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City council, staff to receive training in diversity, equality and inclusion

Budget committee OKs $25K for training; 'There is education that needs to be done,' says HR director
orillia city centre facade
Orillia City Centre. Dave Dawson/OrilliaMatters file photo

City council and staff will get a lesson in diversity and inclusion in the new year.

Budget committee approved a staff request to hire someone to provide training to all council members and the city’s approximately 300 staff on diversity, equality and inclusion.

“I believe an outside trainer is advantageous as they would be more apt to know the subject matter more thoroughly,” human resources director Lori Bolton said, adding the training aligns with the diversity advisory committee that council has asked be established.

Coun. Tim Lauer suggested a decision on the training wait until the diversity committee is formed and can make recommendations.

“I’m not sure what this particular course is going to address,” he said.

He asked if there were currently any issues at the city regarding diversity, equality and inclusion.

“There is education that needs to be done,” Bolton said, adding many aren’t familiar with some of the issues, “particularly supervisors.”

Coun. Jay Fallis said it might be “more practical to have the new council (to be elected next year) get the training than this current council” and he asked if it would be worth training staff only at this point.

Training for council could be postponed, Bolton said, but staff should receive the training soon because “some concerns have arisen already and we need to address them.”

Budget committee approved training for both council and staff at a cost of $25,000.

Operating budget discussions wrapped up last week. The capital budget will be discussed Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. All decisions require ratification at a special council meeting Dec. 6.