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Equity and engagement work have often been considered separate priorities within CYMHA. Multiple resource constraints and time pressures often create false choices between equally worthwhile endeavours. In actuality, the purpose, goals, processes and intended outcomes of equity and engagement work often overlaps, creating opportunities for more effective and efficient planning that results in a greater and more meaningful impact on programs, services and systems.

This hands-on workshop will build participant capacity for practicing equitable youth and family engagement. This workshop is suitable for all audiences including, youth and families, direct service staff, decision makers and researchers.

The learning objectives of this workshop are:

  • Understanding the ways that equity and engagement values, approaches and practices are complementary rather than competing – providers don’t have to choose one or the other
  • Understanding inequity within engagement (i.e. who has been engaged historically, how engagement practices can be exclusionary)
  • Integrate values-based strategies for engagement and equity
  • How to use engagement quality standards and helpful tools (i.e. Engagement Ladder, Youth engagement traffic light)
  • How to better engage those whose voices have been historically missing
  • Creative and efficient strategies for equitable engagement practices

The interactive format of this capacity-building workshop includes facilitated ‘knowledge bursts’ linked to small group activities, dialogues, and networking/knowledge exchange. Participants will leave with an understanding of how to approach engagement work with an integrated equity and engagement lens. All activities will be offered with accessibility in mind and a choice of tech-based and no-tech options for participation.


Louise Murray-Leung (she/they) is a family member with lived experience and an enthusiastic engagement professional committed to meaningful partnership and values-in-action approaches that are inclusive, anti-oppressive and centred in lived/living experiences. She brings expertise in youth and family engagement, social justice and collaborative system change to work she is involved with. Louise is a member of both the Knowledge Institute on Child and Youth Mental Health and Addictions’ Family Advisory Council and McMaster University’s Co-Design Hub team. Louise is also a volunteer peer support leader with PCMH, Children’s Mental Health Ontario’s Family Partnership Program. Louise loves to spend time with her family, read novels that make her think and ride her bike on hilly country roads.

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