Rebecca Shields

Rebecca Shields

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), York Region & South Simcoe
Headquarters: Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
Industry: Community Mental Health & Addictions
CEO: Rebecca Shields

Her Credentials: Bachelor of Science, University of British Columbia

In 2021, CMHA’s DEI efforts focused on health equity, as well as a safe and inclusive workplace. From our cultural competency strategy, we moved into focused work around anti-racism and anti-oppression. All staff members were required to attend a 12-hour course provided by the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion. Additional training was required to provide culturally safe care for 2SLGTBQ+ individuals and ensure Indigenous cultural safety and an understanding of the impacts of colonialism.

We conducted antiracism and campaigns and events such as #STOPTHEHATE and inclusion activities such as Pride, Chinese New Year, Nowruz and many other celebrations. Throughout the year, we focused our newsletter, social media, and internal communications on diversity and equity.

In 2022, CMHA will continue to focus on health equity. The pandemic has disproportionately affected racialized communities. Thus, additional training and outreach to serve those most in need requires a culturally competent and safe approach. We are increasing recruitment of language specific providers, building partnerships with cultural communities and providers, and enhancing training to our clinical team.

We have also scheduled board-specific DEI training. It is also our goal to relaunch our internal demographics survey to better understand our board, staff, and volunteer complement, and set new targets to ensure we represent the communities we serve.