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Building Inclusive Tourism: Monthly Webinar Series

This monthly webinar series will provide the tourism industry with education, information, and resources on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA).

These lunch-and-learn sessions will occur on the second or third Wednesday of each month in 2024, Each session will be produced and led by a recognized expert providing thought leadership in the field of DEIA.

In 2024, we want to not just learn from experts and leaders but put our learning into practice. Throughout this year, Building Inclusive Tourism webinars will focus on sharing industry best practices, and how we can collectively create an inclusive and accessible industry for future tourism professionals. 

Building Inclusive Tourism: Upcoming Sessions

Check back for our upcoming sessions!

Past Sessions

Best Practices of DEIA In Ontario

The Spark program supports Black entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations in Ontario’s Southwest, fostering new tourism ideas and partnerships with benefits such as seed funding, mentorship, and access to a network of tourism innovators.



  • Justin Lafontaine - Co-founder | Tourism Innovation Lab
  • Dionne Bishop - Founder  | Events By Dionne
  • Kelleagh Alexander - Tourism Development Manager | SWOTC
  • Ryan Richardson - Spark Winner | GoTellSomeOne
  • Colin Grimmond - Senior Coordinator | Empowerment Squared & SWOBEN

Session Recording

Making Your Business Accessible

Attractions are businesses that are dedicated to pleasure and interest, featuring some level of cultural, heritage, and/or natural character. How can we ensure that these businesses can be used by and bring joy to everyone, including people who have a disability? What are the impacts of enhancing accessibility at attractions?

Join the webinar and hear from a broad range of panelists on the value of accessibility and tips for making your business accessible.



  • Rebecca Godfrey - Senior VP | CBRE Tourism Consulting
  • Luke Anderson - Executive Director  | StopGap Foundation
  • Troy Young - Executive Director | Attractions Ontario
  • Peter George- Chief Operating Officer | CN Tower
  • Donald Guse Salah - Inclusive Workforce Specialist | CAN WiN

Session Recording  Slide Deck

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: Honouring Truth, Expanding Knowledge and Creating Conversations

We were joined by Kevin Eshkawkogan for a learning journey, exploring the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences and histories of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.



  • Kevin Eshkawkogan - President & CEO | Indigenous Tourism Ontario


Session Recording

Importance of Building An Inclusive Labour Force

We were joined by Loren Christie, Director of Business Development & Strategy at CGLCC, and our panel: Dr. Jessica Ng, Philip Mondor, and Dr. Altaf Sovani to discuss how programs such as the Rainbow Registered accreditation offered by Canada's 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce, can act as a tool to attract and retain talent by working with businesses to certify them as safe and inclusive spaces.



  • Moderator: Loren Christie - Director of Business Development & Strategy | CGLCC
  • Dr. Jessica Ng - Director of Policy and Government Affairs | TIAO
  • Philip Mondor - President & CEO | Tourism HR Canada
  • Dr. Altaf Sovani - Founder & CEO | Alzen Consulting Inc.


Session Recording

Propelling Tourism Innovation Through Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 

We were joined by Justin Lafontaine and Annemarie Shrouder, to discuss the Tourism Innovation Lab's DEI efforts. This includes collaborations with ITO on the Indigenous Tourism Skode Program, collaboration with the CGLCC on the 2SLGBTQ+ "Spark" Program, the Kootenay Rockies Accessible Tourism "Spark" Program, and future programming to support underrepresented and marginalized groups. We learned about why DEI is important and an overview of recommendations for future Lab and "Spark" Programs.



  • Justin Lafontaine - Program Leader & Founder | Tourism Innovation Lab
  • Annemarie Shrouder - Principal & Founder | Annemarie Shrouder International 


Q&A Session Recording

Marketing & Advertising Tips

We discussed how having representation at every stage of the creative process helps to develop meaningful and impactful campaigns, that connect with consumers. This starts from the initial stages of the client and agency briefing and continues through the production phase, which includes the teams behind the camera as well.

Indigenous Cultural Integrity Advisory Committee

At the end of last year, on the Winter solstice, and the time of renewal, introduced the establishment of the Indigenous Cultural Integrity Advisory Committee. This committee's objective is to support the respectful growth of Indigenous tourism in Ontario.  The committee consists of 14 Knowledge Keepers from across the province and they are equipped with culturally respectful tools and resources to conduct business in a responsible manner.


The goal of the Committee's guidelines is to protect the knowledge, values, beliefs, and traditions of all Indigenous Peoples in Ontario while developing tourism initiatives that are in high demand. 

Join us and learn what challenges this committee will address, and what resources are available to your area of business and location within Ontario.  We know that consumers are demanding Indigenous tourism activities when traveling to and within Ontario.  This work will ensure consumers and suppliers are conducting business in a culturally meaningful and respectful manner.


Session Recording Slide Deck Q&A

50/30 Challenge for Boards

The 50 – 30 Challenge is an initiative between the Government of Canada, Canadian businesses, and diversity organizations. The goal of the program is to challenge Canadian organizations to increase the representation and inclusion of diverse groups within their workplaces while highlighting the benefits of giving all Canadians a seat at the table.



