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“To disrupt the cycle, there has to be intentional work to seek out, encourage and attract a diverse workforce. If the decision is left to middle managers, there will be no significant change. The transformation has to be mandated by the very top of the organization. That means the CEO of the business has to oversee the transformation. Next, hire a czar of diversity and inclusion who reports directly to the CEO. Make every employee accountable for inclusion. Tie executive’s compensation to diversity, inclusion and retention of Black employees. Provide Black employees with mentors and champions. Collect and retain disaggregated data on diversity in hiring and promotion of Black employees. Provide meaningful training for all employees on culture and conflict. Actively seek out relationships for mutual gain with schools, universities, Black trade and professional organizations. Discourage employees from equating competence and skill with skin colour. And, celebrate difference.”

VERLYN FRANCIS, ARBITRATOR AND PRINCIPAL AT ISIKO DISPUTE RESOLUTION CONSULTANTS

“It is imperative organizations prioritize equity, diversity and inclusion in their strategic plan, know what groups are underrepresented in their workforce and formulate a plan to close those gaps. We want to consider the current makeup of the company and if there is significant underrepresentation. All hiring panels should be diverse and have implicit bias training. We need to focus our advertising efforts on reaching disenfranchised communities and place job postings on websites created for designated group members.”

VALERIE WILLIAMS, EQUITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION FACILITATOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA

“My one priority for companies trying to improve their DEI practices in general is to dig into the workplace experience of your employees who identify as Black, Indigenous and people of colour. If your leadership team is mostly white, explore why and then work to address it. Create programs to accelerate development for colleagues who are Black, Indigenous, people of colour. And if you haven’t done anything extra to support your racialized employees’ emotional well-being over the past year, get on it—now.”

ANIKA HOLDER, VICE-PRESIDENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES AT PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA

Published one year after the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing global reckoning over anti-Black racism, the Time for Change special report is intended to amplify the voices of Black leaders, while shedding light on the work that still needs to be done to combat systemic inequalities across infrastructure, employment and other facets of daily life.