Equity and Inclusion
The longstanding systemic racism and other forms of discrimination in Canadian society, and in the screen industry, have been fully exposed in 2020. Systemic barriers and discrimination in Canada have prevented members of many communities to benefit from the support streams offered by the CMF and other funders, and to gain and retain control and ownership over their work.
The CMF’s mandate to “enable a diversity of voices” includes a responsibility to widen support to Canada’s talent and creators from underrepresented communities in order to amplify their voices, stories, and perspectives through content creation and exploitation.
The CMF can make significant and lasting changes over the next two years to ensure Canadian content comes from a broad cross-section of communities, offers engaging experiences from a variety of perspectives, and connects with audiences that are increasingly seeking out these compelling, authentic stories.
2021-2022 is a transition year building upon past work and targeted initiatives for some communities (women, Indigenous and racialized, OLMC etc.) and an opportunity for initial changes focused on learning, development and ongoing outreach to new communities (LGBTQ+, deaf and disabled).
- Increase access to CMF programs and reduce barriers to inclusion in the new program architecture;
- Use equity and inclusion lens to inform corporate decisions, strategy, consultation and program design to make long term and deep structural changes;
- Implement approach to data collection and analysis to support evidence-based decision-making, explore alternatives to current mechanisms for determining and rewarding success, and to track progress; and
- Build the competencies and composition of the CMF team needed to serve underrepresented communities.
Active Listening and Learning: Planning to date has been informed by community consultation that enables the CMF to ensure that the changes planned are meaningful, respectful and responsive to the needs identified by each community. This approach to community outreach and consultation will be an ongoing thread throughout this work.
Proactive vs Reactive: This strategy paves the way for the CMF to shift from a reactive to a proactive approach to responding to underrepresented communities. Making equity and inclusion a priority theme across the CMF enables staff and decision-makers to monitor industry trends and intervene early and with relevant measures.
Data-driven: Having a baseline assessment of who the CMF is reaching, funding and supporting to date and moving forward will enable this plan and its tactics to be evaluated, improved and monitored to demonstrate change.
Results-Oriented: Our work must be results-oriented, which means that specific actions are undertaken with expected changes and measurable outcomes in mind at the outset. This also means that incremental changes are built upon in order to achieve long-term success.
Internal Inclusivity: The team and culture inside the CMF, including staff, managers, board members, jury members, contractors and suppliers, must reflect the values embodied in this strategy.
Open for Business: Specific and targeted communication and outreach to underrepresented communities will be a critical component of connecting with and bringing new applicants to the CMF.
Capacity Focused: To grow the applicant pool from underrepresented communities the CMF will also need to support the stabilization of organizations that represent these communities and who support creators.
Core Strategic Elements
Operations and Management
- Integrate equity and inclusion principles with all CMF management and operations workstreams.
- Ensure representation of members of underrepresented communities across staff and supplier pools.
- Engage and provide training to staff to support equity and inclusion work.
- Advocate to increase the representation of underrepresented communities on the CMF Board of Directors.
- Ensure correct language and strong representation of underrepresented groups in all CMF communications pieces.
- Grow industry partnerships with organizations and events that enable the CMF to connect with underrepresented communities.
- Adequately support content and companies owned by underrepresented communities through targeted initiatives in 2021-22 year and in the new program architecture starting in 2022-23.
- Expand access to CMF programs by providing incentives to broadcasters and digital platforms to license and support content owned and created by underrepresented communities.
- Put in place mechanisms to ensure that CMF-supported content about under-represented communities is owned and creatively controlled by those communities.
- Consult with underrepresented communities to understand their specific challenges and develop targeted initiatives where appropriate.
- Provide sector development support to industry initiatives that support underrepresented communities.
- Support distribution, marketing, exhibition and sales channels that generate market access, export opportunities and exploitation globally for content creators from underrepresented communities.
Research and Data
- Establish a baseline by collecting disaggregated diversity and inclusion data on companies and projects funded by the CMF.
- Collect internal corporate self-identification data on staff and Board, including CMFPA, to measure changes in representation.
- Work with partners to set standards of privacy, language and best practice in diversity and inclusion data collection and usage across the industry.
- Explore new systems to track underserved audiences in Canada and abroad.