WINDSOR, ONT. -- A new task force made up of community leaders has been formed to help tackle inclusion and diversity within Windsor-Essex businesses and government.

The Diversity and Inclusion Task Force met with Ahmed Hussen, minister of families, children and social development on Tuesday to plan and implement strategies for the area.

“Through the Workforce Initiatives Network (WIN), our goal is to mobilize change, by creating a task force aiming to empower, and support Windsor-Essex communities to lead the changes they want to see in the pursuit of greater diversity, inclusion and cultural representation,” Nour Hachem-Fawaz, President and Founder of Build a Dream and task force member said in a news release.

The region’s first community-driven grassroots diversity and inclusion task force will work toward supporting and leading initiatives that focus on creating an inclusive, equitable and sustainable community.

With Windsor-Essex recognized as one of the most culturally diverse communities in the country, the group asks the question, "why aren’t more people of colour, represented in leadership roles in business, organizations and government?"   

“These issues have been discussed for years. We are looking forward to being part of the solution in our community,” said task force member and resident of the Essex County Black Historical Research Society Irene Moore Davis. “Barriers to the full spectrum of employment opportunities, income equality, and leadership roles continue to affect Black and racialized Canadians, Indigenous people, women, newcomers, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ2S+ community.”

Some of the goals of the group include enhancing awareness of local issues, creating advocates, cultivating individual and neighbourhood leadership, supporting organizations and government to strengthen diversity, among others.

“Based on our collective shared experiences – we feel that a grassroots effort begins with each organization’s own people,” Arms Bumanlag, task force member and communications director with Erie Shores Healthcare, said. “Diversity needs to be authentic, a priority and engrained into the DNA of the organization, to be truly effective.”