The Canadian Society of Landscape Architects condemns discrimination and all forms of racism that permeate our society.
We believe that inclusion is a priority of utmost importance not only to society as a whole but to the profession of landscape architecture. One of the core values of the Canadian Landscape Charter is to Consider All People.
Recent events remind us there is much to be done and much to be done urgently. For me, it is also a reminder that we all have the responsibility to act to effect positive change. Let's be part of the solution to create a just society.
How has the CSLA responded to the call for greater equity and diversity?
- A statement was issued (August 2020)
- The CSLA convened the provincial, regional and territorial component associations and the Landscape Architecture Canada Foundation in the discussion of equity and diversity in the profession (June 2020 and onwards)
- The CSLA joined a cross-disciplinary discussion with other organizations from related professions (June 2020 and onwards)
- The CSLA added equity and diversity to its Strategic Plan, which was approved at the Annual General Meeting (June, 2020)
- A resource web page was created (July 2020) and continues to be developed.
- The CSLA and provincial, territorial and regional component associations collaborated on a diversity survey in November 2020. This survey will be circulated to members every year to update the data on the profession.
- Black History Month (February 2021), Juneteenth (June 2020) and National Aboriginal History Month (June 2020) were recognized via social media campaigns.
- A change was brought to how the Awards of Excellence jury is assembled, ensuring that the jury is balanced in terms of diversity, age, gender, and geographic representation. (February 2021).
- A task force was formed by the CSLA (November 2020), and charged with hiring a consultant to guide the development of a national and provincial action plan for the profession.
- A task force member was identified as a liaison with the Common Space Coalition.
- Michelle Legault, CSLA Executive Director
Four action areas for this committee
- Raising Awareness: through various channels of communication, including social media, newsletters, magazines, etc. A good opportunity to spotlight equity-deserving professionals, exciting projects that centre equity in the work, or other issues around JEDI in the profession or in practice.
- Enforcing Accountability: reviewing the CSLA and component association values and codes of ethics, ensuring that there are effective frameworks in place to hold people accountable and deter members for engaging in discriminatory actions. This needs to be an easy to find resource for vulnerable employees to be able to point and feel supported by. Penalties relating a breach of the code of ethics should be made clear and a review process should be in place.
- Taking Action – Reducing Barriers: we need to better understand current barriers that deter people from pursuing landscape architecture as a viable career option, or that push members out of the industry over time. Some of what I’ve heard to date includes:
- Lack of representation in senior roles
- Lack of accountability / support from the system (goes back to #2)
- Financial constraints (school and membership fees)
- Time constraints (hours are too demanding)
- Lack of knowledge of LA as a career option or misunderstanding of what it means / entails
- Tools and Training Opportunities: coordination of training opportunities for work places as well as to benefit project work (seminars on equity-based design, for example), and continuing education points awarded for engagement in training activities. Other training courses could include how to engage the community, how to conduct demographics based research, etc.
Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force Members:
Hope Parnham (Board Champion)
Lina Al-Dajani (Chair)
Michelle Legault (Ex-Officio)