Cynthia Morton

Cynthia Morton
Deputy Minister, Ontario

Corporate Headquarters: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Primary Business: Government
Employees: 1,505

2011 CEO in Action

Diversity is a journey we have all embarked upon in the public service of Ontario, and every deputy and their ministry has been challenged to find a way to make this journey an essential part of our commitment both to our staff and to the diverse public we serve. The culture within which I work has put to rest the debate of whether diversity is an essential component of a successful business strategy. In Ontario, the labour market of today and the future is one where employers must compete for the best and the brightest. If we are to be one of the employers who attract these candidates, we must welcome, value and celebrate the diversity of our workforce.

For these reasons, the ministry has embarked on a journey of transformation. I am excited and determined we will not lose sight of our goals or the steps we must take to get there. We have begun this journey through a process of assessing our roles as leaders. I know the value of my personal investment in designing, championing and implementing the changes we must make. My other job is to reward and recognize other leaders who are also investing in better understanding their behaviours and their responsibilities.

I am very fortunate to have a strong group of managers and staff who spend their careers trying to make workplaces in Ontario safe and respectful. The challenge before us was to take this commitment to heart, as we worked to create a safe and respectful workplace across the Ministry of Labour. If we were to create and sustain a work environment where our staff felt respected, valued and free of any prejudices, the ministry’s senior management team needed to lead that journey.

We had to examine our leadership styles and gain an understanding of our individual and collective strengths and weaknesses in a safe and respectful way. We then asked our staff what they felt about core competencies with respect to behaviours that championed a diverse and inclusive workplace. Early in 2010, our senior leaders participated in a 360 evaluation called the Equitable Leader Assessment. Using this tool, our staff was asked to provide feedback to leaders about their behaviour in core competency areas related to diversity and inclusion. The results will provide clear and measurable objectives on which to base our ongoing leadership development.

As I grow older I have learned patience but also the need for results and steadfast leadership. Our journey will end when diversity is so entrenched in every deed and action that it no longer has a name – it is, simply put, the Ministry of Labour’s culture, without debate or question.

Education: Law Degree
First Job: Waitress
What I’m Reading: Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand
My Philosophy: Shape the future, don’t fear it .
Best Advice: Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Family: Four great kids and a partner who doesn’t take me too seriously
Interests: Travel, art, theatre, time with family
Favorite Charity: Foster Parents Plan of Canada