EQUITY, DIVERSITY, AND INCLUSION POLICY
This policy outlines the principles which demonstrate Cher-Mère's commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in its workplace. At Cher-Mère, we are committed to embedding and mainstreaming EDI in all its form.
We champion the diversity of our employees, customers, guests, suppliers, contractors, and the wider community and see diversity as a strength in our mission to “support a sustainable and inclusive wellness industry”.
Cher-Mère recognizes that society at large historically and systemically has perpetuated inequality, discrimination, and disparity of outcomes for equity-seeking groups, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI), people of colour, people with disabilities, 2SLGBTQ+, and newcomers.
This policy sets Cher-Mère's organizational initiatives that address potential and actual acts of discrimination, harassment, and workplace violence so an individual can fully, freely, and equitably participate within the Cher-Mère family.
This policy applies to all Cher-Mère’s members, including our employees, customers, contractors, and suppliers who have business dealings with Cher-Mère. This policy is not intended to interfere with related legislation as per the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Ontario Employment Standards Act, and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act.
This policy understands Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through the following meanings:
Diversity: the presence of a wide range of human qualities and attributes within an individual, group or organization. The dimensions of diversity include but are not limited to: age, sex, gender, race, ethnicity, physical and intellectual ability, class, creed, religion, sexual orientation, educational background and expertise.
Equity: a condition or state of fair, inclusive, and respectful treatment of all people. Equity does not mean treating people the same without regard for individual differences. Equity includes treating some people differently, to take into consideration some people’s particular needs and situations.
Inclusion: a state of being valued, respected, and supported. Workplace inclusion means creating an environment that accepts each individual's differences embraces their strengths, and provides opportunities for all people in the workplace to achieve their full potential.
Cher-Mère strives to be a place that is inclusive to all people. We celebrate the uniqueness that makes someone human and strive to ensure that our hiring practices, our suppliers, our customers understand our goal to make equity and diversity the norm and not the exception.
- We will embed equality, diversity and inclusion across all levels and in everything that we do.
- We will seek to understand the challenges and barriers to equality in order to eliminate discrimination, creating an environment where differences are valued.
- We will promote a culture of inclusion, recognizing and celebrating difference and acknowledging the benefits achieved by diversity of thought and experience.
- We will create a safe, non-judgmental space where we can discuss arising issues relating to equality, diversity and inclusion and support one another to understand and acknowledge a range of perspectives.
- We will educate our community and raise awareness in all areas relating to equality, diversity and inclusion ensuring our commitment to EDI is understood by all.
We acknowledge that the organization that exists at the end of this process might be different than the one we had when we started, and we accept that as we start this journey.
We will set out actionable goals and measure our progress toward those goals.
Action One - Progressive Human Resources Practices
People who self-identify as an equity-seeking group member are welcomed to join the Cher-Mère family. Cher-Mère's is mindful in mitigating unconscious biases in its hiring procedures and promotes the diversification of its people, with the goal to achieve a 20% of workforce representation from equity-seeking groups until 2025.
- To reach out to applicants from equity-seeking groups, Cher-Mère diversifies the use of job boards and posts its job posts in its social media platforms, and the ones operated by external agencies and organizations in Kingston and region (e.g., Kagita Mikam, KEYS Job Centre, ACFOMI, Community Living Centre, etc.).
- A strong, bold, and well-articulated EDI statement included in the job description, showcasing Cher-Mère’s unique initiatives to advocate and promote an equal, diverse, and inclusive workplace.
- Promote the use of gender-neutral language in job description to ensure the wording and phrasing not intimidating (e.g., competitive, excellent, perfect) so that eligible candidates would not feel discouraged to apply.
- Cher-Mère pivots diverse perspectives that lead to collective hiring decisions. The business runs a Recruitment and Selection Body (the “Body”) with at least one member from equity-seeking groups. The Body members are trained with skills to mitigate workplace unconscious bias and they counsel the hiring committee for hiring practices.
- The Body members remove demographic identifiers (e.g., name, gender, age, nationality) from collected resumes and present the hiring committee for blind screening, the mechanism of which premises a merit-based evaluation method.
- Include one EDI related question for all interviews, ensuring all Cher-Mère people are in line with core EDI value propositions.
