At the inaugural BlackNorth Initiative Summit on Monday, Scotiabank reaffirmed its commitment to combatting racism and discrimination of all forms to enable better futures for its employees, customers and communities at large. 

“For too long, many members of our communities have felt excluded from economic opportunities because of systemic racism, unconscious bias, and discrimination,” said Scotiabank President and CEO Brian Porter. “Our Bank is only as successful as the societies in which we operate. When there are individuals and communities that feel left out, we cannot be strong. By working with the BlackNorth Initiative, we’re confident that we will see real and positive change across society, for the benefit of all Canadians.”

Porter, alongside several leaders from corporate Canada, participated in the inaugural BlackNorth Initiative Summit on Monday. Scotiabank signed the BlackNorth Initiative CEO pledge, which outlines seven goals for organizations aimed at helping to end anti-Black systemic racism and creating opportunities for all of those in the underrepresented Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities. Porter was recently named to the BlackNorth Board of Directors. Scotia Capital Vice Chairman Mark Mulroney was also named to the Board.

“We are building a Bank that is strengthened by our differences – not divided by them – that calls out injustice of all forms when we see it and that strives to use every opportunity to make better, stronger societies,” added Porter.                        

“We are deeply committed to fostering an inclusive culture and, as a whole, the Bank is moving to advance diversity and inclusion for our customers and employees through several important initiatives,” said Barb Mason, Group Head and Chief Human Resources Officer. “We have a long history of championing diversity and inclusion in every market in which we operate, and we are committed to taking meaningful steps to support the advancement of members of BIPOC communities.”

Recent Efforts to Increase BIPOC Employee Representation and Support

To strengthen its BIPOC efforts, the Bank has recently implemented several initiatives, including:

  • Standing up a BIPOC Inclusion Task Force to support the elimination of racism and racial discrimination in society through a coordinated strategy that will focus on employee programs, business activities and community partnerships. The Task Force will work closely with the Bank’s Inclusion Council, which is chaired by the President and CEO of Scotiabank.
  • Ensuring a strong pipeline of BIPOC talent into the Bank. Over 50% of student hires come from BIPOC communities and the Bank remains committed to this level of overall representation, with special emphasis being placed on representation of Black and Indigenous students going forward.
  • Relaunching an updated employee diversity survey to better understand its employee population and diversity representation gaps, as well as extend reporting beyond visible minority representation to include race and ethnicity.
  • Providing senior leaders with the opportunity to hear directly from employees who identify as BIPOC across Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. through listening sessions.
  • Supporting managers and employees to recognize and confront racism, including anti-Black racism, with recently launched leader guides that provide practical information and help employees build confidence in speaking up about systemic racism, anti-Black racism, racial harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

“We are proud of our diverse workforce and believe it helps differentiate as us a top employer, a leading financial services partner, and an integral part of the communities we serve,” added Mason. “We know the work to build a more inclusive Bank is never done, and we are in the process of renewing our targets based on our current employee diversity survey. These commitments are in addition to our BlackNorth pledge. We remain more committed than ever to empowering inclusion and opportunity, for every future.”

To reinforce the Bank’s purpose – for every future – and unwavering commitment to inclusion, Scotiabank recently published a short film featuring diverse voices of employees, customers and community partners speaking about the real and positive impact made by Scotiabank across its footprint. The film has been shared with the Bank’s tens of thousands of employees.



Fostering An Inclusive Workplace for Black and Indigenous and People of Colour

The Bank is committed to building a workplace that is free of discrimination. In 2016, Scotiabank was the first Canadian bank to adopt its own Human Rights Statement at the highest level of the organization, and the Bank continues to further foster an inclusive workplace that is free of discrimination and provides equal access to opportunity for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour through the following:

  • Enabling employees to acknowledge and check any biases be it conscious or unconscious: The Bank’s global diversity training includes learning and guides on workplace safety and inclusion, and mandatory unconscious bias training that promote a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
  • Building an inclusive culture through training and learning: More than 30 different formal diversity and inclusion-related learning programs are offered to all employees through LinkedIn Learning’s digital library.
  • Providing a hub of inclusion resources: A new dedicated internal website features helpful resources, Bank actions, and other items to support employee education and action.
  • Supporting the inclusion of Indigenous employees: The Bank has prepared a detailed three-year Employment Equity Plan to promote diversity, develop positive Indigenous relationships and respond to Canada’s Reconciliation imperative.
  • Empowering change through Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Grassroots efforts have established 13 ERGs that enable employees to learn and effect change at the individual level.  Among them are an Indigenous Network, six visible minority-focused groups, a global Pride network, and 30+ Women’s Group Chapters that have more than 8,500 employees participate globally. Many of them make up the 70 national and global chapters that host about 100 educational events a year. 

Ensuring A Diverse Pipeline For Leadership Roles:

The Bank is taking steps to ensure its leadership teams better reflect its customers and the communities in which it operates by:

  • Championing inclusion from the top: Scotiabank’s Inclusion Council involves senior leaders across the Bank and is sponsored by the Bank’s President and CEO. It focuses on ensuring a diverse talent pipeline of future leaders.
  • Setting up an Employment Equity Advisory Forum to provide recommendations and support the removal of barriers to ensure the Bank continues to build a diverse and inclusive workplace.
  • Adding a new promotability flag for all employees globally within a new HR platform, providing line of sight centrally to the strong talent across the Bank.
  • Improving employment systems. The Bank is reviewing its HR systems, policies and practices, with a specific lens to BIPOC, gender, LGBT+ and people with disabilities.
  • Interviewing and hiring candidates from the broadest talent pools for all levels. The Bank is applying best practices to support managers and consulting with partners on additional measures to ensure fair and equitable hiring, development and promotion.

Supporting Economic Inclusion For BIPOC Through Community Investment

Through a variety of partnerships and programs focused on advancement of BIPOC in the community, Scotiabank reinforces its commitment to real and positive change. Many of these partnerships are described in Scotiabank’s 2019 Employment Equity report.

The Bank also recently announced a $500,000 commitment to several organizations recognized for their leadership in ending racial discrimination in Black communities within Canada and the U.S. Funds are directed toward providing tools and educational resources for those groups most at risk of being subject to individual, institutional and systemic racism, with a focus on Black youth, and include organizations such as Careers Education Empowerment Centre for Young Black Professionals and the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.