Surrey City Hall council chambers. (File photo)

Surrey City Hall council chambers. (File photo)

Surrey looks to tweak its social policy committee ‘to be more inclusive’

City council will vote on the proposed changes Monday night

The City of Surrey may tweak its Social Policy Advisory Committee, in an effort to make it more inclusive.

In a report to council, city staff recommend changing the name of the committee to the Social Equity and Diversity Committee (SEDC).

Further amendments are suggested, including changes to membership.

“It is recommended that the membership criteria be broadened in order to be more inclusive,” notes the report.”To this end, staff recommend adding volunteers that represent additional groups and other agencies in order to facilitate communication and input from representatives across the community,”

Read also: Surrey council shuffles committees, combines three into one

The recommended amendments to membership include:

• Increasing the voting membership from 15 to 16 members;

• Reducing the community members from 10 to 8;

• Including a member who represents persons with disabilities;

• Removing the age limit for the Indigenous representative;

• Including a representative from the LGBTQ+ community;

• Including two representatives from social/community organizations;

• Including three non-voting members from the Surrey Schools, Fraser Health Authority and the Homelessness and Housing Society; and

• Removing the requirement for a second Councillor representative

Councillor Brenda Locke, who chairs the committee, said its role is “really to talk about equity for all citizens so that Surrey is an equitable and safe place for all citizens, as well as people of diverse backgrounds, so that was the reason for the change. Because the committee doesn’t actually create policy – we make recommendations to council, but council is the one that actually makes the policy. It seemed like equity was more our role.”

Locke said “the reason we wanted to include other people, and specifically people that are First Nations or Aboriginal, to include those populations, the LGBTQ community, is to make sure that Surrey is open and safe and serves all citizens in this city.”

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