Indigenous Peoples’ history and stories
Join us in acknowledging, appreciating, and celebrating the rich, diverse cultures of Indigenous Peoples during National Indigenous History Month and beyond.
Illustrations by Jasmine Bernard, member of the Madawaska Maliseet
First Nation, also known by the traditional name, Wolastoqiyik.
The Turtle Island Story
To celebrate National Indigenous History Month, we invite you to experience the story of Turtle Island as told through the illustrations of Jasmine Bernard, member of the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation, also known by the traditional name, Wolastoqiyik. Storytelling is a vital and vibrant part of Indigenous culture. The many different versions of the Turtle Island story told by Indigenous Peoples around the world reminds us of the diversity and rich cultural heritage of Indigenous Communities. This month we encourage you to celebrate and learn from Indigenous culture.
We acknowledge and honour that from coast to coast to coast, we are all standing on the traditional territory of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people. Scotiabank is committed to reconciliation and furthering our connection with the Indigenous communities across our footprint.
Supporting Indigenous communities through education
Over 1,000 students educated on the shared history of residential schools
In June 2022, Indigenous Financial Services and the Indigenous Network Employee Resource Group hosted over 1,000 elementary and middle school students from the Greater Toronto Area to learn about the lasting impacts of residential schools, Indigenous perseverance, and pride in Indigenous cultures.
Spaces to learn about the impacts of the residential school system
In partnership with the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF), Scotiabank has dedicated Legacy Spaces in three branches to bring attention to Chanie Wenjack’s story, a 12-year-old Indigenous boy who died while fleeing a residential school. The Legacy Spaces provide an opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians to engage and learn about the history and legacy of residential schools.
Teach For Canada–Gakinaamaage
Scotiabank supports Teach For Canada–Gakinaamaage (formerly Teach For Canada) to help improve the educational outcomes for over 6,000 Indigenous students in remote First Nations communities.
Scotiabank supports Indspire to increase economic prosperity for Indigenous youth, by helping ensure a smooth transition into post-secondary education and the work force.
Scotiabank supports Connected North, a program that provides immersive and interactive education services to over 30,000 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students in remote communities across Canada.
Outside Looking In
Scotiabank donates to Outside Looking In, an organization that supports and empowers Indigenous youth with high school, post-secondary education, and career readiness.
The Moose Hide Campaign
Scotiabank stands with The Moose Hide Campaign, an Indigenous-led grassroots movement taking a bold stance to end violence against Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirited people. We call on our customers and communities to join us in taking action by wearing a pin, having a conversation, and consider supporting the campaign if you can. Pins are available at the link below.
Supporting Indigenous employees
Employment Equity Plan
Since 2020, as part of our comprehensive Employment Equity Plan, we’ve developed several measures to increase the representation of Indigenous Peoples at all levels of our bank. That includes targeted recruitment campaigns, candidate readiness initiatives completed with Indigenous community partners, an Indigenous Mentorship program, and a professional development series for all Indigenous employees.
Updated employee benefits
As of April 1, 2023, employees enrolled in the Canadian Benefits plan can submit expenses related to Indigenous ceremonies, language learning, materials for cultural crafts, and traditional medicine through the Wellbeing Account.
Updated Traditional Indigenous Practices Leave Policy
We’ve updated the Scotiabank Traditional Indigenous Practices Leave policy to provide 5 paid days off for Indigenous employees to participate in Indigenous cultural practices and events.
Platforms for Indigenous employees to share their experiences
The Indigenous Network Employee Resource Group (IERG) is spearheaded by Indigenous employees and allies within the Bank. Its mission is to mentor, celebrate and educate employees on Indigenous cultures, histories, and traditions. In September 2022, they received the Workplace Culture Impact award at Seramount’s ERG Impact Awards celebration for their contributions to increasing awareness for allies and supporting the voices of Indigenous employees.
Mandatory Indigenous cultural competency course for all employees in Canada
Scotiabank’s Indigenous cultural competency program provides all employees with an introductory course to build awareness of the diversity of Indigenous cultures in Canada and apply this understanding to advance inclusion and belonging. The course connects historical and contemporary Indigenous experiences to present-day relationships with Canadian governments, communities, and financial institutions. In 2021, this course became mandatory for all employees in Canada and all global employees serving Canadian customers.
Benefits for Indigenous Employees
Through one of our employee benefits suppliers, the Bank offers an online story-based mental health resource supported by Indigenous wellness providers to all Indigenous employees.
Supporting Indigenous customers
Member of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
Scotiabank is a proud member of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, where we hold a prestigious Gold Certification for Progressive Aboriginal Relations. This third-party certification recognizes companies that have demonstrated effective programs and policies to maximize involvement with Indigenous communities.
Helping Indigenous clients turn systemic constraints into economic opportunity
Scotiabank’s Indigenous Financial Services group creates sustainable financial relationships based on trust and respect to help achieve prosperity and honour our commitment to future generations. We listen to understand our client’s challenges, whether it’s legislative constraints to raising capital, operating enterprises in remote places, or a historical legacy of distrust of non-Indigenous parties.
Canada’s first on-reserve bank branch
More than five decades ago, Scotiabank became the first non-Indigenous Canadian bank to open a branch in a First Nations community – signifying our desire to understand, respect and work with Indigenous individuals, communities, and businesses on their traditional lands.
Diverse teams are stronger teams. At Scotiabank, we’re working to acknowledge, appreciate, and celebrate the experiences of the Indigenous community year-round.
Senior Consultant -
“I recently joined Scotiabank. What I appreciated most throughout the recruitment process was that the recruiter and management with whom I interviewed didn’t need to be convinced of my value and were genuinely interested in learning more about me. I am passionate about Indigenous representation and mending relationships between all Treaty Peoples, and I feel empowered by my team and management to foster that passion with Scotiabank. I know that with more Indigenous voices at the proverbial table, we will influence a better future for the next 7 generations and I am proud to be a part of this future for the Bank.”
Senior Manager, Inclusion for Indigenous Peoples - Campus Program
"Without the support of my community, I would have never brought my authentic self into everything I have done or connected with so many others who have had similar experiences. So, when I learned about the development of our new Indigenous Peoples Development Program, SOAR, I couldn't have been more excited to join a bank supportive of my culture. Throughout my time here, my team, my coworkers, and our leaders have consistently supported my work and let me be one of the voices for our communities. I am grateful for a workplace that has helped me champion change in everything I do.”
"It is no secret that banks have had a historically exclusionary relationship with Indigenous Peoples. Today, Scotiabank is a true ally of First Nation, Metis and Inuit employees, customers and communities. From day one of my employment, I have witnessed how Scotiabank consistently celebrates and honours the diverse perspectives of Indigenous talent. Real, sustainable change always begins from within and Scotiabank lives this truth by creating a safe and prosperous environment for Indigenous talent to thrive."