Inclusion for All: A Canadian Roadmap to Social Cohesion Insights from Structured Conversations
The social cohesion consultations with experts and practitioners identified broad agreement about the elements of social cohesion and the issues of concern. Participants said that a cohesive society is an inclusive society with a web of bonds and connections facilitating participation. They further said that such a society requires public spaces, institutions, and programs that act as bridges across distance and difference. The concrete and measurable elements of social cohesion and related social policy issues identified, provide a blueprint that make it possible to track trends in the relevant social conditions and assess how we are doing in building the inclusive Canadian society we want.
Several social conditions were identified as central to understanding Canada’s future social cohesion challenges. These rapidly evolving areas warrant policy research and action:
- participation, citizenship, and governance;
- income distribution, equity, inclusion, and access;
- immigration, integration, and respect for all forms of diversity;
- capacity building in Aboriginal communities;
- peace, safety, and security; and information technology, the new economy, globalization and integration.
The consultative process engaged partners across government, academia and community organizations. The framework proposed herein calls for enhanced connections between policy research and front-line practices in this area. By identifying how community-based and front-line agencies are building social cohesion from the ground up, policy makers can better understand how to link those initiatives with those which originate with government in order to enhance capacity. These consultations provide a blueprint or shared understanding for departments to come together to address their policy research needs as well as a source of advice on research approaches and potential collaborators across the three sectors.
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