Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Anti-Racism (IDEA)

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Introducing the IDEA Advisory Group!

The District of Muskoka is pleased to introduce Muskoka District Council's IDEA Advisory Group (IAG)! For brief bios of members, see the IAG Advisory Group Profile posted under Documents on the right-hand side of this project page.

The purpose of the District’s IAG is to:

  1. Provide advice and make recommendations to District Council to support it in its goal to become a more inclusive, diverse, equitable and anti-racist community;
  2. Create opportunities for community engagement and public education to advance the goals of IDEA;
  3. Educate itself and its members on issues related to IDEA; and
  4. Promote the goals of IDEA to the Muskoka community at large.

The IAG totals 26 members and is comprised of two committees:

1. The Champions Committee, is made up of 15 Muskoka residents with a personal commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and anti-racism. The majority of members (13) have lived experience of discrimination and two (2) members are committed to the IDEA principles, and have experiences and expertise to help inform discussions and decisions. Permanent, seasonal and newly-arrived residents are represented on the Champions Committee.

2. The Partners Committee, is made up of 11 Muskoka-based agency partners who are themselves committed to enacting the IDEA principles in their own organizations, as well as in the community. In total, the Partners Committee includes 13 members, as two organizations have a shared seat. Agency Partners are dispersed geographically across most of Muskoka and include:

  • • Gravenhurst Trinity United Church;
  • • Community Living Huntsville;
  • • Muskoka Algonquin Health Care;
  • • Ontario Provincial Police (Bracebridge and Huntsville Detachments);
  • • Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce;
  • • Township of Muskoka Lakes;
  • • Muskoka Pride;
  • • Muskoka YWCA;
  • • Cottage Country and Algonquin Family Health Teams;
  • • The Monarch Performing Arts Studio; and
  • • Royal Bank of Canada (Huntsville branch).

Final IDEA Community Report and IDEA Advisory Group

The IDEA Community Report is now finalized and attached on the right-hand column of this page under Documents (IDEA Community Report FINAL). Thanks to everyone who provided feedback!

The IDEA Advisory Group is also kicking-off and will be using the final report to make decisions about next steps in building a Community Action Plan.

Check back soon to meet the members of the IDEA Advisory Group (IAG)!


Public Comment On Muskoka Community IDEA Interim Report (Public Comment Period Now Closed)

Good news! The Muskoka Community IDEA Interim Report is here! It can be found linked to the right hand side of this page under Documents.

After input from 570 community surveys, 50 focus group participants, and 10 hours of one-on-one interviews, we have heard what Muskokans have to say about Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Anti-racism in Muskoka.

Before we launch the IDEA Advisory Group and draft an IDEA Community Action Plan, we are seeking public comment on the Muskoka Community IDEA Interim Report which outlines findings for all of Muskoka:

Take a look and let us know what you think:

  • Do you agree with what was captured?
  • Are you surprised?
  • Is there anything we missed?
  • Did we focus on any one aspect too much?
  • Did you still want to share a personal experience?

It’s not too late to be heard! Send your feedback via email to tina.kilbourne@muskoka.on.ca with the subject heading: Feedback on the Muskoka Community IDEA Interim Report.

This report will be posted for public comment until March 19, 2021.


IDEA Advisory Group (Call for Expressions of Interest Now Closed)

The District Municipality of Muskoka (District) wants to create a community that is inclusive, diverse, equitable and anti-racist, and is one in which all residents have equal opportunity for positive educational, financial, social and health outcomes. That is why on June 15 2020 Muskoka District Council unanimously voted to form an IDEA Advisory Group and have staff work on creating a Community IDEA Action Plan that seeks to promote and celebrate diversity, as well promote opportunities for dialogue, strengthen relationships and combat systemic racism.

Overview of the Position:
To help finalize and guide the execution of the Community IDEA Action Plan, plan for future initiatives, supports and services that embrace IDEA, and act as an advisory body for Muskoka District Council, the District is inviting community members and representatives from agency partners to sit on an IDEA Advisory Group.

