OPP’s Inclusion Journey.

OPP’s Inclusion Journey

By: Renee Hannes, Manager, Staffing Program Development Unit

Published: January 7, 2015

All police services share the common belief that we must work collaboratively to deliver programs and services that are responsive and respectful of the people we serve. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) works tirelessly to earn the public’s trust and confidence, through service excellence, and to be the employer of choice – both goals made achievable through concerted efforts to ensure that inclusion and diversity are the pillars of all programs.

The journey to inclusion must be a continuous and deliberate journey – one that celebrates each small incremental change that helps us to strengthen our efforts in valuing others, respecting the differences among us, and accepting and welcoming the diversity of the people that we serve.

Research tells us time and time again that diversity increases an organization’s effectiveness as it drives innovation and creative problem solving. We know that diversity is vital to an organization, but diversity alone is not enough.

An entire workforce with the same education, the same background and the same experiences, are likely to have similar thoughts, ideas and perspectives, and will miss out on the diverse perspectives that are relevant to and impact on our delivery of services

From another perspective, a diverse organization that reflects the demographics of the population, but fails to welcome or value or respect those individual will fail to engage this rich source of input and commitment. Ensuring that all members are included in shaping our workforce and services we provide is what inclusion is all about. Creating that inclusive work environment means employees will feel comfortable in bringing their whole selves to work each and every day.

Organizations need diversity to harness their full potential, but that full potential will not be reached without inclusion. The OPP has a strategy to accomplish this with the implementation of the 2014-2016 Inclusion Strategy, which is guided by the following principles:

•Self-awareness is the key to inclusivity

•Sustain an environment that supports the dignity, self-esteem and fair treatment of everyone

•Differences are celebrated

•Diversity and inclusion are sources of strength and enrichment

Cultural change takes time and can be hard. The OPP relies upon the support and the commitment of all its members moving in that right direction. There are four key strategies to help drive our concentrated efforts over the next two years:

1. Trusted Leadership

2. Behavioural and Cultural Transformation

3. Mainstreaming and Integrating Inclusion

4. Measurement, Evaluation, and Reporting

 

The Commissioner’s Inclusion Council (CIC) was formed in 2014 to support the execution of these strategies. The CIC utilizes the leadership of 9 senior members selected by the Commissioner and his executive team. The CIC provides leadership, strategic direction, expertise and oversight to the organization by identifying issues, sharing information, engaging in discussion, and setting priorities for implementation.

Knowing that self-awareness is critical, the CIC has spent the last several months increasing their understanding of where we have been, where we are and where we want to be. Our workforce reports and academia research have been an excellent starting point to uncover those challenges and explore opportunities. Conducting this environmental scan has been a very meaningful step in the journey.

Holding the belief that differences and successes must be celebrated, 2014 marks the 40th anniversary of women joining the front-line ranks of the OPP, a milestone that must be honoured. Initiatives are planned across the province to mark this significant point in our journey, with the purpose of increasing the awareness, honouring the past achievements and inspiring others. Like all police services, we face the reality and challenge that policing is still a male-dominated career choice in this country and therefore women are under-represented at all ranks.

As the OPP moves from recognizing and respecting our differences into a fully inclusive organization, we will continue to celebrate small and incremental changes that will allow members to reach their full potential. We hope to inspire change and engage our members in that change, as we work collaboratively on unlocking the organization’s full potential.