About the EDI Discussion Series

Creating equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in the public sector—where all employees feel represented, respected, and supported—is necessary to support the needs of Canada’s changing demographics. This EDI Discussion Series explores how governments can actively work to support marginalized communities and break down system barriers.

Governments in Canada have a pressing need to develop and implement sustainable and forward-thinking strategies and programs that support diversity and inclusivity in their hiring and promotions, actively combat discrimination and harassment in the workplace, and provide employees with a sense of support, respect, and value. A public service that is truly representative of Canada’s diverse populations is better positioned to understand citizens’ needs, develop citizen-centred solutions, and provide relevant and impactful services. Some progress has been made to diversify Canada’s public service and create a more inclusive and equitable work environment. However, discrimination, harassment, and systemic barriers still exist. This is a pressing matter, and we need to listen to and learn from those with lived experience to gain perspective on how to move forward.

To contribute to this important discussion and educate current and future public servants, the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS)—in consultation with its EDI Champions—has launched a Discussion Series focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion in the public sector. 

The JSGS EDI Discussion Series:
  • Features speakers from marginalized groups to share their lived experiences and recommendations on how the public sector can take action to address barriers in ending all forms of discrimination and oppression;
  • Encourages dialogue on the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the public service as a means to effectively support governments and serve all Canadians; 
  • Increases community awareness of how EDI relates to public policy and public service;
  • Frames the role of the public servant through an EDI lens (when developing policies and programs); 
  • Identifies where gaps exist in current public sector practices and procedures and help inform future directions; 
  • Encourages dialogue on sustainable change to address systemic barriers faced by underrepresented groups in public policy and public administration; and
  • Challenges biases, creates open dialogue to combat racism and identifies how those from marginalized groups can feel empowered to speak up. 

Are you interested in supporting JSGS students from diverse backgrounds, including those who identify as First Nations, Métis, or Inuit? Please consider giving to our Dan Perrins Public Policy Award.

Upcoming EDI Discussion Series Events

Click here to view the recorded lecture!


Moderated by Ramona Kyabaggu (she/her), Assistant Professor, JSGS, this event will feature commentary from:

  • Greg Linzmeyer (he/him), Director, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Public Service Commission, Government of Saskatchewan
  • Brendan Newton (he/him), Registered Psychologist, Learning Disabilities Association of Saskatchewan
  • Diandra Nicolson (she/her), Inclusive Employment Consultant, Autism Resource Centre
  • Alberto Ortiz Rosillo (he/him), Senior Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, Public Service Commission, Government of Saskatchewan
  • Christine van der Merwe (she/her), ADHD Coach, PCAC, Academic Strategist, Learning Disabilities Association of Saskatchewan


Join us at the next EDI panel discussion as we delve into the diverse spectrum of neurological variations and understand the importance of embracing them in organizational settings. Explore strategies and best practices for fostering an inclusive environment within the public service, ensuring equitable opportunities for neurodivergent individuals. Learn how embracing neurodiversity enhances creativity, problem-solving, and innovation. Discover practical approaches to accommodate diverse needs and leverage the unique strengths of neurodivergent employees. Join us to champion diversity and create a more welcoming and supportive workplace for all.


Event Details:

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

12:00 – 1:30 pm CST (Saskatchewan Time)

This event was hosted through Zoom. 

The EDI Discussion Series is proudly supported by the Max Bell Foundation.

Past Speakers


Dorothy Myo, Deputy Chief, Self-Government, MN-S Inter-Nation Relations Office

Dr. Daniel Voth, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Calgary

Moderated by Dr. Kurt Boyer, JSGS Research Chair in Métis Governance and Policy, and Assistant Professor, JSGS


About the presentation: 

Engaging effectively with Métis communities and governments is crucial for fostering inclusive and respectful policies and partnerships. Drawing from historical context and contemporary challenges, our panel of experts will explore frameworks for understanding Métis autonomy and leadership, emphasizing the importance of nuanced engagement and informed dialogue. This discussion will guide attendees on building equitable partnerships and defining what meaningful collaboration looks like. Join us to learn about building trust, recognizing diverse perspectives, and navigating through Métis governance for mutually beneficial outcomes.