The IDEA Advisory Group will be made up of two committees:

  • The Champions Committee, the larger of the two committees, will be made up of Muskoka residents with a personal commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and anti-racism. The majority of members will have lived experience of discrimination but there will also be an opportunity for a limited number of committed Muskoka residents without lived experience to be included.
  • The Partners Committee, the smaller of the two committees, will be made up of representatives from Muskoka-based agency partners who are themselves committed to enacting the IDEA principles in their own organizations, as well as the community.

While the two committees will meet separately for the majority of the time, they will also come together at times to form the overarching, IDEA Advisory Group.

What We are Looking For:
The District is looking for community members, as well as representatives from agency partners, to sit on the IDEA Advisory Group. Qualifications are outlined below.

Individuals must:

  • Be residents of Muskoka (e.g. year-round or seasonal);
  • Be committed to the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity and anti-racism, as well as to making them a reality in Muskoka;
  • Have lived experience of discrimination or identify as a member of a protected group as defined in the Ontario Human Rights Code (Or, if you do not have lived experience of discrimination or identify as a member of a protected group as defined in the Ontario Human Rights Code, you must be passionate about the work); and
  • Have experience working on committees and/or implementing IDEA practices (preferable).

Representatives from Agency Partners must:

  • Work or volunteer for a community agency that is based in, or has a physical presence in, Muskoka; and
  • Have experience working on committees and/or implementing IDEA practices;

And, further, the Agency Partner must:

  • Have existing practices, policies and procedures to ensure an organizational commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and anti-racism that are reviewed on a regular basis; and
  • Be willing to endorse and promote the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity and anti-racism in their own organization, as well as in the community.

How to Express Your Interest:
To submit an ‘expression of interest’ you can fill out an expression of interest form (download from the righthand side of this page under DOCUMENTS), or write a letter or submit a short video outlining the same information asked for in the expression of interest form.

- Champions Committee EOI Form

- Partners Committee EOI Form

All expressions of interest can be sent to Tina Kilbourne, CIU Team Lead, District Municipality of Muskoka.

If you require any assistance in the expression of interest process, please contact Tina Kilbourne by email at tina.kilbourne@muskoka.on.ca or by calling 705-645-2412 x 4308.

The deadline to express an interest in this opportunity was February 19, 2021 at 12:00 Noon.

Selection Process and Next Steps:
Expressions of interest will be reviewed by a committee made up of District staff and IDEA specialists. If required, candidates may be contacted for more information or a follow-up conversation. All candidates will be notified of the results of the selection process by March 12, 2021.

Terms of Reference:
To review the DRAFT Terms of Reference for the IDEA Advisory Group, please go to the righthand side of this page under DOCUMENTS.


Gift Card Winners!

We are pleased to announce the following participants won the survey incentive gift cards:

  • Christine Cowley
  • Lisa Carswell
  • Ruth Nishikawa
  • Shane Copegog

Congratulations to all!


Community Survey

The District Municipality of Muskoka (District or DMM) wants all residents to have equal opportunity for positive educational, financial, social and health outcomes. That is why the mission statement of the Muskoka District Council includes a promise to work together to enhance the inclusiveness of our community.

An inclusive community is one that:

  • Is rich in people who differ in all the many ways people can differ.
  • Provides equal opportunity for all people to thrive.
  • Gives all citizens full access to resources and opportunity, and involves them in decisions that affect their lives.
  • Actively opposes racism and discrimination by advocating for changes in political, economic, and social life.

We know that Muskoka has its challenges. To better understand these challenges, the District held a survey as the first step in a series of community engagement activities. These activities provide a chance for residents to share their experiences, concerns and be heard. In turn, this information will provide the basis for a community action plan.

The survey was open until December 8. If you feel like you would still like to provide input, please connect with Tina Kilbourne under "Who's Listening".

In the meantime, survey results are being compiled and analyzed and focus groups are underway.

Please check back for updates!


