EDISJ at OC

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.  

Now, Okanagan College takes the next step in the EDISJ journey to be more intentional in embedding these principles in everything we do. Over the weeks and months to come there will be 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.

Definitions

Equity

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

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

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

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: 

Students can visit the Counselling Services page to connect with a Counsellor at OC. You can also access mental health support 24/7 via the Province’s Here2Talk resource.  

Employees can access support through the College’s Employee and Family Assistance program (EFAP). 

Ways to get involved

Okanagan College Employee Survey 2022

Employees will receive an email with a confidential link to a survey about your experience of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice at Okanagan College. You are encouraged to read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to familiarize yourselves with the survey, its purpose and how data will be collected and used.

All Okanagan College employees are asked to complete the survey. The information collected will help understand the diversity of our workforce and employees’ experiences of inclusion. This information will help us identify and develop specific programs, policies, and practices to achieve the goal of a more inclusive College community.

Thank you to everyone for your time and participation.

FAQs

The OC Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice (EDISJ) Survey is our method used to measure the diversity and inclusion in the OC workforce.

The Office of Institutional Research is administering the survey. It will follow regulations in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act BC and the OC Protection of Privacy Policy in order to protect your privacy and the privacy of all who participate.

All full-time and part-time continuing and term employees. Everyone invited will be sent an email by Institutional Research with a secure unique link to access the survey. 

Approximately 10-15 minutes.

This survey will help us better understand and support our employees and help pinpoint areas for potential change and improvement for employees. The results of this confidential and anonymous survey will provide a snapshot of our workforce through demographic representation, experiences of inclusion and additional criteria.  The data will be used to evaluate current practices, identify next steps and inform the EDISJ Action Plan.

The online survey will be available from May 19 to June 29, 2022.

Yes.

The EDISJ Survey is completely confidential and anonymous. OC takes your privacy very seriously and has ensured compliance with privacy laws and OC’s Protection of Privacy Policy.

All information you provide will be analyzed by the Office of Institutional Research and will not be visible to any other party. Only aggregated data will be provided to the EDISJ Project Group and OC Executive Team.  This means that your responses will be combined with other employees’ responses and only collective results will be shared. 

You are the only person who can see your individual responses to the EDISJ online survey. At no time will any person from OC be able to identify how any specific individual has responded to questions.

Questions about privacy: If you have any questions about privacy and the protection of personal information at OC please contact privacy@okanagan.bc.ca

The combined responses will be provided in a report to the EDISJ Project Group in August/September. This report will be used in conjunction with information collected through an EDISJ benchmarking exercise to develop an EDISJ Action Plan.  The EDISJ Action Plan will identify strategies and actions to create a more inclusive organization.  This plan and recommendations will be presented to Leadership Council in Fall 2022.

The survey is voluntary, but we hope that you will participate because your voice matters. By participating you help inform a more complete picture of the diversity of our workforce and assist in determining what new programs, policies and/or practices need to be developed and implemented.

If you participate in the survey but there is something you do not wish to respond to, you can select “prefer not to answer” and continue on to complete the rest of the survey. Click “submit” at the end to complete the survey.

An answer must be provided for each question, even if that answer is “prefer not to answer.” You MUST click "submit” at the very end of the survey to be complete.

There are two types of questions on the EDISJ Survey.

One set of questions asks you to provide information about your identity These questions include: age, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.

The second category of questions asks you about your feelings of inclusion.  For example: “Are you treated with respect at OC?”.

Collecting data from these questions will provide a picture of the diversity within OC. It may also help us identify  and better understand which groups feel more included than others.

People have many different ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, abilities and genders. In our society, people experience discrimination on these and other grounds.

Understanding the scope of our diversity will allow us to continue to build a work environment that is inclusive for everyone. If there are any questions you do not want to answer, simply fill in as much as you choose or select the ”prefer not to answer” option. Remember that all your answers are confidential and anonymous.

Individuals can and should self-identify in relation to all dimensions covered by the questionnaire. Some questions allow individuals to select more than one response whereas others, for data integrity and reportability reasons, limit individuals to one response option.

The gender identity question asks you to indicate the identity (or term) that best describes you at the present time. The question does not ask about sex assigned at birth or sexual orientation.

"Gender identity" refers to a person’s internal sense of being a woman, man, both, neither or somewhere along the gender spectrum. It influences how people perceive themselves and each other, how they act and interact, and the distribution of power and resources in society. This question recognizes that gender identity can change over time.

The sexual orientation question asks you to select how you currently identify.

The response options for this question are defined as follows:

  • Asexual refers to a person who identifies as feeling very little or no sexual desire.
  • Bisexual refers to a person who identifies as being sexually attracted to people of their sex and/or gender and people of a different sex and/or gender.
  • Homosexual refers to a person who identifies as being sexually attracted to people of their sex and/or gender.
  • Heterosexual refers to a person who identifies as sexually attracted to people of a different sex and/or gender.
  • Pansexual refers to a person who identifies as being sexually attracted to another person regardless of their sex or gender.
  • Queer refers to a person whose sexual orientation differs from the normative binary vision of sexuality.

The disability question asks you to indicate whether you personally identify as having a disability, according to the definition provided by the Accessible Canada Act. According to the Act, disability means any impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment—or a functional limitation—whether permanent, temporary or episodic in nature, or evident or not, that in interaction with a barrier, hinders a person’s full and equal participation in society. You may select all categories that apply.

The EDISJ initiative is currently being led by the Vice President Students office with support from Human Resources, College Relations and two administrators. The project group is enhanced by over 40 volunteers who have taken on roles as EDISJ Ambassadors for the College. An EDISJ Advisor position is under development.  If you are interested in participating as an ambassador, or you have additional questions about this survey, please send an email to EDISJ@okanagan.bc.ca.

EDISJ workshops

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. 

If you are interested in participating fill out the form below!

Name
Be specific so we can influence future training opportunities to address your needs.

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