The policy review and development process includes an equity assessment component. Equity assessments are initiated at the early stages of the process. To assist with implementing equity assessments in a consistent and comprehensive manner, staff developed the Equity Assessment Tool. All policies will be planned, reviewed and developed using this tool. This includes a set of questions which help staff to identify and address unintended barriers, bias and impacts and to help ensure that fairness, equity, diversity, acceptance, inclusion, and the elimination of all forms of discrimination are essential principles of our school system and are integrated into all TDSB policies. The tool is based on the principles of the Equity Policy (P037) and the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Refer to the TDSB’s Equity Policy (P037) available here
WHY USE THE EQUITY ASSESSMENT TOOL?
- Build a shared understanding of equity and diversity in TDSB and improve staff knowledge of the impact of policy direction on diverse and marginalized individual and communities.
- Support the use of best practices through engagement, research and evidence-based decision-making
- Enhanced understanding of the needs, barriers and root causes of the inequities faced by groups and diverse communities historically or currently disenfranchised groups
- Identification and removal of the root causes of inequities and systemic barriers faced by diverse and marginalized individual and communities
- Enhanced leadership capacity to make equity-based decisions
- Improved programs, services and equitable allocation of resources
- Accessibility compliance, improved human rights accommodation processes, health and well-being outcomes and inclusion and service excellence
- Consistent assessment practices/ process of equity impacts across the TDSB
- Improved equity of access, participation and outcomes for students, staff, parents/ guardians and school communities
WHEN DO I USE THE EQUITY ASSESSMENT TOOL?
- As early as possible when you are revising an existing policy/procedure or developing a new policy/procedure
- Throughout the life-cycle of the policy/procedure development, implementation and review process.
- When reviewing and/or proposing changes to an existing policy / procedure or accessing policy/ procedure impact on human resource, budgetary allocations, service delivery or program expansion, adjustment or discontinuation
BEST-PRACTICE STEPS FOR USING THE EQUITY ASSESSMENT TOOL
- Collect and analyze relevant research and demographic data
- Consult with the affected equity-seeking and other vulnerable groups to identify needs, barriers and root causes
- Find ways to meet identified needs and remove barriers by tackling root causes of inequities
- Identify, analyze and address the actual or potential impacts that the initiative may have on equity-seeking groups and diverse communities historically or currently disenfranchised
- Assess the types (positive or negative) and levels of impacts
- Make recommendations to remedy any negative impacts
- Add an equity impact statement that demonstrates use of the tool in relevant reports