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Consultant Tom Erasmus, standing left, leads an aboriginal awareness training session at Newalta Corp. in Calgary. (Jacqueline Bean/Copyright ©2011 Newalta Corporation. All rights reserved)
Consultant Tom Erasmus, standing left, leads an aboriginal awareness training session at Newalta Corp. in Calgary. (Jacqueline Bean/Copyright ©2011 Newalta Corporation. All rights reserved)

The list

Canada's best diversity employers for 2012 Add to ...

How they were chosen

It’s not enough for Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2012 to have diversity and inclusiveness programs in place. Winning companies also needed a clearly defined strategy to achieve their goals along with review and tracking measures.

Mediacorp’s editorial team judged employers on their programs for five major employee groups: women; members of visible minorities; persons with disabilities; aboriginal peoples; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered/transsexual (LGBT) peoples.

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Additional criteria for diversity include initiatives relating to: recruitment, retention, development, training and education, employee resources, affinity groups, leadership and management accountability, customer, market, vendor and supplier diversity, and community partnerships.

Kristina Leung, editor of Canada's Top 100 Employers, observes that support for diversity and inclusion appears to be “recession proof” with many organizations building on past successes to create new programs and policies.



Agrium Inc., Calgary: Nitrogenous fertilizer manufacturing; 2,419 employees. Partnered with the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association to provide networking opportunities to women who are new to Canada.

Amex Canada Inc., Markham, Ont.: Credit card issuing; 3,412 employees. Maintains a range of employee resource groups including “HOLA” for Hispanic Origin and Latin American employees and “AXP” for Asian employees.

BC Hydro, Vancouver: Hydroelectric power generation; 5,911 employees. Maintains a database of aboriginal businesses in order to match the company’s upcoming contracts with aboriginal vendors.

Boeing Canada Operations Ltd., Winnipeg: Aircraft parts and auxiliary equipment manufacturing; 1,382 employees. Partners with the Society for Manitobans With Disabilities to provide employment opportunities to disabled job seekers.

Bombardier Aerospace, Dorval, Que.: Aircraft manufacturing; 17,222 employees. Working on creating professional networking opportunities for women in the aerospace industry, in partnership with “Women in Aerospace.”

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Montreal: Banking. 1,834 employees. Recognizes employees who champion diversity affairs through internal awards.

Cameco Corp., Saskatoon: Uranium-radium-vanadium ore mining; 2,859 employees. Introduced a “Workplace Inclusion and Accommodation” program in support of the development of a barrier-free work environment. Maintains extensive aboriginal outreach programs.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), Toronto: Commercial banking; 33,489 employees. Organized a month-long celebration of diversity and inclusion across all of the bank’s operations.

Capital District Health Authority, Halifax: Hospitals; 6,421 employees. Conducted an in-house diversity survey to solicit feedback for new initiatives and benchmark current programs against industry leaders.

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Toronto: Specialty hospitals; 1,950 employees. Created a designated role to manage aboriginal recruitment and retention initiatives as well as engage the broader aboriginal community.

Corus Entertainment Inc., Toronto: Television broadcasting; 1,478 employees. Stations partner with local universities and colleges to offer internship opportunities to diverse groups.

Deloitte & Touche LLP, Toronto: Certified public accountants; 7,922 employees. Provides managers with a diversity toolkit, covering a range of topics including bias awareness and an overview of common stereotypes.

Ernst & Young LLP, Toronto: Certified public accountants; 4,161 employees. Manages reverse-mentoring initiatives including the “Coaching our Leaders” program, which pairs partners with mentors who are a visible minority, or female employees.

Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP, Toronto: Law offices; 1,232 employees. Provides pro-bono legal services to Pride at Work Canada, a non-profit corporation supporting LGBT professionals in the Canadian workplace.

Health Canada-Santé Canada, Ottawa: Administration of public health programs; 9,537 employees. Reserves one-quarter of available positions in their science management development program for employees who are visible minorities.

Hewlett-Packard Canada Co., Mississauga, Ont.: Computer equipment manufacturing; 7,100 employees. Created a “Diversity Value Chain” that outlines the company’s diversity goals and achievements.

Home Depot Canada, Toronto: Hardware stores; 13,079 employees. Advertises job vacancies in a variety of newspapers including Sing Tao, Shinp, and the Indo-Canadian Voice.

Human Resources & Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), Gatineau, Que.: General government support; 24,768 employees. Employees manage an Aboriginal Employee Circle as well as a network for employees who are visible minorities.

Information Services Corp. of Saskatchewan, Regina: Title abstract and settlement offices; 322 employees. Created a five-year diversity strategy with quarterly and annual diversity and inclusiveness goals.

Jazz Aviation LP, Enfield, N.S.: Air transportation; 4,880 employees. Recruiters contacted more than 300 aboriginal graduates using the aboriginal graduate database managed by the Aboriginal Human Resource Council.

