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.



The organization officially launched its first diversity & inclusion committee in early 2018 encompassing Bluesfest & CityFolk board members along with a few core staff. Upon the committee’s launch, Dr. Karima Kara, a certified mediator and inclusion coach, was invited to host an organization-wide diversity and inclusion awareness session. Later in the year, and in partnership with City for All Women Initiative, RBC Bluesfest hosted a community think tank session with organizations serving equity seeking groups in Ottawa. The objective was to facilitate partnerships with these groups in order to promote inclusion and belonging both at an organizational level and during its festivals. 


After the organization’s digital and in-person outreach to partner with equity-seeking groups and the organizations serving them, it undertook three immediate action plans to: diversify the content creators at its festivals including photographers and videographers, march for the first time at the annual Capital Pride Parade, and present American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation during one of the performances at the opening night of the 26th anniversary of CityFolk Festival


For all inquires/questions/comments please send them directly to Mike Rouleau