EDI > EDI Background
The concept of equity, diversity and inclusion encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing individual differences in terms of; race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, marital status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. The goal of the MHPS is to support these differences in a safe and positive environment. Doing so will create a success-oriented and cooperative environment that draws strength and produces innovative solutions from the synergy of its people.
Equity, diversity and inclusion means more than just acknowledging and/or tolerating difference. EDI is a set of conscious practices that involve:
- Practicing mutual respect for qualities and experiences that are different;
- Understanding that diversity includes not only ways of being but also ways of knowing;
- Recognizing that personal, cultural and institutionalized discrimination creates and sustains privileges for some while creating and sustaining disadvantages for others;
- Building alliances across differences so that we can work together to address all forms of discrimination.
- Recognizing and valuing differences
The belief that an EDI culture creates a stronger organization that is more resilient and responsive to the needs of the community is not a new concept to the MHPS. In the fall of 2016, as planning began for the 2017 recruitment and 2018 police cadet training began, the Office of the Chief initiated a process to survey staff internally with a goal to identify and remove barriers that exist.
A Diversity Plan released to the community in September 2017 included deliverables relating to; training on human rights legislation, respectful workplaces and implicit bias. Following a review of internal policies and procedures by the CMHHR and an external consultant, updates were made to ensure language was unbiased, free from barriers and reflected gender neutrality. There have also been several procedural changes made to enhance communication and transparency around internal processes, including recruitment and promotional processes, which now involves the CMHHR and a representative from an external law enforcement agency, in all stages of the process as well as the development of a training matrix to outline a clear pathway for career advancement.
In the fall of 2018 and 2019 the MHPS held professional development days for all staff with guest speakers to highlight the importance of designing culture with intention, an appreciation of change management, respecting personal differences, and Indigenous awareness. The MHPS also conducted a review of internal fitness testing procedures with an EDI lens to ensure fairness and equity in physical testing standards. Unconscious bias training for all staff has deepened their understanding of unconscious bias and how behavior is influenced. In addition, the MHPS completed a review by an external contractor of all internal policies and procedures to determine if any pre-existing barriers. The results of this internal audit resulted in system changes and policy amendments.
Upon commencing his duties as Chief of Police in January 2021, Chief Worden engaged with the employees of the MHPS and the results of that engagement review were used to support the development of this strategic plan.
Externally, the MHPS has worked closely with community partners to develop collaborative approaches to address complex social issues such as addictions and mental health crisis response, family abuse, and have tried to connect with multicultural groups in the community. Reviews of programs and practices have been completed to draw knowledge and experience from successful evidence-based initiatives.
The Medicine Hat Police Commission has been updated and involved in each step of the previous diversity and inclusion efforts and was included as a primary stakeholder in the development of the current strategy.
The 2021-2022 Strategic Plan will continue on the path towards a goal of equity, diversity and inclusion. The strategy identifies two themes for action and demonstrates that working towards equity, diversity and inclusion is a continual process that must be employee centred and action plan driven to ensure success.