March 26, 2024 / 12:00 - 1:30 pm (CST)

The EDI Discussion Series is proudly supported by the Max Bell Foundation

Moderated by Bruno Dupeyron, JSGS Professor, this event will feature commentary from:



About the presentation:

The Government of Canada announced its biggest-ever immigration plan, with 500,000 Permanent Residents (PRs) and 50,000 refugees arriving in 2024-25. Yet this number doesn't scratch the surface of Canada's increasingly complex and byzantine immigration system, comprising Temporary Foreign Workers, International Students, asylum seekers, Ukrainian CUAET visa holders, and many others. This discussion will delve into the intricate challenges embedded in Canada’s immigration system.  It will scrutinize issues such as systemic bias, the need for a more culturally responsive framework, and reducing barriers.  Join us in envisioning what an inclusive immigration system in Canada can look like.


January 17, 2024 / 12:00 - 1:30 pm (CST)

The EDI Discussion Series is proudly supported by the Max Bell Foundation

Is your workplace a safe and supportive space for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) employees? Does your organization have a strategy in place to support employees as they transition? As a manager, do you know what your responsibilities are and what resources are available to support transgender and gender non-conforming employees? Join our panelists, Kiersten Mohr and Trudy Nicolle, as they discuss how to support gender diverse employees and create a safe and welcoming workplace where transgender and gender nonconforming employees can thrive. This discussion will inspire you to drive positive and inclusive change in your workplace, which will benefit all employees.


Moderated by Jamie Mayoh-Bauche  (she/her), JSGS Instructional Designer, this event featured:

  • Kiersten Mohr (she/her), Founder and Managing Director, Terra Firma Transition Consulting
  • Trudy Nicolle (she/her), Senior Talent Management Consultant /Inclusion Lead, Government of Saskatchewan 

December 6, 2023 | 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. (CST) 

The EDI Discussion Series is proudly supported by the Max Bell Foundation

Over generations, governments and government officials played major roles in adding to the challenges and tragedies experienced by Indigenous peoples in Canada. Now, they are called to play a critical part in advancing and sustained reconciliation. They are called to examine their policies and procedures, interrogate attitudes and values, and work closely with First Nations, Metis and Inuit people in co-developing government policies and programs to reflect Indigenous values and needs, as defined by the Indigenous peoples themselves. This discussion invites two of Canada's most impressive Indigenous leaders to discuss the challenges facing government officials and policy-makers and to provide guidance on how to adjust the civil services to reflect Indigenous priorities and principles. 

Moderated by Ken Coates, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy; Fellow, Royal Society of Canada, this event featured: 

  • Cadmus Delorme, former Chief, Cowessess First Nation
  • Tosh Southwick, Co-Owner, IRP Consulting, and Change Maker

 May 17, 2023  | 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. (CST) 

The EDI Discussion Series is proudly supported by the Max Bell Foundation.

Public sector employers agree that supporting employee mental health should be a priority, but the intent and actions can sometimes be worlds apart. Join us as we discuss how employers can make mental health support for employees a priority, work to promote positive mental health in the workplace and look at what types of strategies can be implemented to remove the stigma and support those seeking mental health support.

Moderated by Jamie Mayoh-Bauche (she/her), JSGS Instructional Designer. this event featured commentary from:

  • Lindsay Coffin (she/her), Interim Associate Director of Human Capital at the Conference Board of Canada. Ms. Coffin has been involved with several projects aimed at understanding human capital trends and the evolving workplace.
  • Kabir Bhagaria (he/him), Senior Manager, Employee Health and Safety, First West Credit Union. Passionate about employee health and keenly interested in psychological safety, Mr. Bhagaria has had the privilege of working for several large organizations where he established employee health programs and launched various initiatives.

January 25, 2023 | 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. (CST)

The EDI Discussion Series is proudly supported by the Max Bell Foundation.

How can public sector organizations build organizational capacity to support those who have traditionally faced barriers? As Accessibility Commissioner, Commissioner Michael Gottheil is responsible for leading the administration and enforcement of the Accessible Canada Act, which aims to realize a barrier-free Canada by 2040. Join us as he shares how organizations can take proactive measures to identify and remove barriers to accessibility and prevent the creation of new barriers.