Background Information

A community's social fabric and economic prosperity is enhanced when it is committed to the dignity of every human being and demands all residents have equal opportunity for positive educational, financial, social and health outcomes. That is why, in its mission statement, Muskoka’s District Council recognizes the need to work together to "enhance the inclusiveness of our caring community”.

That is also why, on June 15 2020, District Council passed an unanimous resolution and directed staff to explore the best practices, programs, initiatives and tools that work to promote and celebrate diversity, as well promote opportunities for dialogue, strengthen relationships and combat systemic racism.

According to the 2016 Census, more than 13% of Muskoka’s permanent population (the Census does not enumerate seasonal residents or second home owners) identified as an immigrant, a visible minority or of Aboriginal identity. While the District of Muskoka has undertaken important work in the areas of inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility, it is now taking a number of important steps to do more, and to connect with and learn from community members.

Key Steps for Muskoka

1. Needs and Gap Analysis through Staff and Community Engagement

  • Based on the experiences of other municipalities it is important to look both inward and outward when embarking on IDEA work. The District started by engaging with racialized, immigrant and minority District staff to better understand their experiences and to ensure the District truly is a workplace free from discrimination, and an employer that embraces and celebrates diversity.
  • Anecdotally, the District has learned that being a visible minority in Muskoka has its challenges. To better understand the scope and nature of these challenges, the District developed and launched a broad community engagement strategy to ensure those who want to share experiences and be heard had the opportunity to connect through a variety of channels, including surveys, focus groups and one-on-one discussions.

2. Muskoka-wide IDEA Action Plan

  • Using the information collected from other municipal action plans, along with the information collected through the staff and community engagement activities, the District is developing a Community IDEA Action Plan, including scope, to be approved by District Council.

3. IDEA Advisory Group

  • To help finalize and guide the execution of a Muskoka-wide IDEA Action Plan, plan for future initiatives, supports and services, and act as an advisory body for District Council, the District is inviting community members and other stakeholders to sit on a community-focused, skills-based advisory group. If you are interested in learning more about the IDEA Advisory Group, please contact Tina Kilbourne as listed under 'Who's Listening"?

Introducing the IDEA Advisory Group!

The District of Muskoka is pleased to introduce Muskoka District Council's IDEA Advisory Group (IAG)! For brief bios of members, see the IAG Advisory Group Profile posted under Documents on the right-hand side of this project page.

The purpose of the District’s IAG is to:

  1. Provide advice and make recommendations to District Council to support it in its goal to become a more inclusive, diverse, equitable and anti-racist community;
  2. Create opportunities for community engagement and public education to advance the goals of IDEA;
  3. Educate itself and its members on issues related to IDEA; and
  4. Promote the goals of IDEA to the Muskoka community at large.

The IAG totals 26 members and is comprised of two committees:

1. The Champions Committee, is made up of 15 Muskoka residents with a personal commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and anti-racism. The majority of members (13) have lived experience of discrimination and two (2) members are committed to the IDEA principles, and have experiences and expertise to help inform discussions and decisions. Permanent, seasonal and newly-arrived residents are represented on the Champions Committee.

2. The Partners Committee, is made up of 11 Muskoka-based agency partners who are themselves committed to enacting the IDEA principles in their own organizations, as well as in the community. In total, the Partners Committee includes 13 members, as two organizations have a shared seat. Agency Partners are dispersed geographically across most of Muskoka and include:

  • • Gravenhurst Trinity United Church;
  • • Community Living Huntsville;
  • • Muskoka Algonquin Health Care;
  • • Ontario Provincial Police (Bracebridge and Huntsville Detachments);
  • • Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce;
  • • Township of Muskoka Lakes;
  • • Muskoka Pride;
  • • Muskoka YWCA;
  • • Cottage Country and Algonquin Family Health Teams;
  • • The Monarch Performing Arts Studio; and
  • • Royal Bank of Canada (Huntsville branch).

Final IDEA Community Report and IDEA Advisory Group

The IDEA Community Report is now finalized and attached on the right-hand column of this page under Documents (IDEA Community Report FINAL). Thanks to everyone who provided feedback!

