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Couple at Toronto’s Distillery District. (iStock/Getty Images)
Couple at Toronto’s Distillery District. (iStock/Getty Images)

2017 edition

Canada’s best diversity employers welcome new voices Add to ...

Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2017 set an outstanding example of how Canadians make diversity our strength.

From corporate strategy to successful implementation, these employers make diversity and inclusion integral to their workplaces and the way they do business. By hiring people who truly reflect all Canadians, including new immigrants, aboriginals, LGBTQ people and those with disabilities, these organizations benefit too, boosting their energy and innovation through an influx of fresh voices.

Additionally – because we’re not there yet – many organizations have targeted programs supporting women employees, particularly in industries such as engineering, mining or agribusiness.

For instance, Agrium Inc. in Calgary recently piloted a Women’s Leadership Development program to prepare high potential female candidates for senior management positions, matching participants with a mentor as well as with a group of potential sponsors. Notably, women at McCarthy Tétrault LLP in Toronto currently comprise approximately half of their senior leadership team and 36 per cent of the firm’s board of directors, a result of maintaining an annual internal pipeline scorecard that records the gender demographics of partners, associates and students.

Besides creating a safe and inclusive environment at work, most companies also reach out to the community at large, forming partnerships with local or national groups. Just a few of many examples include: Toronto’s KPMG LLP that recently began providing employment assistance to veterans by partnering with Canada Company’s Military Employment Transition Program; Sodexo Canada in Burlington partnered with Ready Willing and Able Canada last year and made a commitment to hire more than 100 individuals with disabilities; and SaskTel’s partnerships with First Nations bands, tribal councils and aboriginal employment agencies with the aim of increasing the number of aboriginal employees in their work force.

Then there’s the City of Ottawa, that over the past year participated in more than 30 recruitment fairs, conducted 34 information sessions, attended 57 community outreach events and delivered 18 pre-employment workshops to foster communication with the immigrant community. Now that’s saying welcome.

Methodology

Canada’s Best Diversity Employers competition recognizes employers across Canada that have exceptional workplace diversity and inclusiveness programs. These include successful diversity initiatives in a variety of areas, including programs for employees from five groups: women; members of visible minorities; persons with disabilities; aboriginal peoples; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered/transsexual (LGBTQ) people.

To determine the winners for 2017, Mediacorp editors reviewed the diversity and inclusiveness initiatives of all the employers that applied for the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project, short-listing those with the most noteworthy and unique diversity initiatives. Those candidates were further reviewed to determine how their programs compared with others in the same field. The finalists represent the diversity leaders in their industry and region of Canada.

Canada’s Best Diversity Employers (2017)

Accenture Inc., Toronto. Management consulting; 3,425 employees. Conducted a national mental-health survey to better understand employee knowledge and attitudes toward mental health and illness.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa. Federal government; 4,245 employees. Launched a recruitment campaign across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba to recruit and hire indigenous students.

Agrium Inc., Calgary. Agricultural products and fertilizer manufacturing; 3,440 employees. Piloted a Women’s Leadership Development program to develop women candidates with high potential for senior management positions.

Air Canada, Saint-Laurent, Que. Air transportation; 23,783 employees. Maintains regional diversity committees in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

Amex Bank of Canada, Toronto. Credit card issuing; 1,643 employees. Launched “Women at Amex” to support the development and advancement of women employees.

Bell Canada, Montreal. Communications; 38,671 employees. Maintains an internal mental health policy and offers enhanced mental health-care benefits coverage for employees.

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, Toronto. Law firm; 1,375 employees. Supports a number of diverse student organizations such as the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada and the Korean Law Students’ Association.

Boeing Canada Operations Limited, Winnipeg. Aircraft equipment manufacturing; 1,579 employees. Hosts a three-day global diversity summit, open to employees around the world.

Cameco Corp., Saskatoon. Uranium mining; 3,040 employees. Partnered with the Mining Industry Human Resource Council and Women in Mining for a research project to increase company and industry knowledge on barriers faced by women in mining.

CAMH / Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto. Specialty hospital; 1,960 employees. Provides bias-free interview training for recruiters and managers.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. / CMHC, Ottawa. Federal government; 1,890 employees. Maintains a national, employee-led committee on mental health and wellness.

Canadian National Railway Co. / CN, Montreal. Railroad transportation; 15,074 employees. Launched a dedicated internship program to provide women with exposure to transportation, mechanical, engineering and intermodal disciplines.

