The Kentville Visitor Information Centre has become the first in the Atlantic Provinces to receive Rainbow Registered designation from the CLGCC. The Visitor Centre, located at 125 Park Street in Kentville, participated in an assessment and accreditation program this season that certified the facility as LGBTQIA+ friendly.
“Rainbow Registered is a national accreditation for LGBT+ friendly businesses and organizations. When you see a Rainbow Registered symbol, you know the business or organization meets a stringent set of standards to ensure LGBT+ customers feel safe, welcomed, and accepted” according to the program website. “The accreditation program grants a time-limited recognition to businesses and organizations for demonstrating compliance with the quality standard. Accredited businesses are deemed market ready for the LGBT+ customer and given the right to be associated with the program’s prestigious Rainbow Registered designation mark.”
Staff and supervisors at the Kentville Visitor Information Centre completed the assessment process and participated in a number of free and accessible trainings provided by the program over a number of months. Some changes were implemented right away, including the development and implementation of an "Equal Service for All" policy for the Centre, and other initiatives are being developed now as a result of participation in the program. The experience was both valuable and impactful, says Manager of Visitor Services, Susan Carey. "I’m so happy and proud that we have completed this process. Inclusiveness means more than just hanging a flag or putting a sign on the bathroom. My staff and I learned so much from participating in the process of becoming accredited".
The training materials and opportunities for learning that the staff team were presented included webinars and zoom meetings, written materials and online resources. They reviewed existing policies and made changes and updates, and created new ones where they were lacking. The team from Kentville was lead through the process step by step by an assigned assessor named Liz who was very helpful and enthusiastic about sharing the materials and providing encouragement and guidance along the way. Liz also kept the timeline on track, and the Centre was certified within the predicted timeframe.
In addition to benefiting from guidelines, education, and advice on ensuring LGBT+ customers feel welcome and accepted, Rainbow Registered accredited businesses are able to demonstrate and market themselves as safe destinations for the LGBT+ market. The Kentville Visitor Centre received their accreditation package in late September and will have access to additional and ongoing training for the next year.
Lindsay Young, Community and Economic Development Coordinator for the Town of Kentville is encouraging other organizations and businesses in Kentville to participate in the program too. She says that Carey came across the program information while searching for general human resources training opportunities for staff. The VIC team signed up after an initial chat with Liz and say the experience was valuable, engaging, and created to be accessible. "As a staff, and as individuals, we are more confident in our competencies around gender identity and expression" says Young. "That competency allows us to provide better, more welcoming, and inclusive service to anyone who drops into the Centre which has always been our goal".
Folks can get more information about the Rainbow Registered program on the CLGCC website.