By Aimee Nkoghe, Directorate of Human Rights and Diversity (DHRD) –
Most people think a positive space is a physical environment where you can talk, but what this program teaches is acceptance of others.
Two years ago a Positive Space Program was created to assist Defence Team members foster a more inclusive workplace. Understandably, we all want to work in a place where we can bring our authentic selves to work and feel comfortable doing so, but how do we contribute to such an environment?
Here’s how: prioritize the respect of each and every individual member of the Defence Team for what they contribute: skills, knowledge, perspectives and every other element of a person’s identity that makes them unique.
Over the last two years almost 500 Defence Team members across Canada and internationally have participated in Positive Space training on 25 Bases/Wings to help foster supportive and inclusive workplaces. There are more than 200 ambassadors trained and available to help use effective listening, empathy and strength to make people feel fully themselves without any fear or prejudice.
The Positive Space Program works in collaboration with the Defence Team Pride Network, which collaborates and consults on program content, structure, and delivery, in addition to assisting local Commanders with needs assessments. This collaboration helps develop a stronger cultural literacy on the history, identity, stories, challenges and victories of LGBTQ2+ persons and communities. It increases overall awareness of LGBTQ2+ issues within workplaces and positively enhances the entire work experiences within the Defence Team by creating a safer, more open minded environment for all.
The Positive Space Program offers one-hour, three-hours and two-day training sessions to help create a safe and inclusive workplace for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. It’s done through a volunteer and peer-based support network. Here is a rundown on what is offered:
- Positive Space Information Session – a one-hour interactive presentation which provides an overview of the program and LGBTQ2+ issues. This presentation helps to increase general awareness. It is open for all Defence Team members.
- Positive Space Ambassador Workshop – a three-hour workshop for volunteers who would like to become Positive Space Ambassadors of workplace inclusion. It enables them to offer support, raise awareness, and post identifiers to designate both themselves and their workspaces as safe.
- Positive Space Ambassador Train the Trainer – two-day classroom training provided to volunteers who can become Positive Space Instructors who will then be able to instruct all three portions of the program. Training includes discussions, testimonials and practical activities which result in a national qualification.
Instructors, ambassadors, volunteers and allies welcome everyone equally.
Maximum participation across the Defence Team is recommended because through dialogue, education and leadership support we will help create safer, more inclusive workspaces that realize our full potential.
CANFORGEN 079/20 Dated 18 June 2020 has more information about the program and who is responsible for coordinating training sessions:
Toolkits for leadership, ambassadors and instructors are available at: http://intranet.mil.ca/en/res/diversity-employment-equity.page
Contact a positive Space Ambassador in our area:
Questions can be addressed to:
This post is also available in: Français (French)