- Upon request, provide interview feedback to candidates who are not selected.
- Champion mission-oriented tones in the wording and phrasing of offer letters, which highlight an inclusive culture driven by collective visions.
Cher-Mère also takes actions to build on its inclusive culture in post-recruitment phases.
- Onboarding Arrangement: Cher-Mère aims to guarantee to its members a comfortable, safe, and productive work environment. After hiring a new recruit, the business takes into consideration any accommodation needs (e.g., disability, pregnancy, age, religious beliefs). Cher-Mère also follows these steps: (a) formal welcome letters introducing new recruit sent to all team members; (b) walkthrough of Cher-Mère's Employee Handbook, EDI Policies and Procedures, and Accessibility Policy, to the new hire; (c) explanation of what the business is expecting from the professional, and how the feedback is given; (d) assigns a “co-worker buddy” to help and encourage the new recruit during the adaptation process.
- Assignment of a “co-worker buddy”: Cher-Mère believes that the inclusion of a member is more successful when professional shadowing is available. Thus, Cher-Mère's will assign a “co-worker buddy” , a role model employee that will be responsible for guiding the new recruit in questions related to company values, workplace culture, daily aspects of work, and professional development.
- Regular check-in: Cher-Mère cares about how the staff feel towards their jobs. Therefore, the manager will coordinate structural check-ins in 1-month, 3-month, and 6-month timelines on subjects related to integration into the work environment. Some sample questions are: How have you been feeling here at Cher-Mère? Did anything surprise you positively or negatively? If negatively, what is your suggestion for us to improve?
- Training: To build on the awareness of diversity and collegial respect, Cher-Mère commits to provide staff with periodical training. These sessions scaffold a positive organizational culture.
- For professional development trainings, Cher-Mère is committed to offering equal opportunities to all members. The training communication will be through e-mail and posts on bulletin board, giving all staff the same access to training. Cher-Mère encourages its staff to attend work-related training programs both internally and externally.
- Dynamic performance feedback: Cher-Mère advocates a self-driven mindset among staff for them to approach professional development. The managers coordinate performance review talks with staff on an ad hoc basis, which renders staff flexibility and transparency in remaining informed about their performance feedback.
Action Two - Accessibility, Diversity & Mental Wellbeing
Establish a community practice of values:
- Promote workplace inclusion and accessibility supporting team members equitably and fairly, facilitate a culture of attainable / responsive service provision
Build a strong value proposition through sharing:
- Feedback and experiences gained through employee and client engagement
- Clear objectives that facilitate trust, integrity and consistency in the workplace
- High quality service, dedicated staff, and a strong client base of returning clientele who value / appreciate the organization, its’ leaders, their job and the culture
Accessibility to all in our service options (From KEYS Workplace Inclusion Charter Toolkit):
“Organizations should have an accessibility policy in-place in order to:
- a) comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
- b) ensure efforts are taken to provide an inclusive experience for employees and clients or customers with disabilities”
Diversity in our marketing approaches:
- “Inclusion is not a trend” - practice inclusive marketing - body image and marketing are strongly interconnected. Present a variety of cultures, body shapes and sizes - promote an inclusive business profile
- “Avoid putting people in boxes” - create a space for marketing by and with diverse members of the community rather than marketing for them
- “Universal Design” - create an environment that can be accessed, understood and used by all people regardless of age, size or diverse-ability
- “Accessible images” - alternative text embedded within the images used on the website or through social media describing what the image depicts
- “Be intentional through language” - use person-first / gender inclusive language - “Person with a disability” (not disabled person) - practice gender-neutrality through pronouns (they in place of he/she)
Mental Health – an essential piece of workplace inclusion today
- Using the “Not Myself Today” campaign highlights “mental health as being everyone’s business”, that “a mentally healthy workforce is good for business”. This brief video introduction illustrates the importance of feeling “safe” in the workplace, building trust and confidence within the organization
- Staff who are comfortable with their own mental health, will be comfortable with the mental health of those for whom they provide services
Action Three - Social enterprise and community engagement
Cher-Mère strives to be a social enterprise that embeds a social, cultural, or environmental purpose into the business. Cher-Mère is an advocate for inclusive community engagement by associating business operation with the community benefits.
