This checklist is intended as a guide to encourage members and staff who are planning CUPE meetings, workshops, conferences and other events to ensure these events are as accessible as possible, reflecting the diversity of our membership and responding to their needs.
When you’re planning a CUPE event, make sure people feel welcome and encouraged to attend and participate.
Improving access to union events will help us better reflect the diversity of our membership. It can help us broaden our base to include women and men of all races, cultures, religions, creeds and ethnic backgrounds. It will also help us reach out to members of all age groups, persons of every sexual orientation or identity, and persons with disabilities.
Here are some questions to ask when planning an event:
- Is the planning process sensitive to the diversity of the membership?
- Has the date of the event been checked to make sure it doesn’t conflict with cultural and religious holidays?
- Has an Aboriginal elder been invited to bring greetings from the First Nation where the event is taking place?
- Are members from equality-seeking groups part of decision-making about the agenda, content, speakers, etc.?
- Are there sufficient breaks planned in the agenda for members who have disabilities or other special needs?
- Are the physical facilities accessible to people with disabilities? Make sure washrooms, elevators and eating areas are part of the review. Can people get to the event by public transportation? If there is no public transit, is there car-pooling available?
- Have the needs of the participants been canvassed in advance to make sure special needs are accommodated? For example, are there special dietary needs, are materials available in alternate formats or is translation, including sign language, required?
- Has there been outreach to encourage members from equality-seeking groups to attend the event?
- Are equality goals built into the agenda, materials, process, and evaluation?
- Do the materials include information on how members from equality-seeking groups are affected by the issue being discussed? Have the equality guidelines for writing been used to prepare materials?
- Do the facilitators represent the diversity of the membership? Have members of equalityseeking groups been given opportunities for training so they can be part of the facilitation teams?
- Have the facilitators been trained in equality issues so they are comfortable raising and dealing with these issues?
- Sometimes meetings aren’t the best ways to involve members. Is there a more effective way to reach all the members on an issue?
Want to learn more? CUPE has a range of courses and resources to help you become more aware of equality issues – and more effective in ending discrimination. For more information, contact the Equality Branch at firstname.lastname@example.org.