Canada's Best
Diversity Employers (2022)
Winners from our 15th annual editorial competition
First published in 2008, Canada's Best Diversity Employers is an editorial competition that recognizes the employers that lead the nation in creating diverse and inclusive workplaces. (Illustration: AS Creative/Getty)

About the Competition

Background

Now in its 15th year, Canada's Best Diversity Employers recognizes employers across Canada that have exceptional workplace diversity and inclusiveness programs. This competition recognizes successful diversity initiatives in a variety of areas, including programs for employees from five groups: (a) women; (b) members of visible minorities; (c) persons with disabilities; (d) Indigenous peoples; and (e) lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender/transsexual (LGBT) peoples. This competition replaced our two annual rankings of the top employers for women and visible minorities, which we published as an appendix to our paperback between 2002 and 2007, when the present competition was launched. Read the special magazine announcing this year's winners published on March 8, 2022 and featured in The Globe and Mail. Read the press release issued the same day for more background on this year's winners.


In the McPherson Library at the University of Victoria, a student consults with a staff librarian.

Selection Process

To determine this year's winners of the Canada's Best Diversity Employers competition, Mediacorp editors reviewed diversity and inclusiveness initiatives at many employers that took part in this year’s Canada's Top 100 Employers project. From this applicant pool, a smaller short-list of employers with noteworthy and unique diversity initiatives was developed. The short-listed candidates' programs were compared to those of other employers in the same field. The finalists chosen represent the diversity leaders in their industry and region of Canada.


Associate lawyers starting their careers at the Toronto office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, one of this year's winners.

Reasons for Selection

Each year, the winners are announced in a special magazine featured in The Globe and Mail, which is our media sponsor for the competition. For our detailed Reasons for Selection, please review the full list of winners below. Publishing detailed Reasons for Selection is a distinguishing feature of our competition: it provides transparency in the selection of winners and 'raises the bar' so that other employers can discover and adopt initiatives that work well elsewhere.


To improve diversity and inclusion, Université de Montréal has partnerships with 30 community organizations that help employ individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Eligibility Requirements

Any employer with its head office or principal place of business in Canada may apply for this competition. Employers of any size may apply, whether private or public sector. Each applicant must have an interesting initiative for at least one of the five above diversity groups covered by this competition.

2023 Competition

Applications for our 2023 competition will be available early in 2022. Our 2023 winners will be announced in The Globe and Mail early in 2023. Join our mailing list to stay up to date and receive an application for next year's competition.

To improve diversity and inclusion, TD Bank Group introduced new training for employees, including understanding Black experiences, anti-Black racism and anti-racism, and gender identity evolution.
To improve diversity and inclusion, TD Bank Group introduced new training for employees, including understanding Black experiences, anti-Black racism and anti-racism, and gender identity evolution.

Introduction

Listening and learning from employees a top priority for Canada's Best Diversity Employers 2022 by Mediacorp

Canada's Best Diversity Employers 2022 by Mediacorp are putting in the work to make diversity, equity and inclusion a high priority in their organizations. Ignited by an increased awareness of injustices, these organizations are driving change with formalized policies, action plans and a multitude of innovative initiatives that are pushing best practices to new levels.

Canada's Best Diversity Employers 2022 by Mediacorp are putting in the work to make diversity, equity and inclusion a high priority in their organizations. Ignited by an increased awareness of injustices, these organizations are driving change with formalized policies, action plans and a multitude of innovative initiatives that are pushing best practices to new levels.

These outstanding employers understand that real change begins with more inclusive leadership, with accountability and transparency built in across their organizations. As just one example, Accenture announced 2025 internal workforce representation goals across nine dimensions of diversity to achieve its long-term goal of full workforce and leadership representation. The firm also publishes annual demographics of its Canadian workforce by gender, visible minorities, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, military and LGBTQ2S.

Companies also demonstrated a new willingness to listen and learn from employees who have encountered racism or prejudice – from the career challenges they've faced to the supports, such as employee affinity groups, that can help. For instance, CIBC's inclusion and diversity leadership council hosts listening exercises to understand barriers faced by segments of its employee population and conducts confidential diversity questionnaires. Over the past year, that included consulting employees during the rise of conversations around anti-Black and Indigenous systemic racism, as well as during the rise of anti-Asian sentiment.

That kind of information is sparking a direct response. In another example, after Enbridge embarked on an employee listening journey to hear about obstacles and potential solutions, the company used employee feedback to create two targeted action plans for Black equity and Indigenous employment.

