Diversity & Inclusion

We know diversity and inclusion are our
communities’ greatest strengths.

But systemic racism, discrimination and even hatred are still a reality for many people in our region.

Context is important. We need to talk about it.

People in 2SLGBTQ+, Black, Indigenous, religious, or other marginalized communities often face harassment and challenges in accessing essential services and basic needs. Throughout their lives, they may have faced challenges from interactions at school, family relationships, workplace inclusion, or simply feeling comfortable in their own skin. 

This can result in a higher risk of mental health challenges, substance abuse, and poverty.

A photo someone standing in a city street.

Discrimination and lack of inclusion negatively affect physical and mental health.

  • Black Canadians often face systemic racism in the healthcare system, meaning the mental and physical health needs for many in African, Caribbean, and Black communities go unmet.

  • Women of colour disproportionately work in the “Five Cs:” caterers, cashiers, cleaners, clerks, and caregivers—all roles that are lower paying and have a greater risk of exposure to COVID-19.

  • Indigenous people constitute at least 30% of the homeless population in Ottawa—with the actual percentage likely being much higher than that.

  • Youth who identify as 2SLGBTQ+ face higher risks of suicide and substance abuse than heterosexual youth.

  • In recent years, Ottawa has seen a sharp rise in hate crimes and hate speech toward religious and cultural groups, Indigenous community members and more.

  • Statistics Canada says police-reported hate crimes in Ontario increased by 47% between 2016 and 2017.

Why we care

Age, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, abilities, values and beliefs—these are just some of the many differences that make up the very fabric of our vibrant region. 

Diversity and inclusion are fundamental to everything United Way East Ontario does—our work, our relationships, our actions, and our language. And even though it’s complex, at the end of the day, it’s about dignity, empathy, respect, and the right to feel comfortable in your own skin.  

We believe everyone deserves to be themselves and have the chance to be heard, included, and supported.

A photo of Penelope

United Way East Ontario helped Penelope on her path to pride.

As a transgender woman, Penelope spent the majority of her youth hiding who she really was underneath clothes that didn’t express her true self.

With help from Ottawa’s Kind Space and United Way East Ontario, she began to feel confident, comfortable and much more hopeful for the future.

A photo of a family blowing bubbles at the park.

What we do

For a community to be great, it has to be great for everyone. GenNext East Ontario is committed to fostering open and inclusive communities,  listening and learning from community leaders and members, and helping build social resilience.

We’re helping local partners across Prescott-Russell, Ottawa, Lanark and Renfrew Counties:

  • Strengthen education, advocacy and research initiatives that lead to institutional change.

  • Invest in critical programs that address the root causes of hate, violence and extremism.

  • Support 2SLGBTQ+ youth and their families on their journeys.
  • Share stories that celebrate diversity and amplify under-represented voices. 

  • Expand culturally-appropriate services and programs that can support the varied needs of racialized or equity-seeking groups.
A photo of a couple making dinner in the kitchen.

We all have a role in creating more welcoming communities.

Together, we can support initiatives that advocate for diversity, inclusion and belonging, while combating homophobia, transphobia, racism, discrimination, and other issues that prevent people from reaching their full potential.

Become a monthly donor in support of Diversity & Inclusion by joining GenNext+, and help people in our communities thrive.

GenNext East Ontario is powered by United Way East Ontario, a registered Canadian charity. All donations are processed and issued with an official tax receipt by United Way East Ontario.

We take accountability seriously.

You should feel confident when supporting a charity, and we’re committed to full transparency, accountability, and cost-efficiency. We invest your gift in smart, strategic ways, to ultimately move the needle.

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Every donation is put to work in the community where it is raised to tackle the causes you care about.

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Charity Intelligence, MoneySense & Maclean’s named United Way East Ontario a top-100 Canadian charity.

Learn more about United Way’s charity ratings and how your gift is managed.

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