Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives often spark interesting yet complex questions that can stimulate hot debates and open up possibilities for innovative solutions. These vibrant discussions tend to take place during meeting breaks, at the end of seminars, or between ‘other’ work priorities. In today’s global world more and more of these debates are happening on online spaces. Our Tough Questions Cafe™ are meant to center these critical questions and create a safe space for people across communities, professions and perspectives to dialogue and challenge their understandings on complex DEI issues. Our inaugural Tough Questions Cafe™ was held in 2009.



Held twice a year in Peel region, the public is invited to gather, listen, and dialogue over a current and relevant diversity, equity, and inclusion ‘tough question’. RDR invites forward-thinking panelists representing contrasting points of view on a selected tough question, and a skilled moderator to facilitate the conversation. Once the viewpoints have been presented, the moderator facilitates a dialogue among all those present. At the end of each dialogue, attendees have the opportunity to suggest questions for the next Café. This event is free, open to the public and made accessible.

To learn more about our Tough Questions Café model read our Shifting Community Understandings Through Conversation: A White Paper on the Tough Questions Café Model available in the E-Resource library.


Individuals from the community are invited to gather and discuss a ‘tough question’ related to equity and diversity. These dialogues organized by the Regional Diversity Roundtable will feature forward-thinking speakers, representing contrasting viewpoints on the question, and skilled moderators to foment engagement. At the end of each dialogue, those present will have the opportunity to suggest questions for the next Café.


Check back in the fall for our upcoming café!


Each Café is open to members of the community with an interest in equity and diversity issues. Human Service and non-profit sector professionals are encouraged to attend.

The Regional Diversity Roundtable held its first Café on Wednesday March 4th 2009.


Poverty in Peel: Is it Effectively Addressed for All?

January 26, 2017 | 5:30pm – 8:30pm | Region of Peel


In its 2015 study titled “What are the Hardest Places to live in Canada”, which examined several socio-economic indicators, such as median household income, level of education, food insecurity, and unemployment rate, the Mowat Centre ranked Peel Region as the 12th best place to live out of 117 regions in Canada. This ranking paints a picture of a region whose communities are thriving. However, other recent research studies and investigative reports reveal that 15% of the population in Peel is living in poverty and that marginalized and vulnerable communities are disproportionately impacted; that is 20% of children, 18% of people with disabilities,18% of the Black community and 33% of newcomers and immigrants are living in poverty. Peel also has the second highest youth unemployment rate in the GTA at 18.9%. Poverty manifests in different ways for various Peel communities and is a result of intersecting and changing social, systemic, and global issues. While efforts that aim to mitigate and eventually eradicate poverty in the region have been increasing, the percentage of people across communities who are falling into the poverty trap has also been increasing. The question is whether the proposed solutions have been effective in addressing poverty for all segments of the Peel population?

In this Tough Questions Café explore with us the following questions:

  • How is poverty manifested for various communities in Peel region? Whose poverty is visible/invisible?
  • With increasing poverty reduction initiatives over the years, why has the percentage of people in poverty continued to rise?
  • Do current poverty reduction efforts effectively address the needs of diverse communities in Peel? What other strategies/approaches can we employ?
  • What impact do inadequate solutions to poverty have on individuals, communities, and the Region as a whole?
  • Are poverty services coordinated?
  • Who are the key players?
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  • Systemic Oppression in Peel: Perception or Reality? Download Flyer
  • Freedom of Speech or Freedom to Offend: What Can We Say/Publish in a Multicultural Context? Download Flyer
  • Peel’s Arts and Culture: Canadian enough, eh? Download Flyer
  • How do we resolve increasing challenges to putting theory and policy into practice? Download Flyer
  • Competing Human Rights: Is it a win/win or a win/lose situation? Download Flyer
  • Across the Care Continuum: Can a health care system really be effective without the support of ethno-specific organizations? Download Flyer
  • Is Homophobia the New Racism? Download Flyer
  • Accommodations in the Workplace: Mental Health & HIV/Aids – Do we have the right to know? Privacy or Disclosure? Download Flyer
  • Religious Accommodations in the Workplace: Do we really have to? Download Flyer
  • Culture Matters Download Flyer
  • Equal Societies: Imagine That Download Flyer