In 2019, the City first developed A United Vision: Guelph’s Community Plan. For over a year, City staff consulted community members to gain insight into three fundamental questions: what we care about, where our priorities lie, and how we envision Guelph in the next 10 to 20 years. These questions were essential as we continued to build our future. This input also formed the foundation on which our community plan is forged and implemented in collaboration with our people.
The community plan was never meant to be a static document. It is a living, breathing representation of our communal values. In 2020, the murder of George Floyd had an immediate impact in cities and towns across North America. Calls for governments, including the City of Guelph, to listen to equity-deserving groups, build trust, enter into authentic discussions, and act to eliminate systemic racism were immediate. For more than 18 months, we listened to and engaged with the community.
We learned the plan was due for an update focusing on anti-racism and discrimination. This journey has involved conscious unlearning and relearning from members of our larger community with the knowledge, expertise, and lived experience to change these systems.
Following the learnings from our community, we introduced the “We are Community” theme into our Community Plan. It speaks to equity and the elimination of systemic racism because everyone in Guelph should feel a sense of belonging.
In 2022, we began incorporating the principles of the new section into the City’s engagement approach in a conscious effort to learn and improve our practices. The City continues working with community members organizations and institutions to co-create an action plan to outline the specific strategies and actions that must be taken to eliminate systemic racism and barriers to inclusion from our institutions, policies and governance structures.