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What We Heard: “Advocating for an Economy that Works for Everyone” Inclusive Growth Dialogue

What We Heard: “Advocating for an Economy that Works for Everyone” Inclusive Growth Dialogue

Despite Canada being a diverse nation, there’s still work to be done on the part of employers and government to create inclusive workplaces.

Late last year, in partnership with the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce and the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, we hosted our final Inclusive Growth Dialogue in Regina, Sask. While our previous four Dialogues focused on specific topics, to conclude the series, this event covered two main themes: economic reconciliation and DEI and accessibility.

Keynote speakers:

  • Cadmus Delorme, Founder and CEO, OneHoop
  • Thomas Benjoe, Partner, OneHoop, and member of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors


Here are some of the highlights from this important Dialogue:

Diversity in the Workplace

Diversity isn’t just about race but also about varied experiences and identities. Despite Canada being a diverse nation, there’s still work to be done on the part of employers and government to create inclusive workplaces. For instance, there is a need for specific government policies to promote diversity and inclusion as well as support in implementing private-public sector initiatives like the 50-30 Challenge

The Importance of Data

Regularly collecting and reporting data on the needs and challenges of different groups and the current state of diversity and inclusion in the business community is essential to tracking progress, identifying areas for improvement, and informing effective policy updates and resource allocation.

Challenges in Advancing Economic Reconciliation, DEI and Accessibility

Two major challenges stand in the way of advancing meaningful economic reconciliation and DEI and accessibility in workplaces: the need for a mindset shift and lack of resources. Many employers are hesitant to embrace new ways of thinking and doing while others may view DEI efforts as a box to check rather than a genuine commitment. Those who do wish to implement DEI can find it costly and labour intensive, and not all businesses have the knowledge or resources to support desired changes.

Opportunities to Advance Economic Reconciliation, DEI and Accessibility

While considerable challenges remain, addressing them will open new talent pathways, resulting in positive economic outcomes. Solutions do not have to be expensive or difficult, but can look like:

  • Increasing education and awareness about DEI issues to help shift employer and employee mindsets and attitudes.
  • Providing tools and resources to small- and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Ensuring that an organization’s actions align with its stated commitments, leading to more authentic and effective DEI strategies.
  • Engaging with community leaders and organizations to understand employability and talent within underrepresented communities.
  • Making continued and even mandated learning opportunities and efforts to hear and appreciate different worldviews and cultures.
  • Reflect the diversity of the community through inclusive messaging and imagery in marketing.

The Role of Local Communities

Local communities can help level the playing field and better support the economic inclusion of Indigenous and other equity-deserving groups by:

  • Ensuring that housing is affordable, and infrastructure is accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Making public transportation and spaces more accessible and user-friendly for all community members, including those with disabilities.
  • Providing resources and support for mental health and wellbeing.
  • Encouraging participation in local politics and community decision-making processes to ensure diverse voices are heard and considered.
  • Protecting the rights of marginalized groups and advocating for their needs at the local level.
  • Demonstrating positive interactions and inclusivity in community settings.
  • Establishing permanent roles focused on diversity and inclusion and planning for succession.

The Role of Chambers of Commerce

Chambers of commerce can help build bridges, strengthen relationships and increase collaboration between businesses and communities through the following actions:

  • Hosting and participating in events: Organizing regular events and forums to encourage cultural awareness, ongoing dialogue and networking among diverse and/or underrepresented groups and the business community. Attending and supporting community events that celebrate diversity.
  • Providing education and training: Helping employers and employees implement DEI and accessibility in their organizations through education and training on practices like inclusive hiring and diversifying suppliers.
  • Creating advocacy, mentorship and partnership opportunities: Forming partnerships that focus on economic development while prioritizing DEI, advocating for policies that support DEI at local and regional levels, and establishing mentorship programs for underrepresented entrepreneurs and business owners.
  • Celebrating wins: Establishing awards programs to acknowledge businesses that excel in forwarding diversity and inclusion.

About the Inclusive Growth Dialogues

At the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, we believe that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are essential to fairness of opportunity, competitiveness of business, and our nation’s economic growth and prosperity. Our Inclusive Growth initiative advocates for a business environment that works for everyone, paying particular attention to groups of the population that historically and presently face barriers, preventing them from fully participating and thriving in our economy.

The aim of our Inclusive Growth initiative is to mobilize the knowledge and resources of the Canadian Chamber Network to be a strong agent for change. That’s why we co-hosted five Inclusive Growth Dialogues in 2023 in collaboration with the Canadian Chamber Network. Read the What We Heard blogs for the previous events:

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