The IDEA Advisory Group is also kicking-off and will be using the final report to make decisions about next steps in building a Community Action Plan.

Check back soon to meet the members of the IDEA Advisory Group (IAG)!


Public Comment On Muskoka Community IDEA Interim Report (Public Comment Period Now Closed)

Good news! The Muskoka Community IDEA Interim Report is here! It can be found linked to the right hand side of this page under Documents.

After input from 570 community surveys, 50 focus group participants, and 10 hours of one-on-one interviews, we have heard what Muskokans have to say about Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Anti-racism in Muskoka.

Before we launch the IDEA Advisory Group and draft an IDEA Community Action Plan, we are seeking public comment on the Muskoka Community IDEA Interim Report which outlines findings for all of Muskoka:

Take a look and let us know what you think:

  • Do you agree with what was captured?
  • Are you surprised?
  • Is there anything we missed?
  • Did we focus on any one aspect too much?
  • Did you still want to share a personal experience?

It’s not too late to be heard! Send your feedback via email to tina.kilbourne@muskoka.on.ca with the subject heading: Feedback on the Muskoka Community IDEA Interim Report.

This report will be posted for public comment until March 19, 2021.


IDEA Advisory Group (Call for Expressions of Interest Now Closed)

The District Municipality of Muskoka (District) wants to create a community that is inclusive, diverse, equitable and anti-racist, and is one in which all residents have equal opportunity for positive educational, financial, social and health outcomes. That is why on June 15 2020 Muskoka District Council unanimously voted to form an IDEA Advisory Group and have staff work on creating a Community IDEA Action Plan that seeks to promote and celebrate diversity, as well promote opportunities for dialogue, strengthen relationships and combat systemic racism.

Overview of the Position:
To help finalize and guide the execution of the Community IDEA Action Plan, plan for future initiatives, supports and services that embrace IDEA, and act as an advisory body for Muskoka District Council, the District is inviting community members and representatives from agency partners to sit on an IDEA Advisory Group.

The IDEA Advisory Group will be made up of two committees:

  • The Champions Committee, the larger of the two committees, will be made up of Muskoka residents with a personal commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and anti-racism. The majority of members will have lived experience of discrimination but there will also be an opportunity for a limited number of committed Muskoka residents without lived experience to be included.
  • The Partners Committee, the smaller of the two committees, will be made up of representatives from Muskoka-based agency partners who are themselves committed to enacting the IDEA principles in their own organizations, as well as the community.

While the two committees will meet separately for the majority of the time, they will also come together at times to form the overarching, IDEA Advisory Group.

What We are Looking For:
The District is looking for community members, as well as representatives from agency partners, to sit on the IDEA Advisory Group. Qualifications are outlined below.

Individuals must:

  • Be residents of Muskoka (e.g. year-round or seasonal);
  • Be committed to the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity and anti-racism, as well as to making them a reality in Muskoka;
  • Have lived experience of discrimination or identify as a member of a protected group as defined in the Ontario Human Rights Code (Or, if you do not have lived experience of discrimination or identify as a member of a protected group as defined in the Ontario Human Rights Code, you must be passionate about the work); and
  • Have experience working on committees and/or implementing IDEA practices (preferable).

Representatives from Agency Partners must:

  • Work or volunteer for a community agency that is based in, or has a physical presence in, Muskoka; and
  • Have experience working on committees and/or implementing IDEA practices;

And, further, the Agency Partner must:

  • Have existing practices, policies and procedures to ensure an organizational commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and anti-racism that are reviewed on a regular basis; and
  • Be willing to endorse and promote the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity and anti-racism in their own organization, as well as in the community.

How to Express Your Interest:
To submit an ‘expression of interest’ you can fill out an expression of interest form (download from the righthand side of this page under DOCUMENTS), or write a letter or submit a short video outlining the same information asked for in the expression of interest form.

- Champions Committee EOI Form

- Partners Committee EOI Form

All expressions of interest can be sent to Tina Kilbourne, CIU Team Lead, District Municipality of Muskoka.

