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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Northern Lights College has taken on the 50-30 Challenge and is looking to make the Peace region a hub for it. 

The 50-30 Challenge is an initiative from the Government of Canada to help increase diversity and inclusion in Canadian organizations. 

Northern Lights College (NLC) is one of 1,752 organizations across Canada that have taken on the challenge.

Campus Administrator for the Fort St. John campus of NLC, Karen Mason-Bennett, said that taking on the challenge is about creating diversity where decisions happen. 

“What we’re really looking at doing is increasing the diversity in places where decisions are being made,” Mason-Bennett said. “And so typically that is the upper echelons of executives and higher level staff.”

NLC is also looking to become a 50-30 Hub. The college, in conjunction with the University of Northern British Columbia and the Community Development Institute, is looking to make this hub a place where other organizations in the north can get support and help with the challenge. 

To assist with this, NLC asked Fort St. John city council to write a letter of support in their bid for a grant from Colleges and Institutes Canada. Council took a poll and sent the letter of support on November 18th. The poll was ratified in a council meeting on November 28th. 

Mason-Bennett said she was excited by the prospects of having the hub in Fort St. John. 

“We feel very strongly across all three organizations that a northern voice at the table is really important, and we think that we are in an optimal space to be able to make a really big difference,” she said. 

According to the Government of Canada’s website, the 50-30 Challenge has two goals. The first is to ensure parity of gender on senior boards or management by ensuring 50 per cent of positions are held by women or non-binary people. 

The second goal is to increase the amount of other visible minorities on senior management teams or boards to 30 per cent. Visible minorities include people of colour, Indigenous people, people with disabilities, or those of LGBTQIA+ identity. 

To learn more about the 50-30 Challenge, visit the Government of Canada’s website.

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Katherine Caddel is a recent graduate of Laurentian University's English Media and Rhetoric program. They grew up in Northern Ontario and recently decided to make the North Peace their new home. When not at work, Katherine enjoys horror movies, playing video games and Dungeons and Dragons.