Canadians are saving money just by having a Walmart store in their community – even if they don’t shop there – according to a new economic and social contribution study done in collaboration with Deloitte Canada on Walmart’s economic and social contribution from 2018 to 2021.
The study’s independent pricing analysis shows that when there is a Walmart store added to a major metropolitan area, it leads to a decrease in the price of a general basket of consumer goods.¹ In 2019, this translated to almost $1,000 in savings for Canadian families in those areas, no matter where they shopped.
“At Walmart, our core purpose is to help Canadians save money so they can live better,” says Gonzalo Gebara, president and CEO of Walmart Canada. “This has been our mission since we opened our first Canadian stores in 1994 and we live this purpose every day.”
The savings in-store are just part of the story. The report demonstrates Walmart Canada’s significant impact on the Canadian economy, from job creation across the entire supply chain, to supporting local suppliers, to giving back and strengthening local communities.
For example, between 2019 and 2021, Walmart Canada’s donations and fundraising totalled more than $200-million, with funds directed towards many impact areas, including food security. The company supports Canadian food banks providing meals to those in need through its annual “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign with Food Banks Canada. In 2021, Walmart Canada helped provide more than 13 million meals to Canadians.
“We’re committed to making a real difference in relieving hunger in our communities because we believe every family should have access to affordable, safe, nutritious food,” says Mr. Gebara. “Unfortunately, for too many Canadian families, this is not a reality.”
From 2019 to 2021, Walmart also delivered $5.2-million in community grants, which were distributed to more than 2,500 organizations involved in areas like health care, education and youth services and programs.
As Walmart knows well, a company that cares about the well-being of its communities has an advantage in attracting and retaining the right talent. Many young people want to work for businesses that are socially inclined and have programs and policies to support people in the community, making Walmart an attractive employer for many.
Nina Migalski, a Walmart store manager in Winnipeg, Man. joined the company in 1997 as a cashier, thinking of it as a temporary gig. Within three months, she was promoted to customer service manager and over the next few years, Ms. Migalski continued to advance her career.
“Each time I moved forward, I felt a tap on my shoulder; someone had noticed me and wanted to help me in my career,” she recalls. “When I was hired, Walmart was just a job, a way to pay the bills until I found my ‘real job,’ but I soon found a passion for operations, merchandising and – most of all – people.”
Employees like Ms. Migalski are woven into the fabric of the communities where they work and are recognized leaders. And while there are plenty of opportunities for entry-level positions, the company has a range of positions for any level where employees can continue to grow and advance.
Walmart offers programs and resources to help associates grow their professional skills, including the Associate Scholarship Program, which was developed in 2000, and offers eligible employees up to $2,000 in scholarships towards their education.
In a further effort to remove barriers for associates towards higher education, Walmart Canada recently launched its Live Better U Canada program, which covers 100 per cent of the cost of tuition, books and fees for courses, certifications and degrees available through the LBU course catalogue. All programs are offered by industry-recognized schools throughout the country.
“There’s a reason why so many people choose to work at Walmart Canada,” says Mr. Gebara. “We’re committed to creating a positive and inclusive workplace where everyone feels supported and has opportunities to learn and advance.”
As a high school student, George King was unloading trucks and stacking backroom shelves at his local Walmart store in Sydney, N.S., in 1995 when an assistant manager told him he recognized his leadership skills.
“He built up my confidence and offered guidance on what strengths I should leverage and what opportunities I had to improve,” recalls Mr. King, now a market leader at Walmart Canada responsible for the operations of 16 stores and thousands of associates. “As time progressed, so did the opportunities and leadership roles available to me.”
Mr. King travels extensively in a job he loves and says it was those early days of having someone who believed in him that have stuck with him throughout the years.
“On this journey, I learned a lot about business, finance, the communities that I served, and about myself as a leader and a person,” he says. “I received world-class leadership training, travelled the country, and was given opportunities I had never thought possible in my early life.”
Walmart Canada’s direct, indirect and induced economic impact can be seen coast to coast, including directly employing 60,000 full-time equivalent positions on average, over 2018 to 2020. The company also contributed an estimated $21-billion to Canada’s gross domestic product and 170,000 full-time equivalent jobs throughout the supply chain in 2021. Walmart Canada indirectly contributes to jobs and GDP across a range of industries it does business with, from agricultural and manufacturing to real estate and professional services.
However, it’s the people who work and shop at Walmart who truly make the difference. “Our associates live and work in the communities where our stores, distribution and fulfillment centres, fleet, and home office operate,” says Mr. Gebara. “They are the heartbeat of what we do.”
To read the reports on Walmart Canada’s economic and social contribution, visit walmartcanada.ca.
1This is based on the addition of one Walmart store per 100,000 population in a census metropolitan area, between 2001-2019.
Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio with Walmart Canada. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.