The County of Grande Prairie has passed its first-ever anti-racism policy to enforce respectful and dignified workspaces.

County Reeve Leane Beaupre says the County was already applying anti-racism practices in the workplace, but the new bylaw will simply make them enforceable.

“These are the best practises that we had already been doing, this just really solidified what we’ve been doing,” she says. “It’s for people to see, it’s there for staff to know that the County of Grande Prairie is very committed to this anti-racism policy and that it’s enforceable and it’s zero tolerance.”

According to the County executive summary of the bylaw, anti-racism is defined in the motion as the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies, practices, and attitudes so that the power is redistributed and shared equitably in society.

Beaupre adds people in the County nowadays generally practice acceptable behaviour, but they’re not perfect.

“I think people, generally, there’s not the intent for racism but unintentionally, for the most part, people are not as diligent about watching what they say.”

“This is more for the employees of the County of Grande Prairie. This is an action that the County has taken with our employees and we’re just confirming the best practices that we already do. In the same breath, we will have zero tolerance for any racism within the County of Grande Prairie.”

The anti-racism policy addresses all types of racism. Employers are named responsible for ensuring that their work environment is free from discrimination, including harassment. Complaints of racism and racial discrimination will be investigated under the procedure outlined in the Protection of Workers from Workplace Violence Policy.