January 16, 2023

By Marie-Ève Caron, APTN Communications Coordinator   

As an organization that’s attentive to diversity issues, APTN wishes to establish more inclusive communication practices within the network. This transition will be increasingly noticeable in both our internal and external communications—especially within French documents, as French is a very gendered language and the push to make it more neutral is a relatively recent phenomenon. To ensure the smooth implementation of this process, APTN is committed to providing the necessary tools and training for staff members as well as resources and support for audiences. 

The Government of Canada defines inclusive writing as “a set of principles and techniques designed to promote inclusion and respect for diversity and to eliminate all forms of discrimination based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability or any other identity factor”. We have thus prioritized the use of inclusive writing in our texts in an effort to further evolve and improve our overall use of languages.

This decision is consistent with APTN’s collaborative culture code, “Our People. Our Culture.,” inspired by the Anishinaabe Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers. The various components of this culture code are intended as guiding principles in our conduct towards others and our surroundings. We can associate three particular aspects of our culture code with the adoption of inclusive writing practices: 

  1. Minaadendamowin – Deeper relationships (respect): We foster inclusivity and honour all communities (and identities) across Turtle Island. 
  2. Gwayakwaadiziwin – Righteousness (honesty): We hold each other accountable and align our words with action. 
  3. Aakode’ewin – Moral courage to do the right thing (courage): We are courageous in our decisions, and we listen to new ideas without judgement. 

Inclusive communication is important because it helps promote equity and diversity while helping to prevent—or at least reduce—the marginalization and discrimination of certain people. By using language that respects diversity, we create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all. Furthermore, we hope these practices will raise awareness about inclusion issues and promote positive change for people belonging to minority groups. 

Although inclusive writing practices are more explicitly relevant to the French language, certain aspects are equally important to consider in English, such as asking for a person’s pronouns rather than assuming them based on their name or appearance. If you speak French and are interested in reading about the nuances of inclusive writing in French, you can find a more detailed feature on this topic here. 

Given that this is an ongoing process, and these are our first attempts in inclusive writing, we may make errors from time to time. We thank you for sharing your feedback with us and contributing to this wave of change towards the inclusion of all.