My council colleagues and I, unanimously, carried a couple of noteworthy inclusionary initiatives. The first was a statement of Traditional Land Acknowledgment and the second was a motion to create a Women’s Bureau and Special Liason.
You may have noticed a sharp increase in the number of traditional land acknowledgement statements at the beginning of public events. The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) brought forward a statement, which outlines how to properly make these opening remarks and their purpose.
The document was released to provide guidance to interested municipal governments on how to draft a statement for their jurisdiction. These statements are used as a practice of reconciliation aimed at recognizing the traditional or treaty territories of Indigenous peoples.
Ottawa is on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg people, and our traditional land acknowledgement statements generally say: “We would like to begin by acknowledging that the land on which we gather is the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin nation”. This new practice demonstrates respect and serves to strengthen relationships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and communities.
Secondly, Councillors Deans and McKenney brought forward a motion to recommend including the role of a Special Liaison for Women’s Issues and a Women’s Bureau in order to provide a gender lens on our policies and practices at the City of Ottawa for the 2019 Governance report.
I’m proud to say that this motion was unanimously carried by Council. Ottawa is following such cities as Vancouver, in bringing forward issues of gender equality within their policies and initiatives. I’m happy to see women’s issues being brought to the forefront. It is my hope that the Special Liason and Women’s Bureau will serve to improve equality of opportunity, as well as adapt our policies and services in a way that supports women.
These two initiatives will help to City of Ottawa in becoming a more inclusive place to live, work and play.