(Illustrations by Jasmine Bernard, member of the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation. also known by the traditional name, Wolastogiyik.)
At Scotiabank, we seek to foster an inclusive culture in which every employee is valued and appreciated for who they are and is motivated to reach their full potential.
Scotiabank’s ERGs are grassroots initiatives that celebrate diversity and foster equity and inclusion by providing all employees with opportunities to learn, grow and communicate.
We approached the ERG group for updates and recent developments.
Nathalia: Could you please tell me about the Indigenous Peoples ERG and how it has progressed in recent years?
Scotiabank Indigenous ERG group: "The Indigenous Network Employee Resource Group (IERG), since its inception in 2009, has embraced Indigenous employees and our allies. The approach for the IERG has been maintained as providing competency resources, Indigenous awareness, and celebratory events, and supporting information sharing around the Indigenous experience across Canada. The IERG has grown since its inception in 2009 and currently has a full team of Directors and active members. "
Although it started out small, in the fall of 2022, the IERG received the Workplace Culture Impact Award at Seramount’s ERG Impact Awards celebration. The IERG received this external recognition for their work with multiple business lines and focused events and leaders within the Indigenous space to increase awareness for allies and support the voices of Indigenous employees.”
Nathalia: How is the ERG organized? How many members does it have?
Scotiabank Indigenous ERG group: “The IERG is governed by a group of Directors, Co-chairs, and an IERG council. The Directors' team meets monthly, as does the IERG Council. There are 76 active council members, and the team is constantly growing.”
Nathalia: What is the Indigenous Network ERG's goal, and how does it benefit employees?
Scotiabank Indigenous ERG group: “The mission of the IERG is to create a space for Indigenous and non-Indigenous employees to learn, grow, and connect. It creates a medium for connecting with other Indigenous Peoples across the Bank, where there is bravery in honouring the Indigenous identity. Some employees may work in departments without any other Indigenous employees, and the IERG seeks to connect people on a fundamental level.
Additionally, through the monthly “All our Relations sessions” meeting, employees have a shared space to gather. Hosted on Microsoft Teams, “All our Relations” welcomes Indigenous employees and active allies across Canada to connect. It takes place on the third Wednesday of the month and acts as a gathering space, a sharing circle, and a demonstration of the healing of community. The IERG provides a space where employees can gather and be Indigenous in a welcoming environment.”
Nathalia: What activities/events does the ERG plan for its members?
Scotiabank Indigenous ERG group: “As part of the IERG, “All our Relations” is an Indigenous-led virtual monthly gathering space for Indigenous employees and their allies across Turtle Island. It is an opportunity to meet with other Indigenous employees, share cultural knowledge, support each other, and chat. The monthly gathering circle takes place virtually on the third Wednesday of every month.
In Atlantic Canada, Scotiabank employees participated in the first annual Walk for Wenjack event. During Secret Path week, October 17th-22nd 2022, over 675 Scotiabankers participated in the Walk for Wenjack across 70 communities in Atlantic Canada to raise awareness within our teams and communities of the true history of residential schools and raise funds in support of the Downie & Wenjack fund.
And, today, Scotiabank not only recognizes June 21st as National Indigenous Peoples Day across Canada, but also June as National Indigenous History Month, a time to honour the stories, achievements, and resilience of Indigenous Peoples.”
Nathalia: How does Scotiabank support the Indigenous ERG?
Scotiabank Indigenous ERG group: “The Enterprise Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) team provides support and is closely connected to the IERG. The IERG is provided budget and is also part of a new recognition program on Applause whereby ERG leaders can award points to its members. This budget is part of the DEI budget and is rooted in recognition of the hard work of ERG volunteers.
The IERG is part of the larger ERG Council of Chairs, a monthly meeting with governing members of the IERG and other ERGs across the bank in partnership with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team.”
Nathalia: Why is Scotiabank a great employer for Indigenous Peoples?
Scotiabank Indigenous ERG group: “Although there is a small population of Indigenous Peoples at Scotiabank, it is a unified and powerful group. The IERG has many Indigenous employees and active allies who are strong advocates for the community.
Scotiabank also has a variety of benefits for Indigenous employees, including 5 paid cultural days per year, extra bereavement time, Telus Health AbilitiCBT Indigenous, and the inclusion of traditional medicines and healing services within the Canadian Benefits Plan.
Through these initiatives and more, the Scotiabank Indigenous Network is actively driving diversity, equity and inclusion across the Bank and actively supporting the Indigenous community.”