The York Regional Police (YRP) Diversity and Inclusion Strategy celebrates Canada's diversity, democratic principles and commitment to multiculturalism through programs and initiatives which embrace, showcase and celebrate the richness of the area's cultural, ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity.
The Diversity and Inclusion Strategy engages community and police members, many of whom trace their ancestry to numerous regions of the world, and provides unprecedented opportunities for YRP to join with community partners in reaffirming its commitment to the safeguarding and protection of human rights, and the eradication of all forms of discrimination, hatred and social injustice.
The strategy incorporates a continued learning approach for the enhancement and maintenance of strong police-community partnerships.
In this regard, the learning organizational model, in which the organizational environment interacts with the external environment, serves as an efficient method for learning about and understanding the global village. With rapidly changing demographics in a region that prides itself on its diversity, York Region's communities have come to expect that the police service understands the communities it serves and is responsive to their diverse needs. The strategy's successful, multifaceted approach acknowledges the unique service needs within respective communities, including racialized minorities and Aboriginal Peoples, while working towards making positive differences and improving the quality of lives.
This Best Practice was inspired by a recognition of the changing demographics in the area. With a regional diversity rate of over 40 per cent, York Region is home to people from over 200 ancestries speaking over 70 languages and dialects. Numerous places of worship also reflect this diversity and serve as hubs for community events, celebrations and activities.
Further inspiration was derived from Chief Eric Jolliffe's studies in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion. The strategy includes the implementation of 17 recommendations resulting from the completion of his Masters in Leadership Degree through Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia.
His research concentrated on the identification of strategies through which YRP could further enhance relationships with the region's many diverse communities, including newcomers to Canada from regions of the world subjected to deficiencies of community trust and confidence in policing.
The goal of the strategy is to inspire positive community development and relationship building through inclusive policing, guided by human rights principles and the promotion of an inclusive community, and an organizational culture of respect, through mutual continued education and experiential learning, to ensure equitable and accessible service delivery.
The Diversity and Inclusion Strategy utilizes internal and external forums, focus groups and surveys to gain deeper perspectives and understanding of the region's diverse communities, which then inform the design and application of YRP service delivery.
Throughout the 43-year history of YRP, the pursuit to better understand its community has been a critical component in the development of policing strategies. In recent years, that need has become ever more significant as the multiple dimensions of diversity in modern-day Ontario and Canada are acknowledged and embraced.
YRP serves the thriving Regional Municipality of York, the sixth largest municipality in Canada. In each of the last five years, York Region has grown by more than 35,000 residents – the fastest rate in the Greater Toronto Area. According to the 2011 Census, York Region has a total population of 1,032,524. By the year 2031, York Region's population will be 1.5 million and immigrants will account for 55 per cent of that number.
The strategy provides opportunities for YRP members to become familiar with the broader picture of the Canadian mosaic, while understanding the significant relationship between policing and the protection and safeguarding of human rights and civil liberties.
Making a Difference
The strategy has resulted in improved and enhanced relationships through the framework of human rights safeguards and protections for many marginalized, racialized, ostracized and victimized communities. These collaborations include hate crime prevention partnerships with, and continuing outreach initiatives to, a wide variety of communities, faith groups and other newcomer and established communities in Canada.
Challenges include: fear and mistrust; recruiting; faith and religion; intolerance; global perspective, and hate crime.
Vision for the Future
In building on this strategy for the future, further interactive learning about diverse communities of the region will encompass critical components of YRP's commitment to the development of strong police-community partnerships. These partnerships, along with other proactive strategies, will form the basis for continued improvements to the delivery of police services in continued support of harmonious community, ethnocultural and race relations, while showcasing and celebrating Canada's diversity.
About the York Regional Police
York Regional Police is a municipal police service, which serves a regional population of 1.1 million people, and is considered the fourth largest police service in Ontario. The seven values of YRP include leadership, accountability, competence, teamwork, integrity, community, and its people. The YRP's motto is "Deeds Speak," which is interpreted to mean, actions speak louder than words.
Best Practice Contact
Chief Eric Jolliffe
York Regional Police
1-866-876-5423 ext. 7955
47 Don Hillock Dr.
Aurora, ON L4G 0S7