Justice, equity, diversity and inclusion update

In 2020 we made a commitment to you – our supporters, partners, researchers, staff, volunteers, community – to listen, learn and take meaningful action to address systemic racism. It is essential that we advance justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) at the Canadian Cancer Society in order to serve Canadians and achieve our mission. We know this work is ongoing and to create progress, we encourage you to join us in holding ourselves – and each other – accountable.

We welcome your comments on how we can continue to better support all Canadians affected by cancer – no matter their age, gender, identity, race, ethnicity, religion, income, sexual orientation, or where they live.

Prioritizing justice, equity, diversity and inclusion

Over the last year, external experts have collaborated with the CCS leadership team and staff on a process to examine our organization from an inclusion perspective. Based on this consultation, we launched an action plan in March 2021 action plan and have begun implementation Here are some of the key action items:

Short term

  • Confirm action plan and share with staff and stakeholders
  • Determine structure and mandate for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Council
  • Create internal JEDI resource hub
  • Begin in-depth, specialized training for staff
  • Audit and update HR policies and processes with JEDI lens
  • Recognize and create flexibility for time-off for non-Christian holidays

Mid to long term

  • Continue training and education for all staff
  • Create trust and rationale to begin collecting demographic data to understand experiences / gaps
  • Audit specific departments and services with JEDI lens
  • Integrate JEDI into strategic plan and department reporting practices
  • Commit to diversifying organization; supporting Black, Indigenous and people of colour in leadership and in workforce

Engaging and supporting our staff

In July 2020, we began the process of bringing together interested staff members to form a national Diversity and Inclusion Council.

Over 30 employees of diverse identities and geographic locations consulted with external JEDI experts to share their experiences with racism, discrimination and other forms of insensitivities in the workplace. The Council’s input contributed to the identification of themes and patterns that ultimately shaped the JEDI action plan.

Thank you to all Council members.

Members shared critical insights through one-on-one conversations as well as focus groups. They spoke about organizational culture, microaggressions, health inequity and more.Members will be included in the first group of staff to receive JEDI training this June.

Transforming cancer research

Diversity and inclusiveness are strengths – and in research, we know they help drive more impact and innovation that benefits us all.

That’s why we enhanced the Canadian Cancer Society Research Inclusive Excellence Action Plan to better integrate justice, equity, diversity, inclusionand accessibility across our research programs.

This year, we also introduced the first-ever Inclusive Excellence Prize, a new way to honour Canadians who have demonstrated leadership in the advancement of JEDI in cancer research.

Our work is ongoing

Systemic racism impacts the people we serve, the research we fund, and the experiences of employees, volunteers and supporters of the Canadian Cancer Society. There are deep disparities in our communities that we refuse to ignore.

We are working to create change through our everyday actions, our internal and external communications, our imagery, our policies, our partnerships and more. And we welcome your feedback, always.