Community Dialogue on Equity addresses barriers to employment and access to services

Panel members: Dahabo Ahmed-Omer, centre, Debbie Hoffman, left, and Jacqueline Lawrence, right

Panel members: Dahabo Ahmed-Omer, centre, Debbie Hoffman, left, and Jacqueline Lawrence, right. Photo copyright Black Ottawa Scene

Thursday, 21 September

Over fifty community leaders, service providers, government and non-government organisations, gathered at the YM-YWCA on Argyle Ave on Thursday, to take part in a workshop with the theme: Community Dialogue on Equity. The goal was to address issues around equity for Canada’s diverse multicultural and indigenous populations. Top among the many barriers identified were access to community services and employment among indigenous people, new immigrants and other vulnerable and marginalized  populations.

Organised by the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP) and Equity Ottawa, the agenda included:

  • An interactive Equity Data “Walk” to review and reflect on some of the inequities that immigrants, racialized people and Indigenous people experience, and identify what is being done about them;
  • Small group discussions on experiences with barriers to equity;
  • A panel discussion on addressing institutional and systemic barriers to equity, featuring:
    • Dahabo Ahmed-Omer, Co-Chair, Justice for Abdirahman Coalition
    • Debbie Hoffman, Director, Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa
    • Jacqueline Lawrence, Diversity and Equity Coordinator, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
    • Facilitator: Patricia Harewood, Unifor 2025 Human Rights Committee and Legal Counsel, Public Service Alliance of Canada
  • An online video presentation by Liz Weaver, Vice-President and Director, Tamarack Institute on the potential of using a collective impact approach to address urgent and persistent equity challenges;
  • Discussion on how stakeholders can work collectively as individuals and organizations to advance equity in the national capital.


About OLIP

The Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP) is a multi-sectoral partnership involving 60 local organizations working on a shared vision and common priorities designed to build local capacity to attract, settle, and integrate immigrants in five sectors: Education; Economic Integration; Health and Well-being; Language Training and Interpretation; and Socio-Civic Integration Capacity Development.  OLIP partners include the City of Ottawa, local universities and colleges, the four school boards, employers and employer associations, settlement, social, and health service providers, and regional planning bodies. More info: E-mail:;  phone: 613-232-9634; web:

About Equity Ottawa

Equity Ottawa is a partnership of organizations working towards equity and inclusion of immigrants and racialized people. Partners come from the social services, health, education, child welfare, youth, justice and municipal sectors. Equity Ottawa is co-led by the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership and Centretown Community Health Centre. Equity Ottawa’s efforts focus on: creating an enabling environment for organizations to strive toward greater equity and inclusion; establishing a supportive Community of Practice as a peer-learning space for equity and inclusion in Ottawa; and developing and making supportive resources accessible to local organizations.

Equity Ottawa Partners

Centretown Community Health Centre
Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa
City for All Women Initiative
City of Ottawa
Lowertown Community Resource Centre
Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership
Ottawa Police Service
Ottawa Public Health
University of Ottawa
Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre
Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa

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