The A to Z of Healthy Communities: I

The A to Z of Healthy Communities: I

Oct. 16, 2018 in Tools

Together with Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition, we bring you the A to Z of Healthy Communities—a collection of terms you'd find in the Healthy Cities movement. Read the whole alphabet here.


I is for Inclusion

Inclusion creates the conditions for all community members to fully participate in society. A healthy community is an inclusive community; inclusion is vital to health and well-being. By ensuring equitable access to resources and decision-making power, we create a better society for all.

Defining Inclusion

Social inclusion is “the process of improving the terms on which individuals and groups take part in society—improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of those disadvantaged on the basis of their identity.” It is aimed at creating conditions which enable the full and active participation of every member of the society in all aspects of life, including civic, social, economic and political activities, as well as participation in decision-making processes.


Why is inclusion important?

Inclusion is vital to health and well-being; we all need to feel we belong and are valued by others. We have a right to be treated fairly and equitably. We also need to be actively involved in making decisions that will affect us, and ensure that our needs and interests are being addressed. However, we live in a diverse and changing society, in which barriers exist at all levels that result in the inequitable treatment of some individuals and groups. A healthy community is an inclusive community, in which thoughtful efforts are made to ensure that all residents have equitable access to resources and are represented in decision-making bodies. 


Overcoming Barriers to Inclusion

Efforts to become more inclusive must start with reflecting on our own attitudes and behaviour, analyzing organizational policies and structures and identifying barriers. Often these can be grouped into four categories: not enough time, resources, knowledge or support. However, with strong leadership and commitment, progress can be made. Ensure inclusion strategies are prioritized in your organization’s strategic plan, and consider writing in a budget line for inclusive activities in funding proposals. Education doesn’t have to be formalized; you can learn from each other if you have a safe and supportive environment. Look for opportunities to partner with other organizations with similar goals to share ideas and resources.

View or download the shareable PDF for more helpful information and resources on inclusion, and the role it plays in creating healthy communities.