This glossary will be updated as needed. Have other terms we should add? Please contact us. 

    Diversity: At an individual level, diversity describes the unique qualities, experiences, and characteristics we all have. In our workforce, diversity refers to having a range of perspectives, experiences, talents, skills, and abilities. It can also refer to the demographic mix of people, including characteristics like ethnicity, race, culture, disability status, place of origin, geographic location, religion, spirituality, immigrant and newcomer status, education, economic status or social class, income, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, and so on. 

    Equity: Is about fairness. It is about recognizing that some people have been marginalized or left out, understanding how and why, and taking actions to address these differences in opportunities. Equity is not about treating everyone the same (that's equality). An equitable approach recognizes that we need to treat people differently to achieve the same outcome. In other words, it is about recognizing that people have different experiences, opportunities and advantages or disadvantages, based on their various social identities - and ensuring our polices, processes, programs and decision reflect these differences in opportunities.

    Equity-deserving groups: Communities that identify barriers to access, opportunities, and resources due to disadvantage and discrimination, and actively seek social justice and reparation. This marginalization could be created by attitudinal, historic, social, and environmental barriers based on characteristics that are not limited to sex, age, ethnicity, disability, economic status, gender identity, nationality, race, sexual orientation, and creed.

    Inclusion: In inclusive environments, everyone is treated fairly, valued for who they are, and has opportunities to be included in decision making. 

    Inequities: Situations that are not fair or natural and result in some groups of people not having the same access to opportunities, resources, and power as others.

    Intersectionality: We have many overlapping dimensions to our identities (i.e. gender identity, sexual orientation, race, culture, class, ability, age, religion, spirituality, immigration status, Indigenous status, etc.). There are connected systems that advantage or benefit some identities groups of people over others (i.e. sexism, racism, colonialism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia). These systems are lived out through laws, policies, organizations, institutions, and media (systemic oppression) and create patterns of inequities that are not natural or fair. 

    The overlapping dimensions of our identities and systems of advantage or disadvantage intersect and shape our lived experiences in our world. Intersectionality helps us understand the complex web in which social identities, systemic oppression, and social inequities can exist. Thinking of inequities as a web can helps us remember that all forms of oppression are mutually reinforcing – we cannot attend to one form of oppression without acknowledging how it is connected to others. 

    Justice:  As the DEIJ team have conversations with colleagues and community partners and review best practices, the team is working to actively integrate what they hear and learn. Adopting the term justice is one example, and it has many meanings. First, our work to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization can be described as justice – a just and fair organization gives everyone opportunities to authentically be themselves, to contribute, and to thrive. The DEIJ team also uses the term justice to describe the work of naming and addressing the root causes of differences in opportunities people experience based on their identities. For example, racism, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia, etc. all impact people’s opportunities for quality, education, income, housing, health, and wellbeing. Addressing the root causes of differences in opportunities is a form of justice. And, last but not least, Indigenous partners have asked us to consider what actions we can take to create pathways to justice for Urban Indigenous peoples and First Nations, or how we can move towards reconciliation.