Moderated by Ramona Kyabaggu (she/her), JSGS Assistant Professor, this discussion included speaker Michael Gottheil.

Michael Gottheil (he/him) is Canada’s first Accessibility Commissioner, appointed under the Accessible Canada Act. Mr. Gottheil brings many years of leadership experience in the Administrative Justice sector, having previously served as Chief of the Commission and Tribunals of the Alberta Human Rights Commission, Chair of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and Executive Chair of both the Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario and the Social Justice Tribunals Ontario. A graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School, he also practiced labour, employment and human rights law for close to 20 years.

November 16, 2022 | 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. (CST)

The EDI Discussion Series is proudly supported by the Max Bell Foundation.

Working in the public sector can provide many opportunities and advantages for employees—job security, career advancement, and the opportunity to serve the public and make a change in your community. What strategies, policies, or leadership are needed to make the public service a good sector to work in for members of the LGBTQ2S+ community?

Moderated by Dr. Cheryl Camillo (she/her), JSGS Assistant Professor and former Public Policy Advocate for the Human Rights Campaign, this discussion featured panellists including:

  • Krystal Nieckar (she/her), Executive Director with OUT Saskatoon, is a white queer woman born and raised in a rural Saskatchewan town on Treaty 4 Territory. She is passionate about advocacy, front-line support, and working with the community.
  • Tyler Boyce (he/him) is the Executive Director with The Enchanté Network, a national network connecting, supporting, and advocating for nearly 200 2SLGBGTQI+ organizations, including pride centres and 2 Spirit societies. Tyler is a Kenyan and Somali Black queer public policy professional and community organizer with nine years of advocacy and leadership experience and a deep grounding in social justice, particularly as it is informed by Black queer feminist thought.
  • Malin Rozon (they/them), Education Chair with the Government of Saskatchewan Pride Alliance Network, is proudly nonbinary, trans and queer; they are engaged in gender-affirming education, advocacy, and peer mentorship. Malin was a key contributor and editor for the Gender Transition Guidelines recently released by the Government of Saskatchewan for employees.

June 1, 2022 |  12:00 - 1:30 p.m. (CST)

The EDI Discussion Series is proudly supported by the Max Bell Foundation.

What are some of the current struggles faced by BIPOC civil servants? How can governments and public sector organizations identify, disrupt, and dismantle systemic racism to build capacity and achieve equitable representation?

Moderated by Dr. Margot Hurlbert, JSGS Professor, CRC, and EDI Committee Member, this EDI Discussion Series event featured panellists:

  • Kerry-Ann Douglas-Powell (she/her), Manager of Organizational Transformation with the Government of Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate, has implemented several initiatives driving anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion in Ontario’s public sector.
  • Dr. Genevieve Fuji Johnson (she/her), Professor of Political Science at Simon Fraser University, conducts research on the gender and racialized demographics of those in governance positions in Canadian universities.
  • Mohammed Hashim (he/him), Executive Director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, has worked as a labour organizer and human rights advocate for over a decade and has dedicated his career to supporting equity, inclusion, and community empowerment.
  • Neal Kewistep (he/him), Executive-in-Residence with the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School, has spent most of his career fostering relationships with government, community-based organizations, Indigenous organizations and educators. He currently co-facilitates governance and leadership workshops with First Nation communities throughout the province.

March 16, 2022 | 12:00-1:30 p.m. (CST)

This EDI Discussion Series event was held over Zoom.

Why does diversity and inclusion matter in leadership? How is the public sector performing in terms of diversity representation? What competencies do leaders need? How can inclusive leaders cultivate a positive organizational culture and add value?

