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Keynote speaker and panelists announced for the first session of Niagara Region’s Seat at the Table program

Niagara Region’s Seat at the Table program is gearing up for the first session, taking place virtually on Thursday, April 7 at 6 p.m. Women and gender diverse people from across all 12 local municipalities are encouraged to register for the first session on Niagara Region’s website.

Niagara Region’s Seat at the Table program aims to address barriers that women and gender diverse people face when running for municipal office, while also improving the environment once elected. Despite being just over half of the Niagara population, women are underrepresented in local government, especially in senior leadership.

Session one, ‘Municipal Government 101: Inspiration, Insight and Information’ will help women and gender diverse individuals become better informed about running for local government. It will include a keynote speaker and panel discussion with diverse women who will share their insights and experiences participating in local politics.

The Region is pleased to announce that the keynote speaker for the first Seat at the Table session is Velma Morgan. Velma is a teacher and advocate for gender and cultural diversity in politics. She is the Chair of Operation Black Vote Canada where she is the architect of the first ever-Black Community provincial leaders’ debate, Black Women’s Political Summit and Next Generation Political Summit. She has worked for four cabinet Ministers in five Ontario ministries, and is an advocate for gender and cultural representation and inclusion in government.

In addition to our keynote speaker, the first session will feature a panel discussion with April Jeffs, former Mayor of Wainfleet, Rowena Santos, Councillor in Brampton, and Liz Hay, member of Niagara Region Accessibility Advisory Committee and Diversity Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, with Regional Councillor Diana Huson as the moderator.

Whether you're considering running for municipal council in 2022 or want to support a candidate who is a woman or gender diverse, this session will provide useful information on next steps.

At the end of this session, those interested in running for municipal government can find out how to participate in the next three sessions, which focus on campaigning and entering politics.

Niagara Region is partnering with the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) Women in Niagara (WIN), City of St. Catharines, YWCA, Future Black Female, Services 4 Humanity, Muslim Senior Circle and Niagara Region’s Women's Advisory Committee to encourage more diversity in elected councils in 2022.

This initiative is funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada in partnership with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Canadian Women in Local Leadership (CanWILL) Program.


"Women in Niagara Council is pleased to partner with the Niagara Region for the Seat at the Table program to encourage more females and diverse voices to run or support those interested in municipal and local politics."
~ Grace Eldajani, Chair, Women In Niagara Council
"Services 4 Humanity represents a group of minorities. As a partner on this project, we want this program to bring a positive impact on our community. The goal is to see an increase in participation in local governments from women in minority groups and an increase in those who are elected to councils. Equal participation in leadership and politics from women is important. Active participation of women with inclusion and diversity in legislature is not only a goal but important to building and sustaining democracies."
~ Naheed Qureshi, Founder/Organizer, Services 4 Humanity

Media Inquiries

Shelby VanderEnde (media only)
Niagara Region

Cassie Ogunniyi
Manager, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Indigenous Relations
905-980-6000 ext. 3226

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