KPMG LLP, Toronto: Certified public accountants; 5,413 employees. Requires all employees to complete mandatory diversity in the workplace training.

Loblaw Cos. Ltd., Brampton, Ont.: Supermarkets; 30,472 employees. Manages an inclusion council comprised of employees from all business levels.

Manitoba Hydro, Winnipeg: Hydroelectric power generation; 5,959 employees. Manages a pre-placement program for aboriginal applicants who do not meet the requirements of trade apprenticeship programs.

Government of Manitoba, Winnipeg: General government support; 14,890 employees. Hosts “Diversity Breakfast Series,” regular morning workshops that cover diversity-related issues.

Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto: Hospitals; 2,295 employees. Established a diversity and human rights office to manage and oversee the hospital’s diversity policy and goals.

National Bank Financial Group, Montreal: Commercial banking; 13,258 employees. Manages a bursary program for women who study finance.

Newalta Corp., Calgary: Materials recovery facilities; 1,623 employees. Developing “Diversity@work” newsletters to keep employees up to date on best practices and coming events.

Northwestel Inc., Whitehorse: Telecommunications; 570 employees. Appointed a director of aboriginal relations to oversee and manage the development of aboriginal initiatives.

Ontario Public Service, Toronto: General government support; 65,423 employees. In partnership with the Disability Network, hosted the 4th annual Accessibility Expo, focusing on mental health and raising awareness amongst employees.

City of Ottawa: Legislative bodies, 11,931 employees. Manages an aboriginal working committee, co-led by the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition.

Public Works and Government Services Canada, Gatineau, Que.: General government support; 14,116 employees. Celebrates diversity events including aboriginal awareness week, linguistic duality and diversity week, and the international day for persons with disabilities.

Saskatchewan Government Insurance, Regina: Insurance carriers; 1,722 employees. Maintains an Aboriginal Advisory Network as a forum for employees to share experiences, voice concerns and seek advice from peers.

City of Saskatoon: Legislative bodies; 3,308 employees. Participates in targeted career fairs for aboriginal peoples such as the Stepping Stones Job Fair.

SaskPower, Regina: Hydroelectric power generation; 2,768 employees. Shares job postings with 40 community organizations to ensure vacancies reach applicants from all walks of life.

SaskTel, Regina: Telecommunications; 3,190 employees. In partnership with the Saskatchewan Abilities Council, created an employment pilot program with intensive job coaching for persons with cognitive disabilities.

Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology, Markham, Ont.: Colleges, universities and professional schools; 1,274 employees. Manages the Rainbow Pride Club of LGBT students, employees and allies.

Shell Canada Ltd., Calgary: Petroleum and natural gas extraction; 7,778 employees. Committed to advancing female representation among leadership by ensuring the inclusion of a shortlisted female candidate for vacancies in mid- to senior-level management.

Stantec Consulting Ltd., Edmonton: Engineering services; 5,371 employees. In partnership with Campbell College, offers administrative work placement opportunities for new Canadians.

Statistics Canada, Ottawa: General government support; 6,420 employees. Commits funds to provide full time aides to quadriplegic employees during the workday.

Stikeman Elliott LLP, Montreal: Law offices; 1,147 employees. Manages a formal religious accommodation policy to support employees from all walks of life.

Toronto-Dominion Bank, Toronto: Commercial banking; 41,360 employees. Piloted an electronic “Women in Leadership” network site to help female employees at all levels connect.

Telus Corp., Vancouver: Telecommunications; 23,400 employees. Established a forum for LGBT employees to openly network and promote inclusive policies and practices.

TransCanada Corp., Calgary: Natural gas distribution; 2,487 employees. Provides aboriginal awareness training workshops.

University of British Columbia, Vancouver: Colleges, universities and professional schools; 10,612 employees. Recently introduced “equity briefings” for search committees.

University of Toronto: Colleges, universities and professional schools; 8,458 employees. Hosted third annual seminar series “Convergence on Mental Health in the Workplace.”

University of Victoria: Colleges, universities and professional schools; 2,973 employees. Launched a “Positive Space Network” in 2009 to increase awareness of LGBT issues and create a positive and inclusive environment for staff and students.

City of Vancouver: Legislative bodies; 6,858 employees. Manages advisory committees for persons with disabilities, women, senior and elderly persons and the LGBT community, which in turn act as advisory bodies to city council.

Workers’ Compensation Board of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Human resource programs; 497 employees. Participates in career fairs such as Connecting with Immigrant Workforce, and Ability Axis Employment Expo.

Xerox Canada Inc., Toronto: Computer equipment manufacturing; 3,606 employees. Measures employee perceptions of the organization’s inclusiveness through an inclusion index within employment equity surveys.

YMCA of Greater Toronto: Individual and family services; 1,286 employees. Hosted a two-day diversity and social inclusion learning forum offsite.

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