Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion is growing

At York Hills Centre for Children & Families, we are growing our commitment to fast-tracking equity, centering diversity and nurturing a workplace culture of inclusion.

In September 2021, we began a process of measuring our commitment to the above by undertaking a diversity, equity & inclusion organizational needs assessment process, which is being conducted by an external third party.

We would like to engage you, our community and community partners to participate in the assessment process.  We invite current and previous clients/services users to complete the online survey, which will launch today February 8, 2022 to share thoughts, ideas and opinions with us to assist our work to meet the needs of all people and communities in York Region.

The survey will remain open online for six weeks, closing on March 22, 2022.  All information and data collected from the survey will be stored offsite through Arise International Consulting, and will be kept completely confidential.  No individual identifying information will be shared with York Hills Centre staff, including the Executive and Board members.  All information will also be reported as a collective voice from the community.  Click the link below to access Client/Service User Survey:


Community partners, service providers, educators, social workers, advocates, parents and anyone who has collaborated with, or experienced services or programs offered by York Hills Centre for Children, Youth and Families, is invited to engage in the Community Listening Circles that will begin on February 22, 2022.  The Circles will focus on specific identity groups to allow exploration and discussions to address specific issues and needs related to individuals requiring mental services and supports from the community group.

Due to the ongoing concerns of health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, all Listening Circles will be facilitated virtually through the Zoom platform.  Listening Circles participation is limited to 50 participants per session. Registration is required.





One of the desired long-term outcomes of the York Hills Children’s Centre diversity, equity and inclusion change initiative is increased capacity and competency through the agency, as well as among and across partner agencies to address issues of inequity and disparity of service.  The Self-Assessment has been established to support the organizations efforts to hear from clients/services users, board members, staff, volunteers and students, as well as community partners and collaterals to assist in becoming a more diverse and inclusive organization that responds to the needs of all constituents within the York Region.

The organization convened a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Self-Assessment Advisory Committee to support the development of the survey tools for the assessment.  The committee is pleased to share the completed Client/Service User Self-Assessment Survey – a tool that will help to inform the organizations diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, and support the journey to building a more a better organization for all.

A huge thank you to the following staff members (some of who are no longer with the organization) for their dedication, time and commitment to engaging in the self-assessment survey development process:

Megha Agnihotri, Joanna Allison, Stephanie d’Mello, Joanne Gaston, Shelby Hall, Onika Haywood, Terri Keay, Teresa Knibb, Amanda Lewis, Zinara McIntosh, Jodi Miller, Peter Mukundi, and Silva Robinson.

The self-assessment process has been conceptualized as both a process and a set of tools.  The intended outcomes of the self-assessment are the following:

  • An understanding of the strengths, gaps and areas for development for diversity, equity and inclusion within York Hills, diverse community members, partners and other service providers
  • A set of results that will assist the organization to identity training and development needs to address any identified gaps and issues
  • A foundation for recommendations and action planning that will guide the work of the York Hills’ future change initiatives for diversity, equity and inclusion

Other benefits to agencies will include deepening awareness and understanding for staff of the mental health needs of York Region’s diverse communities.

The Self-Assessment process includes examining the following areas:

  • Management
  • Staff & Associate Employees
  • Volunteers & Students
  • Clients/Service Users
  • CEO, Board, & Community Partner Key Informant Interviews
  • Facility Checklist
  • Documents Review

The development of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Organizational Self-Assessment was guided by the definition of the following principles:

Diversity refers to how difference should be both embraced and celebrated 

Equity is the provision of opportunities for equality for all by responding to the needs of individuals

Employment Equity – describes approaches to achieving equitable access to employment for all groups

Inclusiveness refers to an organizational system where decision-making includes perspectives

Reflecting cultural differences – refers to the process of identifying or recognizing cultural diversity

Service Equity – refers to the ability to provide accessible and relevant services to marginalized and targeted groups

Valuing cultural differences – refers to the process of regarding highly, cultural differences.  Valuation is demonstrated through the organization’s actions

The participation of client/service users past and present, as well as community stakeholders in this important initiative is invaluable to the organization and their efforts to strengthen the agency’s commitment to change work for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Thank you in advance for your support and time these efforts.



