Catholic Family Services of Hamilton is committed to an inclusive framework in behaviour and actions that reflects our fundamental beliefs of trust, mutual respect and dignity for all individuals. Inclusion means an environment where each person has an opportunity to participate fully in creating success and is valued for her/his distinctive skills, experiences and perspectives. An inclusive, accessible environment values individuality and motivates Board members, employees, students and volunteers to contribute their best.
We believe that diversity and inclusion are key drivers of creativity and innovation. Diversity includes individuals from all nations, cultures, ethnic groups, sexual orientations, generations, backgrounds, skills, abilities, and all the other unique characteristics that make each of us who we are.
To that end, the following policy has been developed:
1.0 Catholic Family Services of Hamilton (CFS) will provide an environment that supports inclusive principles and practices and will strongly encourage such an environment.
1.1 Inclusion and diversity includes individuals of all gender, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, ethnicity, national origin, marital status, political persuasion, personal appearance, disability, or other protected characteristics.
1.2 Board members, employees, students and volunteers will not tolerate actions that contravene the principles of inclusion.
1.3 Board members, employees, students and volunteers will not violate those principles through inappropriate limitation of employment opportunity, access to services, or participation in any CFS activities.
1.4 CFS works to increase access and participation, especially for those who are marginalized, disadvantaged or oppressed.
2.0 CFS will work to ensure that the structure, systems and policies of the organization reflect the communities it serves and will encourage equal access to all.
2.1 CFS must attract, develop, promote and retain a diverse workforce and Board in order to better fulfill our vision and most effectively address our stakeholders.
2.2 Employees, students and volunteers are expected to conduct themselves professionally, in a manner befitting the work environment, and with respect for colleagues and co-workers.
2.3 Employees, students and volunteers are expected to understand that behaviour which one individual considers innocent and harmless may be regarded as oppressive by another person.
2.4 CFS does not tolerate discriminatory or oppressive behaviour.
Revised and Approved September 2013
Official Statement from the Child and Youth Services System Committee (CYSSC)
Regarding Anti-Black Racism
BLACK LIVES MATTER AND SO DO OUR ACTIONS.
The Hamilton CYSS Committee is comprised of leadership from over 25 child and youth serving agencies in Hamilton. We represent sectors that include child and youth mental health, education, child welfare, youth justice, health, developmental services and early years care. Many of the people we work with have experienced ongoing systemic injustice, including social, economic and health disparities, inequity and violence that targets Black people.
As committee members we share the world’s outrage and grief over the killings that are a direct result of systemic racism and our society’s reluctance to address it. We understand that Black, Brown and Indigenous people are disproportionately represented within our service system and are more likely to be marginalized, including experiencing the negative impact that marginalization has on people’s well-being, hope, and resilience. We recognize the need to pause, step back, listen to, and learn from the people we serve. We are deeply motivated to make meaningful change and work with young people and their families who use our services, our staff, and our communities to challenge systemic racism that exists within our systems with the goal of creating a more equitable and inclusive community. We recognize that our leadership does not reflect the racial, ethnic, cultural and gender diversity of those we serve. We know that it is essential that we foster a broad and inclusive culture that encourages a diversity of perspectives and range of voices within our committee and service system. This cannot be accomplished without also acknowledging the issue of police brutality and by expressing our solidarity with all victims of police violence and with those groups and individuals working for an end to police violence. We recognize the need to do so in a way that is respectful, ethical, and equitable. We must be especially mindful of those members of the Black community as well as Indigenous People and People of Colour who have historically been disenfranchised by law enforcement.
We realize that we simply have not done enough.
We will hold ourselves and each other accountable to the following steps. We recognize that while it will take time to get it right, we share a common commitment to begin the process.
We will learn. We will make a commitment to education and awareness to increase our understanding of the challenges and issues faced by people who are impacted by systemic racism. We will create safe spaces for these courageous conversations. We acknowledge the work of the Equity Working Group, a subcommittee of the CYSSC, in helping to identify and address issues of systemic racism.
We will listen. We will listen to understand how issues of race, power and privilege affect our membership and those we service. We are teachable and open to “unlearning.” We will be vigilant in monitoring ourselves for defensiveness. We will commit to allyship realizing that it is not a static role but one requiring ongoing work and practice.
We will be accountable. We will listen to the perspectives of people with lived experience of systemic racism in order to develop our actions going forward. We will foster a commitment to better reflect our communities and to formalize incorporating awareness of race and privilege into all facets our work. These plans will be specific, actionable, and measurable.
It will take all of us, together, to recognize, understand, and acknowledge systemic racism and to address the harm it causes to the people subjected to it. We commit to working to address these barriers to racial justice.
This statement was co-developed with members of the CYSSC agencies and the CYSSC Equity Work Group. It was affirmed by Board of Catholic Family Services, November 24, 2020.