City Of Abbotsford  
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Diversity and Inclusion at the City of Abbotsford

The City of Abbotsford recognizes the value of a diverse and inclusive workforce in attracting and retaining top talent at the City and in best serving and anticipating the needs of our diverse and growing community. 

As an employer, our organization remains committed to maintaining a positive, open and respectful working environment where everyone matters and differences are viewed as strengths. By fostering an environment of dignity and respect for all of our employees we will continue to build a workforce that reflects the diversity and strength of our community. 

Our internal 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Strategy sets out the following commitment:

The City of Abbotsford commits to respecting the fundamental rights, personal worth and human dignity of all members of our community and commits to acknowledging, understanding, accepting, valuing and celebrating differences among people with respect to race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or age of that person or because that person has been convicted of a criminal or summary conviction offence that is unrelated to the employment or to the intended employment of that person. This commitment helps everyone at the City of Abbotsford to celebrate differences as strengths and embrace the way in which we are interdependent.

The City’s 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Strategy will ensure the City of Abbotsford remains in a leadership role in demonstrating the values of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and in supporting an involved, safe and engaged workforce committed to customer service excellence. The updated Strategy will serve as a platform for the City in planning proactively for the ongoing changes in the economic and talent market and assist in positioning the City as an employer of choice. 

Guiding Legislation – Canada and British Columbia

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms “Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”

British Columbia Human Rights Code
Under the BC Human Rights Code, every person has the right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods, facilities, occupancy and accommodation without discrimination due to race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or age of that person or because that person has been convicted of a criminal or summary conviction offence that is unrelated to the employment or to the intended employment of that person.

Workers Compensation Act of British Columbia
Under the Worker’s Compensation Act, all employees are entitled to a workplace free from bullying and harassment. In addition to its legislation (the Workers Compensation Act), the Province through WorkSafe BC has developed policies that mandate the creation and maintenance of a respectful, harassment-free workplace. Significantly, this is not an “Employer-Only” issue: WorkSafe BC has created three different sets of policies: one for employers, one for supervisors and one for employees, including “reporting obligations” on bystanders who are aware of potential bullying/harassment of others. Together, the legislation and policies raise the bar on respect for everyone in the workplace. That is, WorkSafe BC expects all individuals, regardless of their position, to take responsibility for maintaining a respectful workplace. No one individual or group can expect another to “fix” workplace negativity or toxicity. Instead, everyone is expected to work together, in a constructive and positive manner, to resolve workplace conflict early and do whatever is necessary to prevent workplace harassment and bullying.

City of Abbotsford Guiding Policies and Practices

Abbotsford City Council Diversity Policy (A001-08)
This policy provides a framework for how the City supports and promotes a society where residents have equal opportunity to participate and where diversity is accepted and valued.

City of Abbotsford Values – 2019-2022 Strategic Plan
By living its values the City of Abbotsford strives to be an organization recognized for its excellence in city governance and employee, citizen and customer relations. To provide excellence in service delivery, we have a role in understanding our business and fostering a corporate culture that sets the highest standard of integrity, professionalism and ethical behavior. We act with character and integrity and do our best to understand the perspectives of Abbotsford residents while delivering services. 

  • Respect: We respect others. 
  • Integrity: We act with character. We are fair, ethical and honest. 
  • Openness: We are accessible, accountable and transparent. 
  • Collaboration/Teamwork: We welcome and encourage the opinions and expertise of our residents, businesses and other stakeholders. 
  • Inclusivity: We honour and celebrate our diversity and seek to engage citizens in our decisions. 
  • Trust: We continuously build trust with our staff, the community and our stakeholders. We are proactive in practicing our values.

City of Abbotsford Respectful Workplace Policy
This policy sets out procedures for responding to reports or incidents of bullying and harassment in the workplace, and ensures a reasonable response to the report or incident that aims to fully address the incident and ensure that bullying and harassment is prevented or minimized in the future.

City of Abbotsford Code of Ethics
The City’s Code of Ethics is an expression of the values held by the City of Abbotsford. The Code states overarching principles to assist all employees in determining what is right or appropriate in the decisions they make and the situations they face at work each day.

City of Abbotsford Guiding Programs and Training

  • Respectful Workplace Training
  • Ethical Conduct Training


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Diversity in Abbotsford

The City of Abbotsford is situated in the central Fraser Valley of British Columbia and covers approximately 370 squared kilometers, making it the largest municipality by area in the Lower Mainland.

Demographically, the City of Abbotsford has one of the largest populations of visible minorities in Canada next to Toronto and Vancouver, with 26% of residents born outside of Canada and more than 50 languages spoken across the community. 

According to the 2016 Census:

  • Over 50 different languages are spoken in Abbotsford
  • 52.8% of Abbotsford's recent immigrants spoke Punjabi most often at home
  • A language other than English or French is spoken in 38% of all households
  • 27.6% of Abbotsford residents were born outside of Canada
  • 32.3% of recent immigrants had a bachelor's degree or higher

Abbotsford is a diverse and growing community, and has a dynamic and vibrant business community that is continuing to expand. Our temperate climate, multi-cultural city and clean environment provide a quality of life that draws skilled creative people from around the world. View the Abbotsford Local Immigration Partnership Resources for more information.

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Initiatives and Projects:

The City of Abbotsford supports diversity and inclusion initiatives in our community and has worked in partnership with other government agencies and organizations on various projects:  

  • In partnership with Community Living British Columbia a new drop in floor hockey for individuals with diverse abilities was implemented.
  • Hosts Annual Involve Symposium with over 100 community leaders attending a full day workshop on diversity and inclusion in the community.
  • MRC pool changeroom upgrades improved recreation access to community members with disabilities.
  • The City hosted “Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples” workshops for staff and partner organizations. 
  • Created multi-lingual welcome signs in all City facilities to recognize Abbotsford’s diversity.
  • We provide translation services at City Hall.
  • Participate on various community committees including the Fraser Valley Human Dignity Coalition.
  • Support community diversity events such as the Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards and AbbyFest.​
  • Worked in partnership on the Abbotsford Indo Canadian Seniors Project, funded by the Union of BC Municipalities, in partnership with the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley. 
  • Partnered to deliver the Abbotsford Building Connections project  - In 2010, the City of Abbotsford received a grant worth $434,596 from Citizenship and Immigration Canada to implement the Abbotsford Building Connections Project. The objectives were for the City of Abbotsford to become more culturally integrated and to increase intercultural and interfaith connections at both the community and the neighbourhood level.  

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Abbotsford Local Immigration Partnership

The Abbotsford Local Immigration Partnership brings different people and organizations together, providing education, resources and support to achieve common goals. To find out more about this initiative, visit the Abbotsford Local Immigration Partnership website. 

Through strategic planning and collaborative leadership, we help members create and coordinate a range of activities and events that make life better for immigrants and our communities as a whole. We also make immigration and diversity news, documents and training tools easily accessible for everyone who wants to get involved and make a difference. 

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Diversity Resources

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