City Takes Concrete Action Towards Increasing Social Inclusion and Diversity in the Community

First steps include seeking community’s input on creation of anti-racism task force

The City of Fredericton has taken concrete steps in its commitment to increasing social inclusion and eliminating racism in the community. Fredericton City Councillors voted unanimously Monday night in favour of joining UNESCO’s Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities, a network of cities committed to fostering inclusion, and to creating a social inclusion committee to oversee the development and implementation of a broader social inclusion plan and a more specific anti-racism task force.

As a member of the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities, the City will have a framework from which to develop and implement a plan of action, in collaboration with the community, to make the City’s policies, programs, services and facilities as socially inclusive as possible.

 “This is an opportunity for the City to take a stand against discrimination and clearly state our intention to generate inclusion and improve lives,” said Mayor Kate Rogers.

Included in the UNESCO framework is the commitment to create a social inclusion committee that would oversee the development and implementation of the plan.  In creating the committee, the City will look to the community to help define its makeup, next steps, expectations, and outcomes. 

“It’s not up to us alone as City Council to decide the makeup of a social inclusion committee meant to serve to the community as a whole,” added Mayor Rogers. “We need a diverse group of representatives with lived experiences in equity and human rights issues to help guide our efforts and hold us accountable to our commitments.”

In addition to these tangible steps towards change, the municipality recently created the position of Community Inclusion Program Manager and recruited Ben Griffin to fill the role.  This new municipal staff point person, along with current staff, will help develop and foster relationships with community agencies, advocacy groups and not-for-profits in the city, as well as lead staff efforts in anti-racism initiatives and decision-making efforts. Mr Griffin’s role also includes acting as a liaison between the Coalition’s program co-ordinators and UNESCO, other Coalition members, and the City’s municipal departments.

“Joining the Coalition helps the City focus on priority issues identified collaboratively within the community and with the help of new staffing resources and the social inclusion committee, we’ll be better equipped to help advocate to those responsible in matters that lie beyond our level of government and jurisdiction,” said Sara DeGrace, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Fredericton. “This demonstrates the City’s commitment to ensuring our programs and services are delivered in a way that reflect the makeup of our community.”

The City will be putting a public call for applicants to the social inclusion committee, as well as organizing a public meeting to get community’s input on how to assemble an anti-racism task force. This will take place in the weeks to come.

About UNESCO and the Coalition of Inclusion Municipalities

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) created the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities, a network of cities committed to fostering inclusion by improving their policies against racism, discrimination, exclusion, and intolerance. The Coalition provides a platform to broaden and strengthen human rights through co-ordination and shared responsibility among local governments, civil society organizations, and other institutions. Members of the Coalition advance initiatives to improve their practices for social inclusion, establish policies to eradicate racism and discrimination and promote human rights and diversity.

By joining the Coalition, municipalities commit becoming communities that promote diversity by involving citizens in anti-racism initiatives and decision-making; and providing equal opportunities as a municipal employer, service provider and contractor.