City of Kitchener Workforce Census Achieves 80% Response Rate
In June of 2019, the City of Kitchener conducted its first-ever workforce census which asked employees to voluntarily answer a series of eight demographic questions intended to help better understand the make-up of its workforce. The questions focused on age, languages spoken, place of birth, Indigenous identity, racial/ethnic background, gender identity, sexual orientation and chronic conditions. On average, 1,766 employees answered each question, which represents an overall response rate of 80%.
Yesterday, the results of the workforce census were shared with City staff and members of the Mayor’s Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. They are now available to the public at links below. In releasing the results, the City made the following statement:
“For some time now, we’ve believed the City of Kitchener’s workforce is not fully reflective of the community we serve – and the data collected through our first-ever workforce census confirms that to be the case.
As a public sector organization, the City of Kitchener has a responsibility to serve everyone in our community. When our employees bring with them a broad diversity of lived experiences and perspectives, our organization is better positioned to make decisions that serve our entire community well.
To be clear, these results are in no way a statement about the quality of our current employees, or their dedication to public service. The results are a statement about the need for us to look very closely at our policies, procedures and practices from an equity-informed perspective.
We are committed to taking action and making meaningful improvements – but we can’t do it alone. We’re not going to make assumptions or jump to conclusions about what changes are needed. We’re going to be deliberate in analyzing data, researching solutions and collaborating with individuals and organizations in our community from whom we have much to learn.
This is exactly why we launched the Mayor’s Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion last year – to support this work and to involve the community in making real and necessary change. In fact, one of the four main elements of the Task Force’s mandate is to explore how to best encourage, maintain and promote an inclusive workplace and diverse workforce. Later this year the Task Force will be undertaking a significant effort to engage many members of our community in this work – especially those who have been traditionally underrepresented or excluded from these processes.
While a lack of representation within the workforce is an issue facing many public and private sector organizations, we are determined to take meaningful action and make real improvements – which is why we conducted our workforce census, launched the Mayor’s Task Force and are releasing these results to the community today.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission encourages this kind of demographic data collection as a means identifying and removing systemic barriers. We are extremely grateful to all of our employees who took the time to complete our census questions. A response rate of 80% is something we can all be extremely proud of. By collecting this information, we now have a baseline of data that can be used to identify potential systemic barriers, prioritize areas for focus and action, and measure the effectiveness of future equity-informed initiatives.”
Mayor Berry Vrbanovic
Councillor Paul Singh, Member of the Mayor’s Task Force on EDI
Councillor Sarah Marsh, Member of the Mayor’s Task Force on EDI
Dan Chapman, Chief Administrative Officer
Michael May, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Project Sponsor for the Mayor’s Task Force on EDI