service works, and attend weekly mentor team meetings. It was necessary for the candidate to be returning to full-time students at a college or university in the Fall.
In early July, the CPS was pleased to announce Mr. Tyren Boots (pictured left), as the successful candidate of our Student Mentorship Position. During his mentorship, Tyren was exposed to various areas of the Cornwall Police Service, all the while amazing our employees with his eagerness to learn, willingness to help and positive attitude.
As a resident of Akwesasne, Tyren was able to expose and teach CPS employees about Indigenous customs and traditions. His time with the CPS was equally as beneficial to our employees, providing members with a great deal of knowledge and understanding.
At the end of his term, Tyren returned to the Marian University of Wisconsin, where he is completing a double Major in Criminology and Psychology, with aspirations to later pursue a career in policing. He is also a member of the University's hockey and lacrosse teams.
The CPS is thankful for Tyren’s time with our police service, along with his hard work and dedication. We wish Tyren all the best in his future endeavours.
INVESTIGATING HATE-BASED INCIDENTS & CRIME
As part of its EDI journey, the CPS identified the need to improve how it conducts investigations of hate-based incidents and crimes.
Since this time, the CPS has designated Detective Constable Gary Lee as the officer responsible for investigating and following-up all hate-based incidents.
The officer reviews all incidents that may be a criminal offence or a hate-based incident with a view towards supporting the victim, educating the offender and ensuring the incident has been properly classified in the police database. The officer is also responsible for working closely with other police officers to provide education and training in order to ensure incidents are handled and fully-investigated using a holistic approach.
A hate or bias motivated crime is defined as a criminal occurrence committed against a person or property, which is motivated by hate/bias or prejudice based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or any other similar factor.
Non-criminal hate incidents involve the same characteristics as hate/bias crimes, but do not meet the threshold to be classified as criminal under Canada’s Criminal Code. Given the nature of these incidents and their potential to generate widespread fear in affected communities, police have an important reassurance role to play when responding to such occurrences.
The collection of data related to race-motivated incidents is an area the CPS is actively looking to improve upon. These incidents are captured as a reportable statistic within the CPS Records Management System. One of the ways the CPS is improving the way we track these incidents, is by assigning the Hate Crime Investigator to review all incidents and ensure they are properly classified within our system.
The CPS has undertaken efforts as part of its Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Action Plan to improve relationships with diverse communities and encourage the reporting of incidents to police. While the CPS is in the early stages of executing some of these strategies, our plan is to continue to conduct presentations to diverse groups and inform them about the various ways they can contact police for assistance and the importance of doing so.
The CPS is very pleased to have a designated Hate Crime Investigator position. We feel this is a critical role for ensuring the victim is receiving necessary support and resources, while also ensuring any involved individuals or suspects are educated, regardless of whether or not the matter is criminal in nature. It further allows for greater oversight in ensuring officers are investigating these incidents to the fullest extent.
The CPS is cognizant of the fact that there continues to be a lot of necessary work to be done to improve our relationship with diverse communities and develop the relationship to a point where communities feel comfortable reporting to police.
We are hopeful that with the continued execution of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Action Plan, we can build a better relationship with the diverse communities we serve and foster a culturally competent membership.
Diversifying talent acquisition has been a major focal point for the CPS over the last year and a half. The CPS continues to strive to promote and demonstrate the values of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. We are committed to reflecting the diversity of the community we serve and have been encouraging qualified candidates of all backgrounds and abilities to apply.
One of the ways we have improved upon our recruitment strategies is through conducting outreach to diverse populations when new job opportunities become available. Using a network of diversity-oriented community groups and organizations, when new opportunities become available, these agencies become notified and can further distribute the job posting to their networks. Additionally, all job postings are published in both French and English, and adopt EDI terminology.
Members of the CPS recruitment team have also undergone training to be able to conduct a critical analysis of applicants, with diversity at the forefront of all decision-making. This has aided our employees in ensuring all recruitment is done with considerations to EDI.
While the CPS has taken steps to enhance its recruitment strategies and diversify its talent acquisition, the work will continue into the coming years. The next steps of furthering this progress will be to work closely with diverse communities and provide them with opportunities to learn about a career in policing and the qualifications the position entails. The goal of this work will be to set potential candidates up for success in the recruitment process, by introducing them to the career qualifications, along with tools and resources that can help them become a successful candidate.
The CPS has implemented EDI into its internal transfers and promotions processes. This has been done by developing competency-based criteria as a means to ensure employees are competent in EDI and how it applies to their work, as a qualification for any promotion or transfer in the organization.
This allows CPS employees to truly be cognizant of how EDI applies to the work that they do and how they execute the values of EDI in their everyday responsibilities.
As we begin 2022, the CPS is eager to continue to develop new ways of engaging diverse communities. We recognize that while efforts have been made to prioritize equity, diversity and inclusivity, there is still much to be done.
Community outreach and engagement has been identified as an important priority for 2022. While the CPS has made strides with increasing education and awareness surrounding EDI internally, we must also turn to members of the diverse communities we serve in order to build greater trust and relationships. While we are eager for these next steps to begin, the CPS has noted that virtual platforms create barriers and are impersonal. We are working towards developing a way to engage these communities in a truly effective way, during a time where we can come together in the same place and have these honest and important conversations.
Some of the initiatives that we look forward to achieving this year include:
- Scheduling Listening Tables
- Identifying a Community Liaison
- Improving Data Collection
- Developing a Community-Driven EDI Committee
- Building Upon our Existing Strategies
The information contained here has provided a summary of the work of the CPS since 2020 towards becoming an organization that is reflective and understanding of the communities it serves. While the work has only just begun, the CPS is eager to continue to execute actions and positive changes within our organization and throughout the community, in order to further build trust, enhance our relationship with diverse communities, address systemic barriers and create a diverse workplace, with a culturally competent membership.
We look forward to continuing to serve the communities of Cornwall and developing new ways of engaging diverse populations.
For more information on this and other CPS initiatives, please check our website and follow our social media pages for all future updates.