We are inviting those clients/service-users who have engaged with our agency, to complete the Client/Service-User Self-Assessment Survey to share their opinions and thoughts on services received from York Hills




The York Hills Centre for Children Youth and Families convened a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Self-Assessment Advisory Committee to support the development of the survey assessments tools. The committee is pleased to share the completed Client/Service User tool – a tool that will help to inform the organizations diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, and support the journey to building a better organization for all.

Why are we doing a DEI Self-Assessment?

The self-assessment will help gather information to assist York Hills in responding to the needs of all diverse clients and service users, and collect the qualitative

data needed for program, service and policy development. The information collected will also help establish how the organizational structure can be adjusted to better support strategic initiatives to improve service to children, youth and families living within York Region.


Why should I participate in the DEI Self-Assessment?

By completing the self-assessment tool and/or attending one of the Community Listening Circles, you are providing feedback to help York Hills understand the views and opinions of the community to assist in identifying key priorities with respect to diversity, equity and inclusion.

How often will I be required to complete this DEI Self-Assessment?

This year, York Hills is conducting a local self-assessment to help them along in their organizational diversity, equity and incluson journey. York Hills will keep open communication about the progress of this self-assessment and provide information to staff and key stakeholders once the self-assessment process has been completed.  This is a one-time request to complete the self-assessment tool, however, York Hills may decide to repeat a self-assessment at a future date to review, analyze and measure its progress.

Who is eligible to complete the DEI Self-Assessment?

The Client/Service User Self-Assessment Survey invites present, past clients and service users to participate in completing the self-assessment.  Community stakeholders and partners are invited to attend a number of focus group sessions to share their thoughts and opinions with respect to their experiences working with York Hills.

How can this information make a difference? Can you give me some examples?

Information that will be collected will help to give a clearer picture of the organization and its changing needs within the community it serves.

Here are two examples:

  1. Prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion: Gathering information on the status of diversity and inclusion within an organization is an important opportunity to highlight the work that has already been completed, and to prioritize plans where improvements are needed.
  2. Improved Service Delivery: The self-assessment provides a snapshot of an organization. The data collected will be used to inform services, policies and programs that directly impact diverse communities with York Region.
How will you protect my privacy?

The self-assessment is both confidential and anonymous. Confidentiality means that individual data is kept safe and off-site, and no raw data pertaining to a single individual is ever disclosed.  Anonymity means the participants are not identified by name or via any coding system, and any information that could identify a participant is supressed.

IMPORTANT: We guarantee the DEI Self-Assessment is both confidential and anonymous.

Is the real reason for the DEI Self-Assessment to create quotas and targets?

While representation is one important indicator of diversity and inclusivity, it is not the only measure. This DEI Self-Assessment will help York Hills understand the trends, gaps or barriers all children, youth and families that may experience differential service and/or outcomes face when working with the organization. It will also help to identifying any gaps in services and practices that require transformation.

Is the DEI Self-Assessment mandatory?

No. Completing the self-assessment is completely voluntary. However, the self-assessment is a critical tool in establishing a benchmark for diversity, equity and inclusion for York Hills. The more respondents who complete the self-assessment, the more accurate and complete the agency “snapshot” will be.

Isn’t it against the law to ask these questions?

No. Asking these questions is not against the Ontario Human Rights Code or Privacy Legislation. In fact, under the following three conditions, the DEI Organizational Self-Assessment process is actually recommended by both the Canadian and Ontario Human Rights Commissions:

  • Information gathered is used for equity reporting and program development.
  • Participation is voluntary; and
  • The results are confidential.

This DEI Self-Assessment fulfills all three criteria.

If you can’t tell who filled out the DEI Self-Assessment, what is the benefit of the results?

A self-assessment aims to identify general trends. It does not focus on individual results. Identifying personal information is not necessary to achieve an accurate “snapshot” of the key issues, and this point of view is shared by the professional consultants involved in conducting the self-assessment. Also, in the interest of fostering a mutual relationship of trust, it is our priority to respect your right to privacy.

I don’t feel comfortable answering a specific question, what do I do?

We encourage you to answer as many questions as possible because each one contains important information that will help provide a more complete picture. However, if you are uncomfortable, you can skip a question, and move on. This will not “spoil” your self-assessment.

What if I have additional questions about the DEI Organizational Self-Assessment?

Contact:  Arise International Consulting

Email: arise.intl1@gmail.com

Community Listening Circles

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