Join the conversation and get involved
As Okanagan College continues the strategic planning process, you will see the theme of equity, diversity, inclusion and social justice (EDISJ) being affirmed as a cultural foundation for the institution.
EDISJ values have been inherent in the work of many members of the institution who have contributed through learning and teaching, research, lived personal and professional standards, and through activities such as work with the Positive Space Committee, the Sexual Violence Committee, the Indigenization Task Force, the Mental Health and Wellness Committee, Enactus OC, and so many other initiatives.
Okanagan College is taking the next step in the EDISJ journey to be more intentional in embedding these principles in everything we do. Through this journey, there are opportunities to engage in a variety of conversations and activities to expand awareness of what it means to build our institution’s future where we:
- Commit to grow our understanding of EDISJ and demonstrate how we value diversity in our personal and professional lives as members of the OC learning community;
- Are dedicated to ensuring all feel welcomed, included and have a sense of belonging;
- Recognize and mitigate our bias;
- Embrace diversity and adopt inclusive hiring practices;
- Facilitate inclusive environments;
- Identify barriers to access and inclusion and find ways to eliminate them;
- Understand the role of disability and sustainability in the work of EDISJ;
- Challenge ourselves and each other to be the stewards of global citizenship.
Whether through learning, teaching, mentorship, research or service, we each have a critical role to play. Your stories of experiences, perspectives, efforts and activities are essential to set a course for EDISJ going forward.
Equity is the concept of fairness, acceptance and belonging. In defining equity, the difference between “equality” and “equity” must be emphasized. Although both promote fairness, equality achieves this through treating everyone the same regardless of circumstances. Equity acknowledges systemic power and privilege, and redistributes resources to identify and address the obstacles, barriers and biases that limit access and opportunities. Okanagan College seeks to create conditions that allow everyone to reach their full potential through building confidence and celebrating accomplishments.
Diversity acknowledges that each person is unique and their individual differences are respected. To embrace diversity means we must recognize that personal, cultural and institutionalized discrimination shapes and provides privileges for some while creating and perpetuating disadvantages for others.
Diversity includes different ways of being, ways of knowing and embracing intersecting identities. Okanagan College understands and respects different qualities of lived experiences and cultural expression, as part of our commitment to accessibility.
Inclusion is an organizational effort and practice ensuring different groups and/or individuals having different backgrounds are culturally and socially accepted and welcomed. Inclusion is the full and authentic membership in the Okanagan College community for all people. It is a continuous and ongoing process that requires active participation. This requires the intentional creation of environments where systematically disadvantaged individuals or groups feel welcome, safe, respected and valued in any of their activities and as a part of the community.
Social justice is the recognition that systems were built to perpetuate the power and influence of select groups or individuals and will continue to do so without conscious effort to actively break down these systems. At Okanagan College, all community members are responsible for creating a just organization, where people looking to learn, share and work at the institution can all benefit equitably from these social systems and power structures. Social justice also recognizes that the responsibility for creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive world goes beyond Okanagan College and extends to the community. The call for social justice is answered when Okanagan College’s role as a place of learning and innovation expands to improve the lives of people who face systemic obstacles to full and equal participation in the College and community.
Mental health supports
We recognize that engaging with EDISJ topics and activities may be challenging for members of the OC Community. If you need support, please don’t hesitate to reach out:.
The KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a First Nations and Indigenous specific crisis line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free from anywhere in British Columbia. The KUU-US Crisis Line can be reached toll-free at 1-800-588-8717. Alternatively, you can call directly into the Youth Line at 250-723-2040 or the Adult Line at 250-723-4050, or online: https://www.kuu-uscrisisline.com/.
Employees can access support through the College’s Employee and Family Assistance program (EFAP).
Advocating for social justice
- Centre for Global Inclusion
- Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI)
- Rick Hansen Foundation
- Egale – Equal Not Other
- Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019–2022
- In Plain Sight Report
- Truth and Reconciliation Comission's Calls to Action
- Kelowna Community Resources
- 4 Seasons of Reconciliation
Become an ambassador
OC is looking for students, faculty, instructors and staff to participate in the College's commitment to EDISJ. Receive valuable training in exchange for one meeting a month and lend your strengths to working group tasks to support positive change.
EDISJ at OC will periodically offer the opportunity for members of the Okanagan College Community to participate in workshops that can increase your knowledge about EDISJ topics or provide you with the skills to navigate unfamiliar situations.
Provide your input
If you have any comments or concerns regarding EDISJ at Okanagan College please share your thoughts by using the button below.