Federal Speakers' Forum on Diversity and Inclusion: Host a speaker

Federal Speakers’ Forum on Diversity and Inclusion

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Your role as host

In order to ensure the best possible experience for your audience members and speakers, we encourage host departments to ensure every event is supported by an event coordinator and facilitator or moderator.

Event coordinator

An event coordinator is an individual from the organization requesting a speaker. Their responsibilities are to:

  • submit a Speaker Request Form
  • ask the speaker if they require any accommodations
  • discuss the following topics with the speaker:
    • event and room location, parking details, security pass, if applicable
    • size and composition of the audience
    • format used to share their story (virtual or ‑in-person)
    • purpose or objective of the event
    • time allocation
    • tone of the event
    • language preference
    • off-limits topics, questions or triggers the speaker is not comfortable answering, and ensure to share with the moderator/facilitator
  • provide compensation for travel and parking arrangements
  • ensure that there is a moderator/facilitator available for the event
  • ensure the meeting complies with the Official Languages Act
  • share training options and curated resources related to the event with the audience in advance


A moderator/facilitator is provided by the host organization. Their responsibilities are to:

  • introduce the speaker
  • share a brief overview of the potential triggers and off-limits questions with the audience
  • review the ground rules with the audience
  • filter any disruptive questions and comments directed at the speaker from the audience
  • ensure that the Code of Conduct is upheld
  • ensure that the Official Languages Act is respected
  • monitor the chat during virtual events

Ensure a safe space

When organizing a speaking event, there are many logistics to coordinate, from securing a virtual or physical space to sending out invites and building agendas.

You should also consider the safety of your speaker and the audience. Nothing resonates more deeply than someone saying “I hear you”, “I’ve been there”, and “there’s hope”. However, at an event that talks about diversity and inclusion, there is also a need to ensure that everyone participating feels safe, including the speaker and members of the audience, even if they are outside of the identity group.

Supports are available to ensure that a safe environment is created.

Support for audience members

Lived experience testimonials can elicit strong emotional responses from audience members who may have gone through, or are currently struggling with, similar issues. We strongly recommend that supports be made available at the event, such as:

It is also important to ensure that your event is accessible (available only on the Government of Canada network)

Support for speakers

The Federal Speakers’ Forum on Diversity and Inclusion strives to ensure that our speakers feel safe in sharing their stories. Event organizers are encouraged to consider actions to support the speakers prior to the event:

  • provide details regarding the purpose and logistics of the event, as well as the audience’s expectations
  • select your location with care, given that our speakers are sharing personal lived experiences, and the nature of these presentations require a quiet and safe space

After‑care for the speakers

After the event, touch base with the speaker to see how they are doing. Thank them for their courage in sharing their story.

Code of conduct

The Federal Speakers’ Forum is committed to providing a welcoming environment for all. The Code of Conduct outlines our expectations for speakers and participants’ behavior, as well as the consequences for unacceptable behavior.

Expected Behavior

  • Respect our safe space environment and support the level of confidentiality.
  • Be considerate, respectful, and collaborative.
  • Be mindful of the language you are using, and how it applies to gender.
  • Refrain from demeaning, discriminatory or harassing behavior, materials, and speech.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and of your fellow participants. Alert event coordinators if you notice a dangerous situation or someone in distress.
  • Follow basic civility principles and all guidelines noted in the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector.

Unacceptable Behavior

  • Unacceptable behavior and language include, but is not limited to:
    • Intimidating, harassing, abusive, discriminatory, derogatory, offensive, or demeaning materials or conduct by any speakers or audience of the event and related event activities.
    • Speech, behavior or other interferences with the virtual event or other individuals’ participation in the event or engagement in spamming of participants.

Consequences of Unacceptable Behavior

  • Anyone asked to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately.
  • If a participant engages in unacceptable behavior, the event coordinators/facilitators/moderators may take any action they deem appropriate, up to and including expulsion from the session.

Witnessing Unacceptable Behavior

  • If you are subject to unacceptable behavior, or if you notice that someone else is being subjected to unacceptable behavior, please notify the event coordinator as soon as possible. Contact details will be in the session invite. All reports will remain completely confidential.

Book a speaker

Our speakers are federal public servants who share their stories at federal public service events across Canada. They are not subject matter experts; rather they speak about their personal lived experience. The steps to booking a speaker are simple:

Step 1: Review our speaker profiles and find out what topics and experience you can access (available only on the Government of Canada network)

Step 2: Submit a Speaker Request Form. (available only on the Government of Canada network)

Step 3: Prepare for your event and ensure a safe space for the speaker and your audience.

Before booking a speaker, consideration the following:

  • There are no costs to your organization to book a speaker. Your organization is responsible for any travel costs related to the speaker attending your event, including taxi chits and parking costs
  • We ask that you submit your request a minimum of four weeks prior to your event
  • All requests for a speaker will be reviewed and booked based on availability
  • Once we receive your request, we will confirm if a speaker is available for your event within five business days
  • Since our speakers are volunteers, it may not always be possible to provide a speaker (or your preferred speaker) for each event requested

Though booking a speaker is a simple process, there is more to do in preparation for the event. Perhaps the most important is  ensuring a safe space for your speaker, and for your audience.

Contact us at CDI@tbs-sct.gc.ca if you have questions or feedback that you’d like to share.

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