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January 22, 2013

Action plan provides roadmap for equitable hiring, promotion at Peel board

Research-based plan will “transform” work of board in equitable hiring 

A new action plan, The Journey Ahead, will transform the work of the Peel District School Board in equitable hiring and promotion. The detailed action plan will help create a more diverse workforce at all levels of the organization. It is based on extensive research by an external firm with significant and specific expertise in the area of diversity hiring.

Notes Director of Education Tony Pontes, “It’s critically important that we immediately take action on the research report. We have developed and will implement The Journey Ahead: Our Action Plan for Equitable Hiring and Promotion in Peel. This detailed action plan directly addresses the findings from the research. It will ensure that our work in the area of equitable hiring and promotion is bias-free, deliberate, planned, systematic and consistent with our goals, policies and mission. The Journey Ahead action plan will transform the work of the Peel District School Board in equitable hiring.”

One of the board’s key goals is to “attract, develop and retain a diverse staff of committed, dedicated and caring people.” Explains Pontes, “The Journey Ahead  turns our goal into action, with immediate changes, defined timelines, clear transparency and public accountability. It’s a roadmap to help us achieve our goal of ensuring a highly qualified, diverse workforce.”

In January 2012, the board’s Diversity Leadership Council—composed of staff and community representatives reflecting the five groups identified in the Human Rights Code—recommended  a review of the board’s hiring and promotion practices. To ensure that the research was neutral, a company with significant and specific expertise in the area of diversity hiring, Turner Consulting Group Inc., was hired to conduct the research and develop the research report.  The consultants reviewed policies and documents, reviewed competition files, conducted focus groups with staff, interviewed individual staff and leaders, and invited all staff to participate in an online questionnaire. 

The research report provides the context and data based on this extensive process and provides findings to strengthen the board’s hiring and promotion processes in three priority areas:
• Ensure equitable hiring processes
• Ensure an equitable academic promotion process
• Diversity and Inclusion

The Journey Ahead action plan defines specific actions for the 33 findings in the three priority areas, and sets a timeline for completion. Recommendations, which are subject to budget, will be brought forward to the board separately.

Adds Pontes, “This action plan is ambitious, and the journey may be challenging, but this work is absolutely necessary and will be done. The Journey Ahead action plan will help us to achieve our mission: to inspire success, confidence and hope in each student. I stand behind the plan, with a commitment to our staff and community that we will do more to ensure a diverse workforce at all levels of the organization that is reflective of our community. This plan clearly defines the journey to reach that destination.”

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Media contact: Tony Pontes, Director of Education, 905-890-1010 ext. 2006, tony.pontes@peelsb.com

Reference: Brian Woodland, Director of Communications & Community Relations, 905-890-1010 ext. 2812, brian.woodland@peelsb.com

Revised note to media: The Journey Ahead Action Plan and the research report can be found online at www.peelschools.org.

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