Conservation Authority Removes Barriers and Shares the Value Of Diversity

As part of an effort to remove unintentional barriers during the hiring process, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s hiring committee never looks at the applicant’s name in the first round of the hiring process.

This is just one of the policies that has changed since the 400-employee conservation authority began working with a diversity consultant, says Catherine McEwen, the HR, Safety and Communications Manager.

Another change was to make all interview questions behavioural and situational. If a candidate with international experience is advanced to the second round several steps are taken to help ensure their success, including:

  • international credentials are evaluated using World Education Services (WES);
  • reference checks are used, just like any other candidate; and
  • people who speak more than one language are seen as real assets.

TRCA also offered diversity training to employees to help them better understand cultural differences. The training covers topics such as:

  • what good can come from these differences;
  • what business culture is like in other countries; and
  • how management styles can be adapted to accommodate someone who might be used to a more formal hierarchy.

Filling Experience Gaps

Once hired, orientation programs are a good way for new hires to bridge any gaps in experience. This is used for most new environmental planners since the profession is regionally specific — even planners from another province or region would need to be briefed on Ontario’s regulations.

Tips for Employers

  • Don’t look at candidates’ names during first round of résumé screening to prevent biases from screening out good candidates
  • Use orientation programs to help all new hires to bridge any gaps in experience.
  • Provide diversity training to employees to teach everyone the value of a diverse workforce.

The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is a public agency mandated under the Conservation Authorities Act to conserve and manage natural resources. Responsibilities include flood management and warnings, public education and tree planting. TRCA employs approximately 400 people in the Greater Toronto Area.

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