In collaboration with local employment service agencies and post-secondary institutions, Cher-Mère is committed to create access to quality jobs, training, and apprenticeship opportunities, particularly of historically disadvantaged communities and members of employment equity-seeking groups. Cher-Mère champions principles of social procurement and prioritizes suppliers based in the Kingston and region.
Cher-Mère boasts a learning organization to both internal and external stakeholders. Internally, Cher-Mère cares the professional growth of its employees by offering a handful of in-house trainings or workshops hosted by service partners, with the topics including but not limited to:
- Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act & Access Forward Online Training;
- Understanding Unconscious Bias & Teaching Tolerance;
- Navigating Race in the Canadian Workplace;
- OFIFC’s Indigenous Cultural Competency Training;
Externally, Cher-Mère aspires to be the “impact centre” as a wellness service provider. Cher-Mère implements a robust community outreach strategy to keep the community it serves well informed the benefits for experiencing sustainable and inclusive wellness services.
Cher-Mère firmly supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across its business operation and in its supply chain management. Cher-Mère endeavors to pivot below SDGs and demonstrate its social responsibility. The positive stance towards environmental sustainability serves to be the value proposition premise of an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplace.
- Goal #3: Good health and well-being;
- Goal #6: Clean water and sanitation;
- Goal #12: Responsible consumption and production;
- How to Create a More Inclusive Salon, Spa, or Wellness Business + Guide (see: https://www.mindbodyonline.com/sites/default/files/public/education/learning-assets/How_to_Create_a_More_Inclusive_Salon_Spa_Wellness_Business_Guide.pdf) – this guide is an excellent example of how a spa service facility could acknowledge inclusion and diversity within their practice
- Civello Salon & Spa Policies – “Civello Salon & Spa’s dedication to diversity, gender equality, and inclusion are long-running components of our company and values. Civello Salon & Spa is committed to equal employment principles. We strive to find ways to attract, develop, and retain the talent necessary to meet our business objectives and goals, and to recruit and employ highly qualified individuals representing the diverse communities in which we live. Diversity and gender equity remain key guideposts across the company, embraced by all levels of Management.”
- Balogun, O., & Kennedy, A. B. (2020). Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Massage Therapy Profession. International journal of therapeutic massage & bodywork, 13(3), 1–5. – See: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7454234/ - PDF version(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7454234/pdf/ijtmb-13-1.pdf)
- Building Diversity in the Workplace: https://www.greatplaccom/resources/blog/how-to-build-and-support-neurodiversity-in-the-workplace
- Six Steps Towards a Supportive Workplace: https://www.texthelp.com/resources/blog/creating-supportive-workplaces/?utm_content=Your%20ticket%20to%20a%20free%20festival%20awaits&utm_medium=Email&utm_source=Mautic&utm_campaign=Private-Sector%7CWP-Monthly-Newsletter-FY2021
- Wesley Mission:
- Ten Guiding Principles of Diversity Work, Michelle Silverthorn (2020): https://michellesilverthorn.com/blog/ten-guiding-principles-of-diversity-work
- Sick Kids – EDI Action Plan (2019): https://www.sickkids.ca/contentassets/040f4235bb7144fc8dbfc7a962a8ac38/research-institute-edi-action-plan-december2019.pdf
- The Alan Turing Institute: EDI https://www.turing.ac.uk/about-us/equality-diversity-and-inclusion
- Key to Developing Guiding Principles, Dr. Nancy Zentis (IOD Institute for Organization Development, 2020) https://instituteod.com/key-developing-guiding-principles/
 https://www.possiblemadehere.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Workplace-Inclusion-Charter.pdf and http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/human-rights-and-policing-creating-and-sustaining-organizational-change/appendix-b-glossary
 Guided by the measures outlined through the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) defining the duty to accommodate those whom we train and educate, those whom we employ and those to whom we provide services (see more below)
 Not all organizations are required to comply with AODA; however, all organizations should consider having an accessibility policy and plan in place to improve the inclusivity of their workplaces and enjoy the associated benefits of a diverse workforce.
 See Inclusion Insights – 5 important things to consider when starting your inclusive marketing journey – Inclusive Marketing, Oct. 30, 2020
 See “Built environment” at https://opha.on.ca/What-We-Do/Workgroups/Built-Environment.aspx