Ottawa Bluesfest

Diversity and Inclusion

We are committed to fostering an organizational culture that respects and accommodates human differences, and which also recognizes and celebrates our shared values.


Our goal is to reflect and serve the changing landscape of Ottawa’s diverse communities by expanding into new spaces in the community. By doing so, we ensure that the organization is inclusive and cognizant of barriers that diverse peoples in these spaces might face when approaching our festivals in any number of ways – as attendees, performers, volunteers, sponsors, suppliers, and staff.


To strengthen partnerships with diverse groups in the community in a nonjudgmental, transparent manner so that our festivals are accessible and inclusive of all as evaluated by our community engagement & festival attendee feedback.

Our current focus includes strengthening bonds with individuals that identify with:

  • Indigenous communities – First Nations, Inuit, Metis,
  • Racialized groups
  • Female, women, femmes
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Youth & Senior
  • Low-income earning communities
  • 2SLGBTQ+
  • Francophones
  • New Canadians

We recognize that these individuals are a part of equity seeking groups.


  1. March 2018: The first diversity & inclusion committee of the organization was formed encompassing some Bluesfest & CityFolk board members along with a few core staff. The committee strives to meet once a month to address inclusion strategies as they align with the overall organization’s strategic plan.
  2. October 4, 2018: The organization hosted a diversity and inclusion training session for internal board members and core staff with Dr. Karima Kara, a certified mediator and coach. Dr. Kara is the CEO of iexpressions and she holds a Master’s in Educational Leadership from McGill University and a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University.
  3. October 18, 2018: The organization hosted a community think tank session with over 50 individuals and representatives of organizations serving equity seeking groups in Ottawa. The objective was to facilitate partnership with these groups. It was facilitated by the City for All Women Initiative (CAWI). The outcome of the session helped the organization to identify barriers preventing equity seeking groups from participating in its festivals and to collect feedback on avenues that can be used to promote inclusion.