Most diverse Canadian employers

Changing the face of Canadian business
From women to visible minorities to the disabled, 25 Canadian employers are looking more diverse than ever
Margaret Jetelina and Simona Siad

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The business case for diversity in the workplace is undeniable. The need to incorporate diversity practices is as crucial today as getting online was in the ’90s. With an aging workforce and changing demographics, the labour pool looks a lot different in 2008 than ever before.

And this shift is only going to increase — by 2011, immigrants will make up 100 per cent of the growth in the labour force, 70 per cent of which will be visible minorities.

Organizations that want to remain competitive must learn to tap into the talents of immigrants, visible minorities and other under-represented groups like aboriginals, the disabled, gays and lesbians, and women. While many employers recognize this and struggle to get it done, 25 organizations are better at it than others.

One of those is the Ontario Public Service. “Being recognized is a sure sign that we’re making progress toward the diverse and inclusive organization we want to be,” says Shelly Jamieson, secretary of the Cabinet and head of the Ontario Public Service.

“Our vision is for the rich diversity of Ontario to be reflected at every level of our organization. We have more work to do to make that a reality, but we will pursue this relentlessly.”

A brand-new competition is afoot as companies vie to be named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers. Compiled by Mediacorp Canada, this year’s list covers Canadian businesses from coast to coast that have proven to be leaders in diversity practices.

British Columbia

HSBC Bank Canada (Vancouver)
Part of one of the world’s largest retail banking groups, HSBC provides banking and financial services from branches across Canada.
Manages instructor-led and web-based diversity training programs Recruits for diversity via a number of diversity job websites Operates outreach initiatives with various aboriginal and disabled workers Maintains a central, corporate budget dedicated to workplace accommodation Organizes networking events for junior and middle management women employees

University of British Columbia (UBC) (Vancouver)
One of Canada’s largest universities, with more than 35,000 students and 1,800 faculty members.
Has a Positive Space Campaign for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) employees

Vancouver City Savings Credit Union (Vancity) (Vancouver)
Canada’s largest credit union, managing more than $10 billion in assets.
A leading sponsor of Vancouver’s annual Pride Parade Launched a recruitment advertising campaign to groups supporting disabled people, immigrant settlement agencies, aboriginal groups and ethnic newspapers
Trains its recruiters to recognize how job candidates from other cultures may answer interview questions differently 64 per cent of its management employees are women


Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. (Boyle, Alberta)
A leading producer of kraft pulp used in the manufacture of a variety of paper products.
Recruits from local aboriginal communities Has established partnerships with aboriginal businesses Has an Aboriginal Apprenticeship Program

Enbridge Inc. (Calgary)
Provides natural gas distribution, pipelines and energy-related services across North America.
Manages a Women at Enbridge program that helps women employees advance their careers within the company through leadership development, mentorship and peer coaching

Intuit Canada Ltd. (Edmonton)
A leading developer of personal finance, small business accounting and tax return software.
Has an Intuit Women’s Network and a LGBT network

Suncor Energy Inc. (Calgary)
A leading Canadian-based integrated energy company with four major business divisions.
Established an aboriginal affairs department for recruitment
Provides cultural diversity training to employees
Has developed recruiting methods to increase the hiring of new employees from diversity groups
Aims to increase the number of women employees in management positions through career development, succession planning, mentorship and coaching


Saskatchewan Government Insurance (Regina)
Provides property and casualty insurance products and services.
Developed a recruitment strategy to become an employer of choice for aboriginal people
Operates an Aboriginal Advisory Network to raise awareness through fellowship and group functions
Established a formal strategy in 2003 that includes achieving a workforce that is representative of the province’s population


Boeing Canada Technology Ltd. (Winnipeg)
The Winnipeg division manufacturers aerospace composites
Provides Blackberrys to staff who are deaf to help in their communications with co-workers
Has a diversity team that meets biweekly to discuss diversity initiatives and plan awareness activities
Works in partnership with Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development’s aerospace training program to recruit aboriginal employees


Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (Toronto)

One of the leading business law firms in Canada with more than 550 lawyers in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, London and Beijing.
Has an equity and diversity committee Is a founding sponsor of the Judy Project, a leadership program for women in business and organizations
Hosted an educational program for business women from Western Canada Publishes an equity and diversity bulletin

Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (Toronto)
Provides social services to protect children and families in need.
Holds mandatory training sessions on race relations for all employees
One-third of its management-level employees are visible minorities
Regularly updates its equity policies, recruiting processes and training procedures to ensure that its diversity initiatives stay current

