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Canada’s best companies find strength in diversity

March 4, 2016

By Diane Jermyn, Globe and Mail |

Today, as refugees from Syria and many other countries arrive on our shores, Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2016 are showing how to welcome them into the workplace. These employers are leaders in creating an inclusive environment where individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds are recognized and valued for who they are at work, setting an example not only for Canadian business but also organizations around the world. In reflecting the diversity of the people who make up Canada – including new immigrants, aboriginal people, LGBT employees and those with disabilities – these organizations also reap the benefits, becoming stronger and more innovative through the addition of fresh voices.

For instance, Rogers Communications Inc. partners with the Career Bridge internship program to provide employment opportunities to internationally educated professionals. Accenture Inc. maintains a global Persons with Disabilities Champions program, which is focused on workplace accommodations. And British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority encourages managers to hire skilled newcomers at junior-level positions, providing a defined career advancement plan, including timelines for performance and development reviews.

Kristina Leung, senior editor of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, notes that employers continue to have conversations about diverse groups outside of those captured by the competition, such as those with “invisible” disabilities such as mental health issues, cognitive and learning disabilities, and persons with lived experience of addiction. Examples include Ryerson’s mental health policy lens and advisory committee and Sodexo’s Williow Bean Café, which provides opportunities for persons with mental health challenges to gain practical work experience. Additionally, a growing number of employers, such as Mount Sinai Hospital and Dentons Canada, are further addressing LGBT awareness and inclusion by creating formal gender transition policies for the workplace.

In promoting inclusiveness and diversity though their workplaces, these Canadian employers represent Canada at its best.

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