Capgemini Canada Inc., Toronto. Information technology; 371 employees. Provides growth, balance and leadership opportunities for women employees through their Women Leadership, Excellence, Action and Development (LEAD) network.

Capital One Bank (Canada Branch), North York, Ont. Credit card issuing; 973 employees. Created a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee composed of senior leaders.

Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, The, Toronto. Child and youth services; 770 employees. Is committed to improving the accessibility of its physical space.

CIBC, Toronto. Banking; 36,215 employees. Updated its board of directors’ goal for the representation of women to no less than 30 per cent.

Dentons Canada LLP, Vancouver. Law firm; 1,288 employees. Implemented national Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Policy and Procedures to ensure processes are in place to create a safe and inclusive environment.

Edmonton, City of, Edmonton. Municipal government; 10,065 employees. Created an online toolkit to assist new Canadians with their job search.

Enbridge Inc., Calgary. Natural gas distribution; 5,848 employees. Established a dedicated aboriginal employee resource group to foster personal and professional development.

General Motors of Canada Co., Oshawa, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 8,264 employees. Maintains a longstanding Supplier Diversity Council, which works with more than 200 certified minority and woman-owned businesses in Canada and the United States.

Health Canada / Santé Canada, Ottawa. Federal government; 9,113 employees. Launched a multi-year mental health and wellness strategy to promote the psychological well-being of its work force.

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Canada, Mississauga. Electronic computer manufacturing; 3,947 employees. Supported the launch of its parent company’s technical women strategy, which aims to encourage women to pursue careers in technology.

Home Depot of Canada Inc., Toronto. Retail; 13,790 employees. Fosters an environment of inclusion for people with disabilities.

Island Health, Victoria. Hospital; 9,008 employees. Established a dedicated aboriginal recruitment and retention strategy.

Jazz Aviation LP, Dartmouth, N.S. Air transportation; 4,266 employees. Maintains an in-house LGBTA employee resource group and launched a Safe Space campaign to promote an inclusive work environment.

KPMG LLP, Toronto. Accounting; 6,385 employees. Partnered with Canada Company’s Military Employment Transition Program to provide employment assistance to Canadian Armed Forces members, reservists, veterans and military spouses.

Loblaw Companies Ltd., Brampton, Ont. Supermarkets; 28,481 employees. Maintains an inclusion council, responsible for developing the company’s inclusion strategy.

Manitoba Hydro, Winnipeg. Hydroelectric power generation; 6,001 employees. Participates in Project Search, a transitional employment program to provide work placements to senior high school students with intellectual disabilities.

Manitoba Public Insurance, Winnipeg. Insurance; 1,871 employees. Created a diversity and inclusion steering team and is exploring the formal development of employee resource groups.

Manitoba, Government of, Winnipeg. Provincial government; 12,762 employees. Created a 12-month Diversity Employee Development Program for high potential employees who self-identify as aboriginal, visible minority, or a person with a disability.

McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Toronto. Law firm; 1,435 employees. Maintains an annual internal pipeline scorecard to record the gender demographics of partners, associates and students; women currently comprise 36 per cent of the firm’s board of directors.

National Bank of Canada, Montreal. Banking; 15,458 employees. Established a dedicated network for employees who are members of cultural communities or new to Canada.

Northwest Territories, Government of the, Yellowknife. Territorial government; 5,950 employees. Established a Diversity and Inclusion Unit, composed of a manager of diversity and inclusion, an aboriginal HR specialist and two workforce diversity officers.

Ontario College of Trades, Toronto. Professional organization; 180 employees. Launched dedicated Web pages to promote skilled trades to aboriginal people, women and new Canadians.

Ontario Public Service/ OPS, Toronto. Provincial government; 62,080 employees. Launched the Accessibility@Source campaign to help staff integrate accessibility considerations into everything they do.

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Toronto. Law firm; 1,063 employees. Manages a summer employment program where participating students spend the latter portion of the term working for a firm-sponsored public interest group or entity involved in diversity issues.

Ottawa, City of, Ottawa. Municipal government; 12,085 employees. Hosts an annual Accessibility Day event to offer residents an opportunity to provide disability-related feedback on various issues.

PepsiCo Canada, Mississauga. Soft drink and food manufacturing; 9,358 employees. Hosted a diversity and engagement summit to share the company’s national diversity strategy.

Procter & Gamble Inc., Toronto. Consumer product manufacturing; 1,754 employees. Maintains a dedicated diversity council which establishes long-term action plans every three to five years.

