Ottawa police take diversity survey to the next level

Organization probes family life, sexual orientation, level of education
By Uyen Vu
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 07/10/2007

When employers conduct diversity surveys, many take their cue from employment equity laws and draft self-identification surveys. These typically ask employees to check a box if they belong to one of four groups: women, visible minorities, Aboriginals or people with disabilities.

Some employers, however, are taking diversity surveys further. At the Ottawa Police Service, the 2005 Workforce Census goes beyond the level of detail seen in most other surveys. In 28 questions, the survey asks the police service’s 5,000 employees about an array of issues including how they spend time outside work, what dependants they have to care for, what training they’ve obtained and what training they continue to obtain.

The survey reflects the thinking at Ottawa Police Services that there’s more to diversity than the representation of four designated groups. The way the police service conceptualizes it, the diversity initiative is part and parcel of the strategy to be “employer of choice for all.”