  • Dr. Wendy Cukier - Founder & Academic Director of the Diversity Institute, Academic Director of the Women Entrepreneurship Hub; and Research Lead of the Future Skills Centre

Back to School - How to Work with Post-Secondary to Support a Diverse Workforce

Join Michelle Caine, Centennial College, in a discussion with a panel of experts to discuss how one can work with Ontario post-secondary educators to hire and mentor the growing number of international students studying tourism programs.



  • Kristy Adams - Program Coordinator and Professor | Humber College
  • Michael Agema - CEO | AGEMA Work 
  • Moderator: Michelle Caine - MBA Academic Chair Hospitality Management | Centennial College

Advancing Our Knowledge - Always Learning

In January we learned the importance of why we needed to support having more Indigenous people in the Tourism Economy, in our session Enriching Tourism by Embracing the Original Hosts of the Land. How we have done in the last 5 months and what are the next steps in advancing our knowledge and understanding? ​

What does it mean? Going beyond the Land Acknowledgement?  ​

Learn alongside us as we gain knowledge by listening to the experts share how we can take the next steps in supporting having more Indigenous people in the Tourism Economy.​



  • Naokwegijig (Tim McGregor)

Job Vacancies?  Consider the Disability Talent Pool

Hiring people with disabilities isn’t “doing the right thing.”  It’s “doing the right thing for business.”  The true value for organizations doesn’t come from ticking the right boxes, but from accessing the benefits of an inclusive environment.  

The business opportunity is irrefutable. Employing people with disabilities means better performance.  There is not one industry in which people with disabilities are unable to work. There are as many opportunities as there are businesses, and you can access work-ready individuals who are prepared to positively contribute to their communities, often without extra costs on accommodations. You can broaden your pool of skilled candidates across all industries by including people with disabilities.



  • Fatima Finnegan, Vice President, Workforce Initiatives & Industry Relations | ORHMA
  • Donald Guse Salah, Program Manager for the Discover Ability Network | Ontario Chamber of Commerce
  • Meghan Phillips-Smith, Historical Researcher | Know History


Session Recording

Best Practices of Integrating DEI Principles at the DMO Level

This webinar features best practices for integrating DEI principles at the DMO level. The session begins with a presentation from Greg DeShields, Executive Director of Tourism Diversity Matters, after which Rebecca Godfrey will moderate a discussion with Explore Edmonton on the status of their journey to build a more inclusive tourism industry.



  • Greg DeShields - Executive Director | Tourism Diversity Matters
  • Paul Hawes - VP, Destination Development and Marketing | Explore Edmonton
  • Kristen Foster, CMP - Senior Event Manager | Edmonton Convention Centre
  • Moderator: Rebecca Godfrey - Senior Strategic Consultant | Destination Think!


Session Recording

LGBT+ Overview and Case Study

It's estimated that Canadian LGBT+  travellers contribute $12 billion annually to the global travel market. Learn some of the ways your business can become more inclusive to one of the world's largest travel markets by addressing the needs of both your internal team who identify as LGBT+ as well as potential LGBT+ customers. Our webinar will: 1) identify which individuals are included in this broad market, 2) address the use of inclusive language, 3) outline ways businesses can become more inclusive, 4) outline available programs to assist you and 5) will provide a case study from Destination Kingston on their journey to become more LGBT+ inclusive.



  • Loren Christie – Tourism/Hospitality Expert
  • TJ Jones - Founding Consultant | Full Picture Management
  • Allyson Tonelli - Director of Sales | Tourism Kingston


Session Recording

Better Business Discovery Process

Building better business through diversity, equity, and inclusion starts with each individual assessing the past, present, and future to identify opportunities to improve, adapt and shift. This workshop will provide the steps to conduct a discovery within your own operations and businesses to identify current gaps. You will gain insights through hearing about others’ experiences in the marketplace as we share best practice stories and examples of how adjusting your business to be more inclusive leads to better business success.



  • Niyoka McIntosh - Co-founder of Unpack Consulting; Wellness Vacation Specialist and owner of Vacation Your Way 
  • Shalene Dudley, CTA, WPICC, PMP - Lead Travel Concierge | Latitude Concierge Travels, Ltd.
  • Maria Ines - Director of Agent Experience & Loyalty, Independent | Flight Centre
  • Moderator: Maxine Gundermann - Market Sales Manager, Eastern Ontario | Celebrity Cruises, Inc.


Session Recording

DEI 101

Understanding the Narrative - Tips and takeaways for understanding how we can work together in Tourism.  What can be perceived as offensive? What are some key phrases - knowledge of language?   How can I implement this support within my own business?

Enriching Tourism by Embracing the Original Hosts of the Land - ITO partnered with MDB Insight to study the impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous tourism in Ontario and found resilience, optimism, and untapped potential.  We need to support having more Indigenous people in the Tourism Economy.  Why is this important?  What are we seeing?  Join Kevin Eshkawkogan as Kevin shares teachings, and understanding of why this is important



Session Recording

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