Public Services and Procurement Canada, Gatineau, Que. Federal government; 11,589 employees. Maintains a joint committee on employment equity and diversity as well as a national diversity network.

RBC, Toronto. Banking; 52,488 employees. Publishes an annual report that documents the bank’s various partnerships to build prosperity for aboriginal people.

Red River College, Winnipeg. College; 1,266 employees. Maintains a Transforming Futures Program to provide opportunities for adults with intellectual disabilities to learn in an inclusive, supportive environment.

Rogers Communications Inc., Toronto. Communications, cable publishing and subscription programming; 23,177 employees. Expanded gender identity and sexual orientation questions in its monthly customer questionnaire to better understand the diversity of its clients.

Ryerson University, Toronto. University; 2,958 employees. Established a campus-wide accessibility initiative entitled Access Ryerson to identify, remove and prevent barriers to inclusion for persons with disabilities.

Saskatchewan Government Insurance/ SGI, Regina. Insurance; 1,882 employees. Participates in Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s employment readiness and bridging programs for persons with disabilities.

Saskatoon, City of, Saskatoon. Municipal government; 3,166 employees. Offers temporary work placements to help new Canadians gain work experience.

Saskpower, Regina. Hydroelectric power generation; 3,331 employees. Maintains a diversity department, responsible for the development and implementation of the organization’s corporate diversity strategy.

SaskTel, Regina. Telecommunications; 3,102 employees. Maintains a hiring strategy for people with disabilities and conducts information sessions and pre-employment workshops with community partners.

Shaw Communications Inc., Calgary. Communications, cable and subscription programming; 10,921 employees. Established an executive diversity committee to monitor the company’s overall progress toward diversity and inclusion.

Shell Canada Ltd., Calgary. Crude petroleum and natural gas extraction; 8,307 employees. Manages Senior Women Connect, a dedicated leadership program for senior-level women.

Sinai Health System, Toronto. Hospital; 3,469 employees. Partners with Career Bridge to offer internships to new Canadians.

Sodexo Canada Ltd., Burlington, Ont. Food service contractors; 5,961 employees. Offers internships to Vancouver Community College students with intellectual disabilities, in partnership with the Vancouver School Board’s Life Skills Program.

TD Bank Group, Toronto. Banking; 43,273 employees. Maintains 11 regional LGBT employee resource groups across Canada and the enterprise-wide LGBTA Pride Network, with nearly 3,000 members.

Telus Corp., Vancouver. Telecommunications; 23,328 employees. Maintains “Eagles,” a dedicated resource group to provide professional development and networking opportunities for aboriginal employees.

Toronto, City of, Toronto. Municipal government; 22,983 employees. Manages the Toronto Regional Champion Campaign Protégée Program to help boost women’s participation in local government.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. / TMMC, Cambridge, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 8,575 employees. Hosts an annual Toyota North American Women’s Conference to create networking opportunities and eliminate barriers for women employees across the country.

UBC / University of British Columbia, Vancouver. University; 10,459 employees. Offers an Equity Enhancement Fund to help promote initiatives that contribute significantly to the enhancement of equity and diversity at the university.

University of Calgary, Calgary. University; 5,748 employees. Implemented a Positive Space campaign to raise awareness and address discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual and gender diversity.

University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. University; 4,882 employees. Hosted its first mental health week to encourage staff and faculty to take care mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially.

University of Toronto, Toronto. University; 9,286 employees. Maintains more than 10 offices dedicated to issues of equity and diversity.

University of Victoria, Victoria. University; 2,948 employees. Established a Chair in Transgender Studies role, the first of its kind, to further research topics concerning the lives of trans and gender non-conforming people.

Vancouver, City of, Vancouver. Municipal government; 6,972 employees. Launched the Vancouver Immigration Partnership to help increase local capacity to assist newcomers with engagement, integration and access to services in Vancouver.

William Osler Health System, Brampton, Ont. Hospital; 2,994 employees. Hosts networking and educational events for staff including a Multi Faith and Diversity Day.

YMCA of Greater Toronto, Toronto. Individual and family services; 1,546 employees. Manages a PRIDE Initiative, which focuses on increasing awareness throughout the broader community and includes speaker series and workshops.

York, Regional Municipality of, Newmarket, Ont. Municipal government; 3,352 employees. Implemented an Immigration Settlement Strategy to enhance the integration and success of new Canadians.

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