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Calgary organization provides Alberta’s first workplace EDI hub for employers

Equity, diversity and inclusion will improve innovation and make your business more sustainable, said the director of operations at a Calgary non-profit organization that’s launched Alberta’s first EDI workplace resource centre.

Earlier this week, Gateway Association – Calgary launched their GEDI – Hub. It’s dedicated to providing resources for employers wanting to move the needle on diversity in the workplace.

Sean McEwan, director of operations for Gateway, who expanded to Calgary from Edmonton where they’ve been operating for 25 years, said by 2035, 25 per cent of the workforce will have aged out.

“The replacement workers for that departing group will be new Canadians primarily, as well as underrepresented groups such as Indigenous people, people with disabilities,” he said.

“A lot of employers really struggle with the ‘how-to’ part of equity, diversity and inclusion.”

McEwan the benefits of EDI in the workplace are well documented.

“There’s excellent research to show that diversity brings better problem solving and better adaptation to your team,” he said.

“Innovation, creativity, employee engagement – so many positive impacts of having a diverse and inclusive workplace.”

The GEDI hub

McEwan said they’ve brought together professionals from across Alberta to provide employers with that ‘how-to’ they may be needing.

Their website will offer online resources, virtual workshops, events and direct consultation with businesses.

“This is something that a lot of employers, again, struggle with the ‘how-to’ part,” McEwan said.

“Even seasoned HR professionals seem to struggle with the how-to part of this.”

McEwan said people have put their hands up at human resource conferences asking: “Where can I find Indigenous candidates?” Or, candidates with a disability barrier?

They want to bridge that knowledge gap with the GEDI-Hub.

Further, McEwan said it’s not a political issue or one of quotas. It’s about having a healthy workplace culture and building resilience.

If everyone has a homogenous experience around the table, your organization won’t be as good at problem solving. Different lived experiences add to the richness of perspectives in a business.

The key to successful equity and diversity is also inclusion, McEwan said. Everyone needs to be able to speak up and contribute.

“People need to feel like they are valued, like they are welcome like their thoughts and perspectives are important,” he said.

Calgary and area organizations taking this step are moving towards longer-term sustainability.

“If you want to survive, you probably need to get better at equity, diversity and inclusion,” he said.

For more information visit the Gateway to Diversity website.