This event was held in collaboration with the Hill|Levene Schools of Business and the Edwards School of Business, and featured: 

  • Dr. Gina Grandy (PhD) is a professor of strategy and leadership, dean at the Hill and Levene Schools of Business at the University of Regina, and the lead for the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub in Saskatchewan. Her research on leadership, gender and women’s experiences at work, and stigmatized work has been published widely. Gina is active in the community with various initiatives and bodies that work to advance opportunities for equity deserving groups.
  • Lorelei Nickel (MBA) is a faculty lecturer in the Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan (USask), where her primary teaching emphasis is on ethics and strategic decision making. She is also a member of the Edwards EDI Collective and a champion of EDI at USask. In the community, Lorelei currently serves as the board chair for the Global Gathering Place, a newcomer settlement agency in Saskatoon. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021 | 12:00 - 01:30 PM (CST) 

This EDI Discussion Series event was held over Zoom.

On September 30, citizens from across Canada will observe the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation—a day to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools—and will be wearing orange in honour of Orange Shirt Day. As public servants and citizens, have you committed to responding to the Truth and Reconciliation’s Calls to Action? Join us by listening and learning about the importance of this day and the need for reconciliation in the public sector.

Moderated by JSGS Executive-in-Residence Merelda Fiddler-Potter, this EDI Discussion Series event featured His Honour the Honourable Russ Mirasty.

His Honour the Honourable Russ Mirasty, S.O.M., M.S.M., became Saskatchewan’s 23rd Lieutenant Governor in July of 2019. He is the first Indigenous person to serve in this role. Born and raised in La Ronge, Saskatchewan, His Honour is a member of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band and is fluent in Cree. He joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in 1976, and was posted to 7 provinces, performed duties in every province and territory, and participated in an exchange with Northern Territory Police Service in Australia. Following his retirement from the RCMP, Mr. Mirasty helped to lead educational initiatives and served on several boards to reduce poverty and promote community safety.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 | 12:00 - 01:30 PM (CST) 

This EDI Discussion Series event was held over Zoom.

Empowering BIPOC Voices in the Public Sector (ft. Ashley McDonald, Raquel Pasap, and April Sora)

What is systemic racism? How have governments and institutions contributed to and perpetuated racial injustice in Canada? Why is it important to have BIPOC communities represented within the public sector and how do you ensure their voices are heard and included in critical conversations?

Presented in collaboration with IPAC-Saskatchewan and moderated by Loleen Berdahl, JSGS Executive Director and Tanessa Boutin, IPAC-SK President, this EDI Discussion Series event featured panelists:

  • Ashley McDonald, Acting Director of Strategic Relations, Crowns and Agencies with the Government of Saskatchewan, has been an advocate for diversity and inclusion throughout her career and actively creates safe spaces for uncomfortable yet meaningful conversations.
  • Raquel Pasap, Nakota women from the Assiniboine First Nation known as Cega’ Kin, is the Regional Program Development Advisor and Post-Secondary Lead for Indigenous Services Canada. She has a keen interest in and focus on Indigenous policy, programs and nation-building.
  • April Sora, Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant with the City of Saskatoon, has spent the better part of her career working and volunteering in the immigrant and refugee sector in both Toronto and Saskatoon. Having worked in many roles with both federal and municipal governments, April finds strength in her Japanese Canadian ancestry and familial history.

May 26, 2021 | 12:00 - 01:30 PM (SK Time) 

This EDI Discussion Series event was held over Zoom.

JSGS EDI Discussion Series ~ Rethinking Equity

What is equity and where do you begin? Are you conscious about the decisions you make about who is at the table? Do you understand the cost of inequity in society, and the role you play as a public servant or person with authority?

Celina Caesar-Chavannes is a business consultant, coach and international speaker. She currently serves as the Sr. Advisor, EDI Initiatives and Adjunct Lecturer at Queen’s University and her book, “Can You Hear Me Now?” was recently published by Penguin Random House Canada, on February 02, 2021. She was the former Member of Parliament for Whitby, Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Parliamentary Secretary for International Development. During her term as a Member of Parliament, Celina was awarded several distinctions including a feature in the April 2018 edition of O Magazine entitled, “What would you stand up for” and named Chatelaine Magazine’s Woman of the Year (2019). She has a Bachelor of Science, an MBA in Healthcare Management and an Executive MBA from the Rotman School of Management.

April 28, 2021 | 12:00 - 1:30 pm (SK Time)

This EDI Discussion Series event was held over Zoom.