Ernst & Young LLP (Toronto)
Professional services firms, providing audit, advisory, tax, corporate finance and other services to the nation’s leading corporations.
Manages a Learning Partnership mentoring program, in which partners advise and coach visible minority managers
Has had a longstanding gender equity advisory group and ethnic diversity task force Hosts a popular series of Inclusiveness
Awareness workshops for senior-level employees

Export Development Canada (EDC) (Ottawa)
A federal Crown corporation that provides trade finance and risk management services to Canadian exporters in markets around the world.
Manages an employment equity professional inventory on their recruitment webpage 51 per cent of their employees are women
Operates an annual training program for managers called Leading a Diverse Workforce Creates an Employment Equity Professional Inventory on its external career website

Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Co. (Mississauga)
Manufactures a wide range of computer products and provides related support services to consumers and businesses.
Has had several diversity initiatives in place since the 1970s Manages employee resource groups for disabled, Asian, LGBT and women employees

IBM Canada Ltd. (Markham)
Canada’s largest provider of computing products and services.
Requires managers to attend a mandatory diversity and inclusive leadership program
Links all their job postings to relevant community agencies to recruit employees from diversity groups

KPMG LLP (Toronto)
A leading accounting and professional services firm, providing auditing, tax and financial advisory services to businesses across Canada.
Manages a web-based training program called Diversity in the Workplace
Operates a MicroInequities program that is designed to promote diversity through awareness of body language, spoken language and differing cultural mores
Developed a course on communication in a diverse workplace for managers, which is held once every month on an ongoing basis
Created a director of diversity role to focus on the advancement of women and visible minorities, and combat workplace homophobia

Ontario Public Service (Toronto)
Responsible for the management and recruitment of more than 60,000 provincial government employees in Ontario.
Developed a recruitment brochure distributed to more than 200 community agencies helping disabled jobseekers
Trained employees on how to write barrier-free job advertisements and on how to develop best practices in hiring people with disabilities
Developed special training for managers on how to accommodate employees with disabilities

Procter & Gamble Inc. (Toronto)
A leading manufacturer and marketer of a wide range of consumer products.
Hosts several employee network teams, for Asian, French, LGBT, black and Latino groups
Has a Women’s Leadership network group
Requires all employees to complete mandatory diversity training
Works with company diversity networks to attend university recruiting events focusing on black and Latino students

TD Bank Financial Group (Toronto)
Provides financial and banking services to approximately 13 million customers worldwide.
Provides internships to disabled workers
Participates in a program to aid in the career development of visible minority and aboriginal youth
Developing a diversity sensitivity training program for managers

Toronto Police Service (Toronto)
Delivers police services to 2.3 million residents and businesses in Toronto.
In 2006, just under half of new hires were identified as members of diversity groups, including women, aboriginals, visible minorities, LGBT and disabled people
Established a diversity management unit in 2006
Attends cultural events to recruit potential new hires from diverse ethnic backgrounds, and hosts employment presentations targeted toward ethnic groups
Requires all civilian members to attend mandatory diversity training

University Health Network (Toronto)
Canada’s largest academic health sciences centre, operating three major hospitals in downtown Toronto.
Provides customized diversity training for various departments in the hospital
Has an internal diversity website and diversity councils
Holds annual recognition of diversity champions

University of Toronto (Toronto)
Canada’s largest university, offering undergraduate, graduate and professional programs to more than 70,000 full-time and part-time students.
Has an LGBT human resources committee
Manages equity offices for initiatives in anti-racism, LGBT issues and the status of women
Recently created the role of HR generalist in aboriginal initiatives
Hosts leadership seminars and networking breakfasts for senior-level women employees


Air Canada (Saint-Laurent)
Canada’s largest airline, providing scheduled and charter air transportation for passengers and cargo.
In 2006, 20 per cent of its new hires were visible minorities
Attended preliminary meetings of the HRSDC project Strategy for a Racism-Free Workplace, which advances the careers of aboriginal and visible minority employees in the workplace

Merck Frosst Canada Ltd. (Kirkland)
One of Canada’s leading research-based pharmaceutical companies.

Established a recruiting for diversity training component for all hiring managers

New Brunswick

Neill and Gunter Ltd. (Fredericton)
A design and consulting engineering firm.
Attends career fairs and seminars for aboriginal youth
Attends diversity for the disabled seminars

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