New National Award Recognizes “Canada’s Best Diversity Employers”

by NationTalk on April 3, 20081844 Views

More companies need to follow these leaders’ examples if Canada is to meet its competitive and labour market challenges

TORONTO, April 3 – Twenty five of Canada’s most widely recognized and successful companies are on an inaugural list of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers, an award that was launched today by Mediacorp Canada Inc., BMO Financial Group and TWI Inc. to recognize companies and organizations that lead the nation in creating diverse and inclusive workplaces and to encourage other companies across Canada to adopt similar best practices. The 2008 list of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers singles out 25 employers across Canada for exemplary initiatives among a range of diversity groups.“These employers represent the best face of Canada’s cultural and social mosaic,” said Richard Yerema, editor of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project, which managed the selection process. “This year’s list shows that, regardless of your industry or region, progressive employers are embracing Canada’s diversity and turning it into a valuable asset for their organizations.”

The new competition recognizes employers that have developed exceptional workplace diversity and inclusiveness programs for employees of five diverse groups: (a) Women; (b) Members of visible minorities; (c) Persons with disabilities; (d) Aboriginal peoples; and (d) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered / Transexual (LGBT) peoples. The competition is managed by Mediacorp Canada Inc., which publishes the annual guide to Canada’s Top 100 Employers, in partnership with BMO Financial Group and TWI Inc.

“It’s extremely important for employers in every industry and region of Canada to respond to the changing face of the country given the challenges that we face to remain competitive internationally and to sustain a vibrant and productive labour market,” said April Taggart, Senior Vice-President of Talent Management & Diversity at BMO Financial Group. “As a company, we long ago recognized the business case for diversity, and we also believe that by helping to share best practices – we can further diversity as a whole.”

“Our objective in the new competition is to identify employers that see diversity and inclusiveness as an essential part of their business strategy,” said Trevor Wilson, President of TWI Inc. “These employers seek to create work environments that optimize the diverse talents of their total workforce by expanding their scope beyond the lens of race, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.”

About the Competition

To determine this year’s list of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers, Mediacorp reviewed the applications of employers that applied for the 2008 Canada’s Top 100 Employers project. Over 1,800 employers across Canada started the application process for this year’s competition, which was reduced to approximately 185 short-listed employers. Each candidate’s diversity and inclusiveness programs were reviewed to determine how these efforts compared to those of other employers in their field. The finalists chosen represent the diversity leaders in their industry and region of Canada. Mediacorp editors were assisted in this process by specialists from the diversity consulting firm TWI Inc., which is responsible for developing The Equity Continuum – an industry-recognized diversity measurement methodology. As the funding sponsor of the project, BMO Financial Group is not eligible for consideration. Final selection of the winners was made by the editors at Mediacorp. The editors’ full reasons will be published on the competition’s website later this spring at

The complete list of the 2008 winners of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers follows.

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Canada’s Best Diversity Employers
2008 Winners
(in alphabetical order)

Air Canada (Saint-Laurent QC): For excellence in the recruitment of visible minorities.

Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. (Boyle AB): For extensive work with Aboriginal communities, including recruiting new employees, apprenticeship programs and developing partnerships with Aboriginal businesses.

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (Toronto ON): For advancing women into leadership positions within the partnership and the firm’s work towards employment equity in the practice of law.

Boeing Canada Technology Ltd. (Winnipeg MB): For developing employee-led diversity awareness programs in a manufacturing setting and for progressive initiatives to assist deaf and Aboriginal employees.

Catholic Children’s Aid Society (Toronto ON): For developing a cross-cultural awareness training and equity program almost 20 years ago that is now used as a model by other social service agencies.

Enbridge Inc. (Calgary AB): For helping women advance into the management ranks of a gas utility industry employer through mentorship, leadership development and peer coaching.

Ernst & Young LLP (Toronto ON): For leadership in measuring the progress to workplace inclusiveness goals through an employee diversity “census”, which assists managers in recognizing diversity issues and opportunities throughout the partnership.

