CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall Police Service (CPS) S/Sgt. Tracy Pilon provided an update to the Police Board on the CPS’ Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity (EDI) initiative on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022.
The initiative which was started in 2020 was aimed at helping the police serve the community be ensuring equal access and opportunity for all people whether they work for CPS or are a member of the community.
Pilon explained that over the past year, CPS has received presentations from a range of community groups and other non-profits including the African Carribean and International Association of Eastern Ontario (ACIAEO), the Coalition for Unit, Respect, and Equity/ Equality for All (CUREA), St. Lawrence College, Algonquin College, and others.
Additionally, CPS officers received training from diverse trainers like Roots and Culture Canada President César Ndéma-Moussa, and Annemarie Shrouder who spoke to them about issues such as diversity, equity, and unconscious bias.
The CPS also conducted an employee census that found 95 of their members speak French, with others being multilingual in languages such as Arabic, Croatian, Mohawk, and Sign Language. There were four who identified as First Nations, three as Metis, and three as mixed race Indigenous.
Thirteen per cent of CPS’ employees identified as non-heterosexual. Nine per cent of CPS’ staff identified as having some sort of disability.
CPS has also worked to apply their EDI principles in their work in the community over the past year, including by holding meetings with new Canadians, and finding ways to connect with them such as by speaking to them in their native Arabic.
They have also been working to identify incidents motivated by hate or bias when responding to calls in the community. According to data presented by S/Sgt. Pilon on Thursday, there were 10 incidents in 2021 that CPS responded to that were motivated by hate or bias. Of the 10 incidents, 46 per cent were religious based, and 45 per cent were race based.
For this year, CPS will continue to engage with the community on EDI issues through hosting listening tables, community liaison initiatives and through the creation of a community-driven EDI committee.
“I cannot say how proud I am of the progress our service has made to-date,” said CPS Chief Shawna Spowart. “We have truly dedicated ourselves as individuals to be better human beings. To ensure that we are equitable in our work and our service and have been identifying and taking action on systemic barriers in our work.”