It's important to recognize that the effort these employers are making is an ongoing process. But in striving to be better, they are an example to us all.

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2022 Winners

Here are 2022 winners of the Canada's Best Diversity Employers competition. Click an employer name to read our editors' full Reasons for Selection:


Royal Bank of Canada offers a 10-month leadership development program ('Ignite') for high-performing, culturally diverse employees, aimed at accelerating their promotion.

The official opening of Manitou a bi Bii daziigae innovation centre at Red River College last fall – the Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) name translates to ‘where the Creator sits and brings light’.
The official opening of Manitou a bi Bii daziigae innovation centre at Red River College last fall – the Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) name translates to ‘where the Creator sits and brings light’.

Diverse Ways of Knowing

Canada's Best Diversity Employers could learn a lot from Indigenous traditions

As an Indigenous manager, Meghan Shannon Kwaskochathikis likes to talk about what the Seven Grandfather Teachings could bring to the Canadian workplace. And it's something that Canada's Best Diversity Employers might find inspiring as well, because more and more of them are focusing very closely on Indigenous inclusion.

Kwaskochathikis, a Cree who works as senior relationship manager on the Indigenous Markets team at CIBC in Vancouver, notes that the teachings, widely shared in various adaptations among First Nations across North America and sometimes known as the Seven Sacred Teachings, are very applicable to modern organizations and the people they hire.

"The Seven Grandfather Teachings are humility, bravery, wisdom, truth, honesty, love and respect, with respect being the key one," she notes. "It is a simple yet powerful tool to remind us to always do better and be better, and a lot of Indigenous people bring those Seven Grandfather Teachings with them intrinsically.

"So they bring respect and humility and kindness, and a lot of Indigenous people show extreme bravery -- if you look at the history, we have had to fight to create space for ourselves, to create seats at the table. But they also bring with them this strong underlying power to consistently do what's right, and create representative spaces for all people."

In other words, Indigenous ways of knowing might have a lot to offer to the mission, vision and values statements of Canadian organizations. "If we saw employers across this country, as part of their leadership mandate, say 'we are going to stick to the Seven Grandfather Teachings,' how impressive would that be?" says Kwaskochathikis.

And indeed, one of the recurring themes among the winners of this year's competition for Canada's Best Diversity Employers is a clear intent to do more in the Indigenous realm, especially in the wake of the shocking revelations in 2021 about mass graves at residential schools, as well as the creation of the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day, as a federal statutory holiday on September 30. Many employees wore orange shirts that day, and many of their companies have embarked on awareness campaigns to help their people understand the Indigenous experience, as well as looked for ways to attract more Indigenous applicants.

Kristina Leung, senior editor for Mediacorp Canada, which runs the competition, says there has also been a lot of response among employers to the Calls to Action in the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Among them is Call 92, which asks them to "ensure that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector." Moreover, says Leung, "some organizations have talked about incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing and learning into policy, whether it's having an elder or a knowledge keeper as part of an Employee Assistance Program or allowing time off for Indigenous employees to attend certain cultural events."

She notes that the University of British Columbia and some other organizations have even re-spelled the U.S.-originated acronym BIPOC, meaning Black, Indigenous and People of Colour, to IBPOC, putting Indigenous up front in the Canadian context.

Across the board among applicants, says Leung, there is much wider attention to diversity, equity and inclusion. "There's a sense that everything is kind of accelerated," she says. "There's a lot of momentum behind these conversations and initiatives." Not only are activities expanding within companies, but the employers involved are appearing in traditionally less diverse industries, such as construction and engineering.

Many employers are also setting specific goals, such as a target percentage of the workforce or leadership being female or of diverse backgrounds. "It's the old thing of what gets measured gets done," says Leung. "The move to tangible action is quite different from where we were even three or four years ago."

And why now? "Many organizations will say that a lot of change has taken place over the past few years, including the pandemic and Black Lives Matter, that has ignited a lot of conversation and required organizations to create space for dialogue among employees. They've had to really listen and engage with those experiences and to take that feedback to heart."

Overall, Leung says, there is a greater balance today among areas of diversity, equity and inclusion. "In the early days of the competition, there was a lot of focus on gender and women in leadership," she says. "Now, in 2022, there's more space to talk about Indigenous recruitment and retention, increasing representation of visible minorities, Black employees and the Black experience, people with disabilities, LBGTQ+, and many other people and issues. There's more space for all these different voices."

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