Montreal: Let’s Build Inclusive Cities

May 4th, 2017

Gain insights from our international panel on building inclusive cities at the 19th National Metropolis Conference 2017 in Montreal.

On March 16-18, 2017, the 19th National Metropolis Conference took place in Montreal. Under the theme, “Looking Forward: Migration and Mobility 2017 and Beyond”, over 750 national and city leaders, academics, and practitioners gathered to engage in dialogue on migration.

Cities of Migration co-hosted a workshop on “Inclusive City Building” with the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. While addressing the challenging state of migration work globally, our robust international panel shared strategies and tools to help build inclusive cities from the ground up.

Hannah Carswell, a Project Manager of Welcoming America’s Welcoming Refugees Project, introduced Welcoming America’s certification standard which drives partnership between the local government and non-profit sector. Aleem Ali, National Manager of Wecloming Cities, joined us from Australia to share The Australian Standard for Welcoming Cities that aims to enable local councils to benchmark their cultural diversity and inclusion policies and practices. Cynthia Lacasse, a Programme Officer for the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination, highlights the initiative as a network of city partners that work toward the elimination of racial discrimination. Lacasse invites invites everyone to build awareness about racism and discrimination and the role we all have to play in eliminating it by participating in the Canadian Commission for UNESCO’s nationwide social media campaign.

Vera Dodic, Manager of the Toronto Newcomer Office, discussed their partnership with Euro cities and introduced great ideas, such as the Toronto for all campaign to spread awareness, challenge stereotypes, and debunk myths about immigrants, fostering social cohesion at the local level. Jeny Mathews-Thusoo, an Issue Strategist on Immigrant Inclusion for the City of Calgary, elaborated on the city’s Welcoming Community Policy and the role of the local government to create an inclusive city where people can fully participate in civic life. Cassie Palamar joined us from The Alberta Human Rights Commission to share its Welcoming and Inclusive Communities network, showcasing the value of communities working together and connecting on issues of diversity and inclusion to leverage assets.

4 takeaways:

  • Recognize the role of the city as a key player for integration
  • Organize as many stakeholders invested in promoting diversity and inclusion
  • Use your individual agency to help spread awareness
  • “What gets measured gets done”; engage in standards to track diversity and inclusion in your city

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