Export Development Canada (Ottawa ON): For relating workplace diversity initiatives to their core business by recruiting employees from a significant number of culturally diverse backgrounds, and providing employees with training in cross-cultural issues and sensitivity.

Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Co. (Mississauga ON): For clearly communicating the importance of workplace diversity to new employees and a history of organizing support groups for disabled, Asian, LGBT and women employees, in some cases dating back more than 30 years.

HSBC Bank Canada (Vancouver BC): For providing leadership at the highest executive level, where the chief operating officer also served as chair of the steering committee responsible for creating an internal scorecard for diversity initiatives, performance objectives, training and an awards program.

IBM Canada Ltd. (Markham ON): For making diversity awareness an essential leadership skill, by requiring that all managers take diversity and inclusiveness training as part of their leadership development and also providing managers with cross-cultural training to help them better manage diverse employee teams.

Intuit Canada Limited (Edmonton AB): For their progressive efforts at developing company-sponsored support groups for women and LGBT employees in the software industry, where such programs are not often seen.

KPMG LLP (Toronto ON): For creating a new, full-time Director of Diversity position to focus on the advancement of women and visible minorities in the partnership and for developing a specialized employee network to recruit and retain LGBT employees.

Merck Frosst Canada Ltd. (Kirkland QC): For making diversity a central focus of recruitment programs (“Valuing Difference”) and for requiring its front-line hiring managers and recruiters to take mandatory diversity awareness training programs.

Neill and Gunter, Division of Stantec (Fredericton NB): For its special efforts at recruiting Aboriginal students and arranging for its engineers to attend training seminars focusing on the special needs of disabled employees.

Ontario Public Service (Toronto ON): For leadership in the public sector in creating an inclusive workplace for disabled employees, including working with community groups to recruit disabled employees, training staff to write barrier-free job advertisements and training managers how to accommodate employees with disabilities.

Procter & Gamble Inc. (Toronto ON): For taking a comprehensive approach to workplace diversity in the consumer products industry, organizing support groups for employees from Asian, French-speaking, Latino, Black and LGBT backgrounds – and actively involving these groups in the recruitment of new employees from their communities.

Saskatchewan Government Insurance (Regina SK): For its goal of becoming an “employer of choice” for Aboriginal peoples through increased recruitment and an employee support group that aims to raise awareness of Aboriginal employment issues through company-wide events and an annual networking event for Aboriginal employees.

Suncor Energy Inc. (Calgary AB): For its efforts to attract more women to management roles in the oil and gas industry, and for establishing a central Aboriginal Affairs Department to actively recruit new employees from First Nations communities.

TD Bank Financial Group (Toronto ON): For excellence in developing an inclusive workplace in the financial services sector, particularly for introducing diversity accountability at the executive, management and employee levels – and combining this mechanism with a company-wide staff inclusiveness survey.

Toronto Police Service (Toronto ON): For significant progress in creating an inclusive workplace in the policing and public security field for people from diverse backgrounds (who now comprise almost half their new recruits) and for providing managers with annual training in how to manage a diverse workplace.

University Health Network (Toronto ON): For excellence in the healthcare sector, specifically for its work in organizing employee diversity councils and holding an annual event to recognize diversity champions within the hospital system.

University of British Columbia (Vancouver BC): For its exemplary “Positive Space” campaign to create an inclusive working environment for LGBT employees across the university campus.

University of Toronto (Toronto ON): For its leadership role in connecting diversity progress to employee performance reviews, and for creating new staff positions to champion human resources initiatives for LGBT, visible minorities, women and Aboriginal persons.

Vancouver City Savings Credit Union / Vancity (Vancouver BC): For its leading role in BC’s Lower Mainland at encouraging workplace diversity, through its significant employee involvement in Vancouver’s annual Pride Parade and its efforts to train front-line recruiters to ensure that interviews with applicants from diverse backgrounds are conducted fairly.

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