If you require any assistance in the expression of interest process, please contact Tina Kilbourne by email at tina.kilbourne@muskoka.on.ca or by calling 705-645-2412 x 4308.

The deadline to express an interest in this opportunity was February 19, 2021 at 12:00 Noon.

Selection Process and Next Steps:
Expressions of interest will be reviewed by a committee made up of District staff and IDEA specialists. If required, candidates may be contacted for more information or a follow-up conversation. All candidates will be notified of the results of the selection process by March 12, 2021.

Terms of Reference:
To review the DRAFT Terms of Reference for the IDEA Advisory Group, please go to the righthand side of this page under DOCUMENTS.


Gift Card Winners!

We are pleased to announce the following participants won the survey incentive gift cards:

  • Christine Cowley
  • Lisa Carswell
  • Ruth Nishikawa
  • Shane Copegog

Congratulations to all!


Community Survey

The District Municipality of Muskoka (District or DMM) wants all residents to have equal opportunity for positive educational, financial, social and health outcomes. That is why the mission statement of the Muskoka District Council includes a promise to work together to enhance the inclusiveness of our community.

An inclusive community is one that:

  • Is rich in people who differ in all the many ways people can differ.
  • Provides equal opportunity for all people to thrive.
  • Gives all citizens full access to resources and opportunity, and involves them in decisions that affect their lives.
  • Actively opposes racism and discrimination by advocating for changes in political, economic, and social life.

We know that Muskoka has its challenges. To better understand these challenges, the District held a survey as the first step in a series of community engagement activities. These activities provide a chance for residents to share their experiences, concerns and be heard. In turn, this information will provide the basis for a community action plan.

The survey was open until December 8. If you feel like you would still like to provide input, please connect with Tina Kilbourne under "Who's Listening".

In the meantime, survey results are being compiled and analyzed and focus groups are underway.

Please check back for updates!


Background Information

A community's social fabric and economic prosperity is enhanced when it is committed to the dignity of every human being and demands all residents have equal opportunity for positive educational, financial, social and health outcomes. That is why, in its mission statement, Muskoka’s District Council recognizes the need to work together to "enhance the inclusiveness of our caring community”.

That is also why, on June 15 2020, District Council passed an unanimous resolution and directed staff to explore the best practices, programs, initiatives and tools that work to promote and celebrate diversity, as well promote opportunities for dialogue, strengthen relationships and combat systemic racism.

According to the 2016 Census, more than 13% of Muskoka’s permanent population (the Census does not enumerate seasonal residents or second home owners) identified as an immigrant, a visible minority or of Aboriginal identity. While the District of Muskoka has undertaken important work in the areas of inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility, it is now taking a number of important steps to do more, and to connect with and learn from community members.

Key Steps for Muskoka

1. Needs and Gap Analysis through Staff and Community Engagement

  • Based on the experiences of other municipalities it is important to look both inward and outward when embarking on IDEA work. The District started by engaging with racialized, immigrant and minority District staff to better understand their experiences and to ensure the District truly is a workplace free from discrimination, and an employer that embraces and celebrates diversity.
  • Anecdotally, the District has learned that being a visible minority in Muskoka has its challenges. To better understand the scope and nature of these challenges, the District developed and launched a broad community engagement strategy to ensure those who want to share experiences and be heard had the opportunity to connect through a variety of channels, including surveys, focus groups and one-on-one discussions.

2. Muskoka-wide IDEA Action Plan

  • Using the information collected from other municipal action plans, along with the information collected through the staff and community engagement activities, the District is developing a Community IDEA Action Plan, including scope, to be approved by District Council.

3. IDEA Advisory Group

  • To help finalize and guide the execution of a Muskoka-wide IDEA Action Plan, plan for future initiatives, supports and services, and act as an advisory body for District Council, the District is inviting community members and other stakeholders to sit on a community-focused, skills-based advisory group. If you are interested in learning more about the IDEA Advisory Group, please contact Tina Kilbourne as listed under 'Who's Listening"?
Page last updated: 17 May 2021, 07:00