Corp Comm Connects

City welcomes Zincia Francis as Diversity and Inclusion Officer
Jan. 12, 2021

Following a successful public recruitment process, Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua is pleased to announce that Zincia Francis is the City of Vaughan's first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Officer and will join the City in this new role beginning Monday, Jan. 11.

This important city-building milestone comes following Council's support of Mayor Bevilacqua's June 2020 directive to create a new position to further ensure that corporate initiatives encompass diversity, accessibility and inclusion.

Ms. Francis brings with her an extensive professional background committed to equity work. Her experience also includes work in the child-welfare sector as well as addressing violence against women and children. Ms. Francis has been a driving force in achieving equitable outcomes for children, youth and families, focusing on anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism. She has also led equity initiatives delivering services to Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Questioning/Queer+ (2SLGBTQ+) children and youth, contributing to many other diversity- and inclusion-related initiatives.

In this new senior-level, full-time role residing in the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Ms. Francis will lead the organization's diversity and inclusion activities, provide strategic guidance and advise on policies, processes and procedures related to diversity. Reporting directly to the Chief Human Resources Officer and supported by the existing Accessibility and Diversity Co-ordinator, she will also help facilitate a renewed mandate for the Human Resources department, attend meetings of the City's Senior Leadership Team and support the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.

This announcement builds on the City's commitment that all Vaughan community members are heard, appreciated and valued. On Nov. 25, 2020, a Special electronic-participation Committee of the Whole meeting was held to address racism issues and raise awareness about the City's diversity, inclusion and anti-racism efforts. The ideas exchanged during that meeting are helping to inform further the work of Council's Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.

January 2021 marks the first anniversary of when Mayor Bevilacqua signed the Vaughan Inclusion Charter in support of the Inclusion Charter for York Region. The Charter reaffirms Council's goal of Active, Safe and Diverse Communities as outlined in the 2018-2022 Term of Council Service Excellence Strategic Plan. In 2019, Council approved the Vaughan Inclusion Charter to support the Inclusion Charter for York Region, which is a community initiative to create a fair and equal environment for all. Staff continue to develop an Inclusion and Diversity Framework, and an Inclusion Charter Committee was established consisting of staff to develop this framework.

On Oct. 25, 2020, Mayor Bevilacqua presented the Hon. Jean Augustine, Canada's first female African-Canadian Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister, with the Key to the City during a virtual ceremony. During that same event, the complex consisting of the Rosemount Community Centre, the City Playhouse Theatre and Westmount Collegiate Institute and the district park were formally named the Jean Augustine Complex and Jean Augustine District Park in her honour.

On June 16, 2020, Council also unanimously supported Mayor Bevilacqua's Member's Resolution in a Committee of the Whole (2) meeting calling for the August Civic Holiday, known as Benjamin Vaughan Day, to be renamed in honour of John Graves Simcoe - the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and a leading proponent of the Act Against Slavery.

With a continued focus on supporting an inclusive community, in March 2019, the City became the first municipality in Canada to endorse the Leadership Accord on Gender Diversity. Developed by Electricity Human Resources Canada, the Accord is a public commitment by organizations to promote the values of diversity, equality and inclusion. The values set out in the Accord present a vital opportunity to guide the City's efforts throughout the 2018 to 2022 Term of Council and beyond. Of note, the Accord sets out a series of driving principles on policy and governance, education and workplace readiness, and recruitment and retention practices.


"I would like to congratulate Zincia Francis on becoming the City's first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Officer. I championed the creation of this new leadership position to signal to the entire community Vaughan's unwavering commitment to ensure the city remains an inclusive, dynamic and thriving community. We take great pride in providing an exceptional quality of life. Everyone is encouraged to reach their full potential, actively participate in civic life and be treated with respect, dignity and freedom from discrimination. With the support of Ms. Francis as the Diversity and Inclusion Officer, we will continue moving our city forward without leaving anyone behind."

- Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua

"I look forward to welcoming Zincia Francis to the City of Vaughan as a valued member of our team. Ms. Francis will have the full support of myself as City Manager and the entire Senior Leadership Team -Executive. Working together, we will ensure the mandate of this new role delivers on Council-approved directives and advances the corporation's commitment to Service Excellence. I would like to recognize further all members of the administration who were involved in the development and recruitment for this role."

- Jim Harnum, City Manager

"I am excited to join the City of Vaughan as the new Diversity and Inclusion Officer. I want to recognize Mayor Bevilacqua for his leadership that championed the creation of this position. I look forward to learning from and engaging in meaningful dialogue with the community to achieve diversity, inclusion and equity goals collaboratively. I welcome the opportunity to advance Council-approved initiatives, including the 2018-2022 Term of Council Service Excellence Strategic Plan. It is my privilege to join a team of passionate, committed and dedicated professionals who remain committed to building a future where diversity, inclusion, equity and accessibility is a priority."

- Zincia Francis, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer