EC initiated a REDI program at the beginning of 2021 and later partnered with experts, The Inclusion Project (TIP) in May to further shape its goals and an effective and actionable plan. The partnership with TIP has strengthened EC’s intercultural competence and provided guidance in understanding the scope and impact of the long-term work ahead.

The work began with community forums being held in January followed by a readiness assessment in the spring where input was provided regarding inequalities in Canada’s equestrian sport landscape. Specific recommendations from individuals with lived experience were provided that helped shape many of the initiatives created in the REDI action plan including increasing representation of visible minorities and under-represented diverse/racial/ethnic groups, preparing coaches and officials to effectively handle situations of equestrian participation; auditing and enhancing policies; and reviewing and revising materials used in marketing and communications to be more inclusive.

Next, was an audit where TIP was given full access to EC’s external and internal engagement policies to be reviewed for language, completeness and messaging that relayed safety and inclusivity. Completed in August, EC was appraised at an Inactive level where REDI has not been systemically implemented and diversity and a culture of inclusion have not previously been a part of organizational goals. After presenting the findings of the audit to Sport Canada and its Board of Directors, the EC team committed to using the important learnings to move the plan forward.

With the knowledge from the assessment and audit highlighting the magnitude of work required, the hiring process for a REDI coordinator was initiated. The summer and early fall saw TIP lead the creation of the job description and hiring process along with sitting on the hiring panel.

On November 29, Laurie Ehrman will join Equestrian Canada in the newly created role of Coordinator, REDI & Safe Sport. An immigrant to Canada, Ehrman has her master’s in law and is experienced in safe sport implementation within national sport organizations. In her role, she will engage with TIP to enhance training, continue policy updates, support community development, and develop programs to ensure diversity and racial equity in all areas of activity within EC. Ehrman is also tasked with coordinating the implementation of policies and initiatives focused on increasing access to equestrian sport.

Other movements forward in areas of the plan this year include benchmarking, training, and data collection. Earlier in November, identity questions were added to the 2022 sport licence application and renewals release for next year. The voluntary collection is a step in assessing the representation of individuals across the competitive equestrian community. Throughout the year, EC leadership, staff, and board have engaged in safe sport training and Indigenous cultural training sessions with the action plan including the roll out of further anti-racist, diversity, equity, and inclusion education.

Even with initial progress being made, it is evident that much work remains to be done to create a more inclusive and representative organization and sport. EC is encouraged by the initial advancements, however, remains steadfast in its commitment to prioritize racial diversity, equity, and inclusion and to take progressive action to create transformational change.

The whole of EC looks forward to continuing along the path that was started earlier this year. In addition to their partnership with TIP, they will support and collaborate on any additional activities in the community that support REDI and Safe Sport initiatives in the years to come.

Equestrian Canada believes the future of equestrian sport in our country is one that is safe and inclusive; where everyone is welcome and has room to learn, grow and achieve their potential.

For further questions, comments or concerns please contact communications@equestrian.ca 

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