We are committed to fostering an organizational culture that respects and accommodates human differences, and which also recognizes and celebrates our shared values.


Our goal is to reflect and serve the changing landscape of Ottawa’s diverse communities by expanding into new spaces in the community. By doing so, we ensure that the organization is inclusive and cognizant of barriers that diverse peoples in these spaces might face when approaching our festivals in any number of ways – as attendees, performers, volunteers, sponsors, suppliers, and staff.


To strengthen partnerships with diverse groups in the community in a non-judgmental, transparent manner so that our festivals are accessible and inclusive of all as evaluated by our community engagement & festival attendee feedback.

Our current focus includes strengthening bonds with individuals that identify with:

  • Indigenous communities – First Nations, Inuit, Metis,
  • Racialized groups
  • Female, women, femmes
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Youth & Senior
  • Low-income earning communities
  • 2SLGBTQ+
  • Francophones
  • New Canadians

We recognize that these individuals are a part of equity seeking groups.



The organization officially launched its first diversity & inclusion committee in early 2018, which is comprised of board members and select core staff. Upon the committee’s launch, Dr. Karima Kara, a certified mediator and inclusion coach, was invited to host an organization-wide diversity and inclusion awareness session. Later in the year, in partnership with City for All Women Initiative, RBC Bluesfest hosted a community think tank session with organizations serving equity seeking groups in Ottawa. The objective was to facilitate partnerships with these groups in order to promote inclusion and belonging — both at an organizational level and during its festivals. 


After the organization’s digital and in-person outreach to partner with equity-seeking groups and the organizations serving them, it undertook three immediate action plans to: diversify the content creators at its festivals including photographers and videographers, march for the first time at the annual Capital Pride Parade, and present American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation during one of the performances at the opening night of the 26th anniversary of CityFolk Festival

Post-COVID updateAccessibility at CityFolk CityFolk is committed to providing accessible customer service to people with disabilities; in a manner that respects their dignity, independence, integration and that is equitable in relation to the broader public. The festival permits people with disabilities to use assistive devices, service animals and/or support personnel. The festival has established an Accessibility 5 volunteer team (A-Team) that provides support and feedback to continually improve the accessibility of the event. A-Team volunteers will be roaming the site to offer support, and stationed in the A-Team Tent (next to the Info Booth) to offer guidance and light support as needed. All CityFolk staff & volunteers are in compliance with the mandated Access Forward training to ensure equal rights and opportunities, and freedom from discrimination as outlined under the The Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code). The Code recognizes the dignity and worth of every person in Ontario, and CityFolk makes every effort to ensure persons with disabilities are accommodated at our Festival. Creating A Safe Space at CityFolk

We (CityFolk) are committed to preventing harassment by providing all staff & volunteers with a common understanding of appropriate and expected behaviour. We are all responsible for supporting initiatives to maintain a respectful festival environment.

DEFINITION: Harassment is a form of misconduct/improper behaviour that is directed at, is offensive to, and is not welcomed by the victim, and which the harasser ought reasonably to have known would be unwelcome and cause offence or harm. This includes discriminatory harassment within the meaning of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) which is to harass an individual based on the prohibited grounds of discrimination, which are race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, Gender identity or expression, marital status, family status, disability, or conviction of an offence for which a pardon has been granted.

 Questions?: Contact Mike Rouleau: mrouleau@ottawabluesfest.ca