City partnering with YWCA to improve equity and inclusion in the community planning process

Last updated: December 7, 2023

The City of Burnaby is utilizing new training and resources from community partners to build more equitable and inclusive community plans that reflect the needs of the diverse communities in the Edmonds, Royal Oak and Cascade Heights neighbourhoods.

Burnaby is one of the first municipalities in B.C. to partner with the YWCA City Shift initiative to apply a Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) framework to a community planning process. This work is also supported by the REACH-Cities initiative led by Dr. Meghan Winters of Simon Fraser University (SFU), which works to foster increased gender and social equity in our cities. Burnaby is participating in both initiatives via the Civic Innovation Lab, a non-profit co-founded by SFU and the City to accelerate research and learning collaborations between the two institutions. 

“It’s important to recognize that people of different ages, abilities, gender identities and backgrounds have vastly different experiences and needs in a community,” said Mayor Hurley. “Applying the GBA+ framework to our community plan process will help us truly live up to our promise of building sustainable, inclusive and livable communities.”

During the Phase 1 consultations for Edmonds, Royal Oak and Cascade Heights, staff took additional steps to apply GBA+ strategies including:

  • ensuring the online survey and project website was available in six languages,
  • organizing open houses during evening hours to make the events as accessible as possible,
  • selecting open house locations near community and transit hubs, and
  • altering the open house format to allow attendees to learn and engage with the material at their own pace.

With Phase 2 of the Edmonds, Royal Oak and Cascade Heights Community Plans set to launch next year, City staff will apply lessons learned from a recent GBA+ training session hosted by YWCA City Shift. Phase 2 will focus on developing detailed draft plan directions stemming from the in-depth preliminary public consultation and input which occurred over the summer. Community members will be engaged again in late 2024 to provide further input on the finalized draft plans.

"The City of Burnaby is a leader in equity, diversity, accessibility and inclusion and we are thrilled that they are taking this next important step,” said Erin Seeley, CEO of YWCA Metro Vancouver. “We look forward to working with other cities in the region to follow this example so that the communities we build incorporate the needs and priorities of all residents.” 

Learn more: 

Edmonds Town Centre Community Plan 
Royal Oak Urban Village Community Plan 
Cascade Heights Urban Village Community Plan

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