Headshots of Rich Prophet, RTOERO Chair and Jim Grieve, RTOERO CEO

Canada: Much to appreciate, more to learn

by Jim Grieve RTOERO CEO

Returning to Canada from a trip and playing in a band are, for me, directly connected. I love traveling and experiencing other cultures, but there is no greater feeling than returning home. We take for granted how fortunate we are to live in a country where so many can thrive.

That said, a place where not everyone can thrive is woefully imperfect. Too many Canadian voices are silenced, ignored and undervalued. Our RTOERO collective commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) deserves continuous learning and sustained positive action.

Playing in a band or singing in a choir with others who have different musical backgrounds, vocal ranges and musical abilities seems to be a good metaphor for advancing our understanding about DEI. Having a deeper understanding of DEI means making sure that all those different talents and voices are included, heard and able to contribute to a memorable performance.

In our Strategic Plan 2025, RTOERO members, along with our board of directors, committees, district leaders and professional staff, have committed to deepening our personal understanding of DEI and leading with these principles in mind.

Pre-pandemic, RTOERO staff completed a four-part DEI awareness training program with a skilled facilitator. Every monthly staff meeting features a DEI portion of the agenda, which is dedicated to powerful conversations designed to stretch each individual’s understanding of the concepts and help every member reflect on personal bias and unconscious privilege. We are each committed to making a positive difference through these reflections.

In 2021, the first year of our five-year plan, the imperative is to introduce DEI self-assessment tools and awareness training to members of the RTOERO board of directors, committees and district executives.

We know that in order to create harmony, we have to include and honour all Canadian voices — especially those of Black people, Indigenous people, people of colour and members of LGBTQ2I communities, who, for too long, have been silenced, ignored and undervalued.

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