Rohan Thompson named as first-ever Director of People and Equity for Dufferin County

February 17, 2022   ·   1 Comments

By Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Dufferin County has announced the appointment of their first-ever director of people and equity – Rohan Thompson.

“Dufferin County aspires to be a workplace where everyone can be their authentic self, and diversity, equity and inclusion [DEI] are critical to realizing that goal. We recognize the value of diverse perspectives and lived experiences, and the importance of creating an environment that embraces and nurtures these,” said Sonya Pritchard, CAO of Dufferin County. “Rohan brings the experience and expertise required to strengthen our DEI commitment and accelerate our efforts across the organization and diverse communities we serve.”

In the newly created role, Thompson will direct Dufferin County’s DEI strategy, policies and programs as well as ensure DEI is intentionally embedded into all aspects of governance, administration and service delivery. He will also oversee core human resource areas including recruitment, learning and development, performance management and employee relations.

“I’m honoured, excited, and a little bit nervous all at the same time,” said Thompson. “When you’re the first person in a role it’s an opportunity to lay the blueprint. I recognize that this role came because of a lot of hard work and advocacy from the community, a lot conversations internally at senior staff level as well as County Council, and I want to make sure it’s honoured.”

For more than 15 years, Thompson has worked in the public sector focusing on community engagement, equity, policy analysis and program development. In the past, he’s held roles with both the City of Kitchener and Region of Waterloo and most recently served as manager of workplace equity as well as assistant director of equity and community partnerships at the Peel District School Board.

Thompson has also extended his DEI work into community involvement, serving on the board of directors for North Your Community House and supporting the organization’s new Canadian settlement programs.

Speaking with the Free Press, Thompson said the opportunity to work with Dufferin County has been on his “radar” for sometime, seeing both the population movement from the GTA and the work being done locally by leaders.

“Doing a little bit of homework on the county, it seemed to me that they were pretty serious and committed to their equity journey and doing their work,” said Thompson. “This was an opportunity to come back to where I really cut my teeth as a professional and lend my skills in the municipal setting.”

Thompson said taking on the inaugural role, he is prepared to build on the foundational work the County has begun and move forward with opportunities not yet tapped into.

Significant foundational work he noted within the County includes the establishment of the DEI committee, creating the director of people and equity as a senior level position, and the internal commitment of DEI concepts.

Specific steps for the future he added involve surveys to see staffing demographics as well as a full comprehensive employment system review to look at policies and practices related to human resources.

“Really taking a look from an equity lens to try to address any hidden barriers or systemic barriers that are preventing folks from achieving and bringing their full self to work,” explained Thompson.

Looking forward to his time serving Dufferin County and what he hopes to achieve Thompson concluded, “I want to leave Dufferin County in a place better than they started in regard to DEI.”

Readers Comments (1)

  1. Topher says:

    Not sure why Dufferin County feels they need to use our tax dollars to pay a perpetual salary to someone to “address any hidden barriers or systemic barriers”. I’m sure Thompson is a great guy, I just strongly disagree that DEI is what tax dollars should be spent on.

    What *specific* problem is this addressing? What concrete outcomes are expected?


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