As a commitment to inclusive diversity and the championing of anti-oppressive education, which were priorities identified in their 2020/2021-2025/2026 strategic plan, Lambton Kent District School Board (LKDSB) voluntarily hired a consultant to conduct a Human Resources Equity Audit (Equity Audit).
“This is one, early but important step in a long journey towards becoming the most equitable workplace that we can be," explains Gary Girardi, LKDSB Superintendent - Human Resources & Safe Schools. “We want the decisions that we make to be data-informed, and a 3rd party equity audit that allows the opportunity for consultation with our own employees is a way we can ensure that that is happening."
An Equity Audit consists of a comprehensive review of written and unwritten, formal and informal employment policies, practices, and procedures that identify and make recommendations for the removal of systemic/institutional, cultural, and attitudinal barriers to equitable policies and practices, a diverse workforce, and an inclusive work environment. These audits provide an organization with information on what is working well and what requires improvement so that it can build on its strengths and remove the identified barriers.
Through the LKDSB's Equity Audit, a number of priorities were identified. Belonging to each of these priorities were corresponding recommendations to address any identified barriers and gaps, increase diversity, develop equitable policies and practices, and create a truly inclusive organization. In addition, several goals, supporting action items and expected outcomes, which champion equity and inclusion, are included in the LKDSB 2023-2024 Operational Plan, a guiding document that addresses significant areas of growth and opportunity to better the organization.
“We look forward to enhancing what our staff assert that we are already doing well, and we are also committed to addressing the areas of concern which have been voiced," states Girardi. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, but it is important work and we are thoroughly invested in this process."
Benefits of the Equity Audit are vast, but include increased student success and well-being, strengthened employee relations, and improved job satisfaction and productivity.
“There are real benefits for a diverse workforce," states John Howitt, LKDSB Director of Education. “Our students, staff and families, as well as our potential students, staff and families deserve to belong to schools and facilities where they feel safe, represented, valued and supported. When that happens, everyone wins!"
For more information on LKDSB's Strategic Plan, Equity Action Plan, and Operations Plan, please visit LKDSB's website.