Building Community

A welcoming and inclusive community is a community where we feel safe, respected, and comfortable in being ourselves and expressing all aspects of our identities. It is a place where everyone shares a sense of belonging with other members. It is where our diversity is respected. It is home.

What is Integration?

Integration is focused on facilitating the process new community members experience beyond settlement. It includes seeing themselves and being seen as contributors and feeling welcome to be themselves in many contexts.

What is Inclusion?

Inclusion is appreciating and valuing human differences by creating an atmosphere that promotes a sense of belonging where everyone feels respected and valued for their uniqueness. In an inclusive environment each person is recognized and developed, and their skills are routinely utilized. In an inclusive environment, people are valued because of, not in spite of, their differences so everyone can fully participate and thrive.

What is Belonging?

Welcoming and inclusive communities recognize the creativity and innovation that arise from bringing different cultural perspectives together and cultivating the unique contributions of all. Belonging is the feeling of security and support when there is a sense of acceptance and where an individual can bring their authentic self. Creating genuine feelings of belonging for all is a critical factor for meaningful engagement in life and work.

Developing our Cultural Competence

We often think that we are welcoming and inclusive individuals or communities but fail to understand what that means on a deeper level. We do not always realize that our personal understanding and experience heavily influences how we see the world around us, whether it is fair or unfair, equal or unequal, welcoming or hostile.

Cultural competence means being aware of our own cultural beliefs and values and interacting with people from other cultures in a way that respects and honours theirs.

We all want a home where we belong and are not discriminated against for what we know and believe, which means we must challenge our own understanding so that our thoughts and behaviours show others that they, too, are welcomed in our Pembina Valley home.

When we are better informed, we can avoid discriminating attitudes and behaviours.

Download the full Guide & Toolkit to learn more:

  • Understand how needs must be met for newcomers to feel comfortable in a new home
  • Explore ideas of what it really means to be welcoming and inclusive 
  • Discover what a welcoming and inclusive community looks like
  • Determine where you are on the cultural competence spectrum
  • Build your cultural competence