Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

In Fall 2020, the OFO Board made a committment to support increased equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within OFO and its activities. We recognize that this is an ongoing and long-term committment.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

OFO has formed an Equity, Diverisity and Inclusion Committee or EDI Committee. Its purpose is to advise the Board and recommend steps which OFO can take to foster EDI within OFO and its activities.

Members of the committee represent many perspectives from the nature, birding, and social justice communities: youth, adult, BIPOC, LGBTQ, birders from different areas in Ontario, experienced birders, new birders, and people with professional backgrounds in EDI.

OFO membership is not a prerequisite for sitting on the committee. If you are interested in joining the committee, please contact Jack Alvo, Committee Chair at diversity@ofo.ca.

OFO Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion - A Living Document

A) OFO recognizes that:

  • OFO recognizes that discrimination exists in our society in many forms.
  • As set out in Ontario’s Human Rights Code, discrimination may be related to race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status or disability.
  • OFO recognizes that barriers make it difficult for some people to enjoy nature and participate in OFO field trips and other activities.

B) OFO strongly believes that:

  • There should be no place for discrimination in society or in the birding community at large. OFO wants all birders to feel safe and comfortable belonging to, and participating in, birding organizations and associated events.
  • OFO has a responsibility to be a safe, inclusive, equitable and accessible organization. Identifying and removing barriers to participation in OFO's activities, to the best of our capacity, will facilitate ongoing diversification of the membership.
  • The benefits of diversifying our membership include greater support for conservation through education, stewardship, a shared joy in nature and a broader base for community science.

C) OFO’s Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion:

  • OFO welcomes all people with an interest in birds to join our organization and enjoy birds with us.
  • OFO aims to promote a safe and welcoming environment where our differences are acknowledged and celebrated.
  • OFO aspires to be an organization free of all forms of discrimination, in which the dignity of all participants is respected.
  • OFO will work to identify and remove organizational barriers which limit the diversity of our membership and participation by under-represented communities.

D) Action Plan

To actively foster and increase the diversity of our membership and enhance inclusion and equity:

  • We have designated a Director to be responsible for OFO’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (“EDI”) initiatives.
  • We have created an EDI Committee, reporting to the Board, to help guide these initiatives. This Committee includes and consults with birders from communities currently under-represented within OFO.

We also commit to the following actions:

  • Strengthen our mission statement by committing to EDI.
  • Implement actions, based on recommendations from the EDI Committee, that lead to greater equity, diversity and inclusion at all levels of our organization including the leadership and other volunteers, as well as the membership at large.
  • Identify and work to remove barriers to participation in our events which limit diversity.

E) What can you do?

  • All members have a role to play in ensuring that our organization is welcoming, inclusive and accessible to a wide audience. We encourage OFO members to engage with other participants at OFO trips or events.

Please email diversity@ofo.ca if you have any thoughts or ideas you would like to share with the Board and EDI Committee.