The 50 – 30 Challenge

What Works Toolkit

Your Diversity Advantage

Welcome to the What Works Toolkit!

The What Works Toolkit is an online toolkit, designed for Canadian organizations looking to adopt equity and diversity initiatives within their organizations. It includes tangible actions organizations and individuals can take, resources designed to set out policies and approaches for recruitment, mentorship, promotion, and retention of board members and employees, as well as anti-racism, anti-harassment, and inclusive workplace strategies, and other related relevant activities and initiatives. The toolkit also features examples from Canadian organizations, profiling diversity successes.

Who is this Toolkit for?​

The 50 – 30 Challenge is for all of Canada, and the What Works Toolkit is for all Canadians.

Every person has a role to play in building a strong, diverse, and inclusive economy. Whether you are a leader within a corporation, an owner of a small business, a manager within a not-for-profit organization, or a part-time employee, the What Works Toolkit has been designed to support you in your efforts to start the conversation, build inclusive, collaborative spaces, source the country’s best talent, and champion equity within your workplace so that all Canadians have the access and opportunity to drive innovative impact.

Together, let’s build a Canada that harnesses the power of our diversity and where every person belongs.

What Works Toolkit Development Process

The What Works Toolkit was developed from December 2021 to June 2022. The contents of each of the tools were built out through various forms of data and insight collection, including:

  1. Community Empathy Workshops: Several rounds of stakeholder workshops were conducted, with English and French participants. Participants included Ecosystem Partners, 50 – 30 Challenge Partners and community organizations. Insights were collected on the needs of priority groups, tools that organizations across Canada needed and feedback on the initial stages of the toolkit.
  2. Stakeholder Interviews: One-on-one interviews were conducted with select organizations and Canadian subject matter professionals in order to gain a deeper understanding on specific needs and realities within Canada. Interviews aided in adding detail and relevance based on the experiences of real Canadians and Canadian organizations.
  3. Leading Practice Research: Thorough primary and secondary research was conducted to ensure that the tools are evidence and fact based. Leading practice research provided a deeper understanding to the complexity of the equity, diversity and inclusion journey as well as practical actions that organizations can take.

Through each of these channels, the What Works Toolkit contents were adapted to include key priority group, organizational size, organizational maturity, regional and industry considerations. The What Works Toolkit has been designed to be relevant to organizations across Canada and support their commitment to the 50 – 30 Challenge.

How to Use the What Works Toolkit

How can I get started?

The What Works Toolkit offers resources, supports and leading practices to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion within your organization.

There are many ways to use the What Works Toolkit based on your needs and priorities as an organization. To begin the game, it is recommended to start with the Mapping Your Journey to 50 – 30 tool.

Why start with Mapping Your Journey?

  • The tool contains an interactive map with tiles that lead to specific sections of relevant information within the other tools.
  • Using the map as a guide, you can think about strengths and opportunities you want to address within your organization and select the tiles that are most relevant to your needs.
  • You will be introduced to key terms and concepts, such as Psychological Safety, and learn about their importance in achieving the 50 – 30 Challenge.
  • Completing all of the tiles within this tool will provide you with a better understanding of how to promote a culture of belonging for everyone.


If you prefer to read a tool in full or know which specific tool you want to explore, you can access the tools digitally or download your own PDF copy. The tools you can select from are:

  • 10 Actions You Can Take
  • Starting the Conversation
  • Talent Processes Tool
  • Board and Leader Guidebook
  • Guide to Sustaining Organizational Change


To access the tool digitally, hover over “Toolkit” on the website toolbar to access a drop-down list of each of the tools.

To download a PDF of the tool in English or French, select “Toolkit” from the website toolbar to reach the “Access All Tools” page.

Alignment with the Publicly Available Specification (PAS) ​

It is important to note that terminology is ever evolving and may not be reflected in external links and resources throughout the What Works Toolkit. The terms used within the toolkit align with the Publicly Available Specification (PAS) document developed by the Diversity Institute, and sponsored by the Standards Council of Canada in support of the Government of Canada’s 50 – 30 Challenge. Section 3.1 in the PAS defines Equity-Deserving Groups as follows:

3.1 Equity-Deserving Groups

The Challenge’s equity-deserving groups include those identifying as: Racialized, Black, and/or People of Colour (“Visible Minorities”), People with disabilities (including invisible and episodic disabilities), 2SLGBTQ+ and/or gender and sexually diverse individuals, and “Aboriginal” and/or Indigenous Peoples. The program and participants recognize First Nation Peoples, Métis Nation, and Inuit as founding Peoples of Canada and under-represented in positions of economic influence and leadership.

Please refer to the PAS for additional information on the 50 – 30 Challenge as well as tools and resources for your organization.



Microaggression is defined as: “A comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group” – Source: Merriam Webster



Unlearning is defined as: “To make an effort to forget your usual way of doing something so that you can learn a new and sometimes better way” – Source: Cambridge Dictionary



Intersectionality is defined as: A framework for understanding how different aspects of a person’s social and political identities (e.g., gender, race, class, sexuality, ability, physical appearance, etc.) combine to create unique modes of discrimination and privilege. Intersectionality identifies advantages and disadvantages that are felt by people due to this combination of factors – Source: Kimberlé Crenshaw, TIME



Privilege is defined as: “The unfair and unearned advantages individuals are granted for having, or being perceived to have, social identities that align with those deemed to be superior according to societal rules and norms. It is often experienced as an absence of barriers related to a particular social identity (e.g., White privilege, straight privilege)” – Source: Egale


Safe Space

Safe Space is defined as: “A place intended to be free of bias, conflict, criticism, or potentially threatening actions, ideas, or conversations” – Source: Merriam-Webster

Safe spaces allow individuals to feel comfortable having brave and honest conversations.


Emotional Tax

Emotional Tax is defined as: “The combination of feeling different from peers at work because of gender, race, and/or ethnicity, being on guard against experiences of bias, and experiencing the associated effects on health, well-being, and ability to thrive at work” – Source: Catalyst



Tokenism is defined as: “Performative policies that ostensibly promote diversity or equality (placing women or diverse groups in leadership positions), but do not truly have a positive impact on the workplace. Tokenism isn’t progressive, and it especially causes harm to tokenized individuals, causing extra pressure to succeed due to being perceived as representative of a group and often leaving them in an alienating work environment” – Source: Catalyst


Psychological Safety

Psychological Safety is defined as: “An environment that encourages, recognizes and rewards individuals for their contributions and ideas by making individuals feel safe when taking interpersonal risks. A lack of psychological safety at work can inhibit team learning and lead to in-groups, groupthink and blind spots” – Source: Gartner