The Plante administration will announce later today the creation of a roundtable to address discrimination and diversity issues in the city, CBC News has learned.
Made up of about a dozen members of Montreal’s different cultural communities, the roundtable will meet regularly at City Hall during the next year with the goal of “making Montreal more inclusive,” according to a source within the Plante administration.
Among its objectives are highlighting major issues concerning discrimination and diversity, and identifying what practices need to be put in place.
The roundtable will be expected to make recommendations on the best ways to diversify municipal decision-making bodies. It will also look at the employment and recruitment of visible minorities in public services and their access to social housing.
The roundtable is expected to meet with Mayor Valérie Plante, or if needed, her press attaché, every two months to go over their work.
They will be expected to present a list of recommendations by December 2018. Their first meeting is scheduled for Friday at City Hall.
Plante criticized for lack of diversity in executive committee
Plante campaigned on a promise to make her administration representative of Montreal’s diversity. After the election, she was criticized for naming an executive committee that had no visible minorities.
“It’s a shortcoming, clearly, the [lack] of cultural diversity, in the city council in general,” Plante said at the time.
She pointed out that while visible minorities make up 30 per cent of Montreal’s population, that number is not reflected in city council, where only four of 65 councillors are from visible minority communities.
In an attempt to address the criticisms about lack of diversity, Plante named one of those councillors — Cathy Wong of the opposition Équipe Denis Coderre — as speaker of city council.