The Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (in french Centre canadien pour la diversité et l'inclusion) is a national charitable organization with the mandate to help the individuals and organizations they work with be inclusive, and free of prejudice and discrimination – and to generate the awareness, dialogue and action for people to recognize diversity as an asset and not an obstacle.
CCDI's largest constituency is employers, and helps to deliver on this mandate by hosting Community of Practice events in 16 cities across Canada, monthly webinars, and their annual D&I: The UnConference in 6 cities; creating research, thought leadership and toolkits to help drive change; conducting in-person workshops and providing Elearning solutions to help educate people on the broad subject of Diversity and Inclusion; and hosting the country's largest digital library of resources related to diversity and inclusion.
The CCDI is a merger of two organizations - the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion (CIDI) and the Canadian Centre for Diversity (CCD) - that took place in 2015. The merger was instigated because the CCD had announced they were shutting their doors due to funding issues. Upon hearing this news, the CIDI and CCD entered into a dialogue about a merger which would provide stable funding and allow the CCD's programs to continue.
The Canadian Centre for Diversity (originally called the Canadian Council for Christians and Jews.) was founded in 1947 to address issues of antisemitism and promote interfaith dialogue. The mandate expanded in subsequent years to focus on addressing issues related to racism, and religious discrimination in Canadian society. Their primary focus was on providing school programs to educate students on issues related to bullying, bias and discrimination. The CCCJ changed its name in 2008 to the Canadian Centre for Diversity to be more reflective of its broader mandate.
In September 2013, the board of directors of the CCD announced that it was shutting its doors due to a lack of ongoing funding. Subsequently, CCD announced in January 2014 that they would merge with the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion.
CIDI was founded in 2012 by Michael Bach, the former National Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for KPMG in Canada, a role he created and held for 7 years. Having worked as a diversity and inclusion practitioner for the better part of a decade - both in Canada and globally as the Deputy Chief Diversity Officer for KPMG International - Bach felt there was a need for an organization that could wrap its arms around the entire diversity conversation and provide some unity and clarity to what had become a very complicated topic.
Bach's vision was to create a non-profit organization that would support employers along their diversity and inclusion journey. CIDI officially launched in 2012. By the middle of 2013 CIDI had secured its founding employer partners, had a staff of 5 and was operating in 4 cities across Canada.
Merger talks began between the two organizations at the end of 2013. There was an agreement in principal struck and Bach was named the CEO of CCD to facilitate the merger over the course of 2014. The merger officially took place in 2015.
In an effort to recognize leaders in the area of diversity and inclusion, in 2016 CCDI launched the Awards of Success to acknowledge the contribution of three individuals who have gone above and beyond to promote diversity and inclusion.
The Awards of Success recognize three people in the following categories:Senior Executive of the Year
Diversity and Inclusion Practitioner of the Year
Community Contributor of the Year
In their first year, the awards went to Simon Fish, General Counsel, BMO Financial Group (Senior Executive of the Year), Normand St. Gelais, Director, Diversity & Inclusion, Sodexo (Diversity and Inclusion Practitioner of the Year), and Malinda Smith, Associate Professor, University of Alberta.
CCDI has released several educational campaigns to raise awareness and inspire discussion on diversity and inclusion in Canada.
To help raise awareness of available resources related to American Sign Language (ASL, in French Langue des Signes Québécoise or LSQ) CCDI created TalkingASL.ca (in French ParlantLSQ.ca) - a free library of ASL related resources in Canada.
In view of the 2014 Olympic protests of Russian anti-gay laws, the (then) Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion released a humorous public service announcement to draw attention to the ongoing anti-gay laws controversy coupled with the Olympics being held in Russia. In it the jest that the Games have always been a little gay, and should be kept that way.
The video went viral and received over 10 million views on YouTube and received over 100 million media impressions, including being featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
In response to the death of Alan Kurdi - a Syrian infant who drowned while his family was fleeing war-torn Syrian - CCDI issued a call to action to Canada's largest employers to contribute to help with the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Canada. They created the Save Syria campaign and the Syrian Refugee Relief Fund.
The fund raised over $200,000 and 100% of the funds go to support the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Canada who have been privately sponsored (as opposed to government sponsored refugees).
In an effort to raise awareness of the deferral against men who have sex with men (MSMs) from donating blood, CCDI produced a public service announcement referred to as Gay Blood, and created the hashtag #EndTheBan. The objective was to point out that there is no such thing as "gay blood" and that the deferral against MSMs was not based on science, but on outdated information, and was ultimately discriminatory.
The PSA received significant attention and the result was that Canadian Blood Services reached out to CCDI to include them on the work to develop the research needed to remove the deferral entirely and move toward a behavioural based deferral. Further, CCDI played an influential role in securing the funding required to conduct the research - which will kick off in January 2017.