Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism Initiatives
Yogatown has long been aware of the lack of diversity within the wellness industry, including our studios. In February, 2020 the Yogatown management team devised a formal strategy to create a more diverse and inclusive space.
Following the horrific murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 and the awareness that was created by the Black Lives Matter movement, we realized that our Diversity and Inclusion Strategy was more important than ever, and we increased our efforts.
We are committed to making Yogatown a more diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist space within our studios, with a larger goal of also leading positive and lasting change within the wellness industry as a whole.
This page will provide updates on the work that we have done and continue to do. It will be updated with the actions we have already taken and not simply good intentions or promises yet to be realized.
Our ownership and management team are committed to the ongoing work required to be a self-reflective organization that makes long-term change a priority.
Tracy, Jason, and the Yogatown Team
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives
Yogatown has undertaken the following actions to create a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist space in both our studios and within the wellness industry.
Yogatown has engaged the services of two BIPOC consultants to help us achieve our goal of creating a truly diverse, equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist workplace, with a larger goal of also leading positive and lasting change within the wellness industry as a whole.
Yogatown has consulted with and continues to receive guidance from members of the trans community and the LGBTQ community. They are helping Yogatown to understand the challenges that these individuals face and are helping us to create a space in which they can feel welcome and safe.
Yogatown is committed to achieving a minimum 25% representation of BIPOC teachers and staff. This reflects the representation of BIPOC communities in Ottawa according to the National Census.
Yogatown has proactively sought out BIPOC teachers and staff who also share our values and goals. Since committing to fair representation, Yogatown has increased the percentage of BIPOC teachers and staff on our team, however we still have work to do and will continue working diligently to ensure we reach the 25% minimum.
Yogatown previously committed $3500 annually to our annual Diversity Scholarship for aspiring teachers within the BIPOC community. We increased our commitment to over $5000 for 2020 and are excited to see this scholarship fund continue to grow in the coming years.
In early 2021, our yoga teacher training program certified two new BIPOC yoga teachers as part of this scholarship initiative.
Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Training
We at Yogatown understand that there is a lot of learning to do and changes to be made; both at Yogatown and throughout the Industry.
Our consultant-led, anti-racism and diversity workshop training is now mandatory for all employees. The is an excellent opportunity to deepen the conversation, uncover unconscious/subconscious biases and spread awareness.
We recognize the need to continue educating ourselves through workshops and other educational materials. Anti-racism resources have been made available to our staff and we will continue to regularly invest in new workshops and other educational opportunities.
Indigenous Peoples of Canada
We were heartbroken by the discovery in May 2021 of 215 children’s bodies at the site of the Kamloops Residential School in B.C.
Our hearts go out to the missing children, the families left behind, and the survivors of residential schools.
It is a disgraceful part of Canada’s story, and unfortunately the residential school system is just one of many ways in which the Indigenous peoples of Canada have been systematically undermined and persecuted.
In light of the news from Kamloops, we realized that there is so much more we need to learn about Canada’s First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people.
Our Senior Management Team have enrolled in a 12 part course through the University of Alberta, titled Indigenous Canada.
This online course is available for free to all and teaches some of the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada, the persecution they have faced, and their rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences, and stories.
This Government Of Canada website also has links to a number of resources to learn more about Canada’s First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people.
As we learn more, our Senior Management Team will explore opportunities to help educate our staff.
In the meantime, we encourage everyone to join us in learning more about the Indigenous peoples of Canada, their history, and culture though the resources noted above.
Yogatown has formally requested that all of our business support partners make anti-racism work a priority. These include private business organizations and publicly funded organizations such as the Preston Street BIA and the Barrhaven BIA.
Yogatown has had an independent website and marketing audit done to review the diversity represented in our images and messaging. We are committed to diverse representation in our marketing materials.
Yogatown welcomes Townies of all body sizes, and recognizes the importance of size inclusivity in both our classes and in the retail items we sell. Therefore, Yogatown is committed to carrying only retail clothing from manufacturers that can provide an inclusive range of sizes and marketing images that represent all body sizes.
Disability Sensitivity Training
Yogatown is committed to providing an accessible space for all, including those with disabilities. As part of this commitment, all staff, teachers, and volunteers must take mandatory sensitivity and accessibility training. This training helps the Yogatown team to best serve those with disabilities, whether they be seen or unseen, physical or mental.
Systems & Processes Audit
Yogatown has conducted an internal audit of our systems and process to identify ways we can better achieve an inclusive workplace. As a result of this audit, we have updated a number of policies and processes, including those related to staff communications, hiring, client services, marketing, and more. We will continue to evaluate and update our systems and processes on a quarterly basis.
Hiring & Team Onboarding
As part of our commitment to fair representation, Yogatown has updated our policies to mitigate for unconscious biases during the hiring process. We have also updated our staff onboarding process to ensure that employees are aware of all policies and procedures, including those that help to create a diverse, equitable, inclusive and anti-racist workplace. This includes a mandatory Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity, and Anti-Racism workshop as well as Disability Sensitivity and Accessibility Training.
Yogatown has always been committed to providing financial support to important causes within our community. In our first 10 years of business, Yogatown donated over $150,000 to a wide variety of initiatives, organizations, and charities. Our financial support of causes important to us continues, including those that work to create more diversity, equity, and inclusivity in our community.
In addition to Yogatown’s corporate financial support, we are creating opportunities for our Townies to support important organizations through our Karma Class program. Each month we will be supporting a different organization.
These pay-what-you-can, donation based classes, can be found on our regular class schedules on our website and on our Yogatown app.
For the months of September and October, 2021, all proceeds will be donated to Indspire, a national Indigenous registered charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.
More To Come
We acknowledge that this work is an ongoing process. We will continue to update this page as we take further actions towards our our company goals, with a larger goal of also leading positive and lasting change within the wellness industry as a whole.
Feedback or questions? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.