Backgrounder: Employment Equity Achievement Awards 2018


Employment Equity Achievement Awards 2018

The 3rd Annual Employment Equity Achievement Awards took place on October 3 in Ottawa to recognize federally regulated private-sector employers and federal contractors for their efforts in implementing employment equity in their workplaces.

Recipients and categories

Outstanding Commitment

The Outstanding Commitment to Employment Equity award recognizes employers who have demonstrated outstanding commitment in implementing their employment equity plans by instituting measures to remove barriers, adopting special measures and/or establishing positive policies and practices to achieve tangible results.

Bell Canada: The communications company launched a supplier diversity program aimed at increasing the representation of women and minority-owned business in their supply chain.

Capital One Bank (Canada): The company was a lead partner in 2016 and 2017 in a project aimed at changing the gender ratio and the distribution of knowledge, power and capital in tech start-ups.

Gardewine LLP: The representation of equity groups have grown at Gardewine LLP as they adapted, changed and implemented strategies that support a diverse and inclusive workforce.

HSBC Bank of Canada: In 2017, the company worked with its Indigenous Employee Resource Group to provide insight and exposure to the Truth and Reconciliation journey to employees within the organization.

Marine Atlantic Inc.: The Board of Directors has adopted employment equity, diversity and inclusion as one of its major priorities. As a result, the CEO has included action items around diversity and inclusion as part of his objectives and, in 2017, the organization created and filled an Organizational Effectiveness Specialist position, which focuses on creating a respectful workplace, multiculturalism, diversity, inclusion and employee development.

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC): The financial company created a new leadership development program for high-performing, culturally diverse employees to help accelerate their career growth to senior roles, and co-developed the RBC Career Continuation Program with Ryerson University for women on or returning from leave.


The Innovation award recognizes employers who have been innovative in the implementation of employment equity. This can include creativity in the design and implementation of measures to remove barriers, adoption of special measures,  establishment of positive policies or practices, forward thinking in human resources practices and/or development of new or unique initiatives.

ATCO Structures & Logistics Ltd: The organization is actively working with 14 Aboriginal communities through formal memoranda of understanding in 40 communities to provide employment opportunities by advertising job postings directly in the communities, conducting candidate assessments locally and assisting with new hire processes.

Atlantic Towing Limited: The company is striving to encourage women to pursue careers in marine services and has partnered with a number of universities and women in STEM organizations to achieve this goal. The company’s organization of an all-woman tug crew in Halifax, accompanied by a promotional video and press release that garnered significant attention on social media and by news outlets alike, generated an influx of inquiries from women interested in pursuing a career in marine industries.

Queen’s University: In 2017, the university launched the Queen’s Equity Appointment Process (QEAP) an innovative web application that collects, tracks and reports on employment equity data and can be used by academic and administrative units across campus. The system tracks the diversity of the applicant pool from application to job offer.

Sector Distinction

The Sector Distinction award recognizes employers who are inspirational role models in their sector. In addition to demonstrating a strong commitment and achieving success in implementing employment equity in their own organization, these employers also champion employment equity for the sector.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC): In 2017, CIBC set a goal to hire 500 people with disabilities. Through work with internal and external partners, it surpassed that goal and, after one year, the retention rate of the cohort is strong. Combined with increased self-disclosure, this effort helped CIBC grow the representation of people with disabilities.

Cogeco Connexion Inc.: The company has implemented initiatives focusing on the professional progression of women through their Réseau des femmes de Cogeco and “Women in communications and technologies”, and launched a pilot project on flexible work arrangements. In addition, diversity and inclusion are now part of the annual performance objectives of senior management, with specific quantitative goals to be met.

Defence Construction (1951) Ltd.: Defence Construction Ltd. (DCC) developed a merit-based and barrier-free staffing program by creating a library of competency-based questions for all interview boards, now used for internal and external processes. The corporation also developed diversity-related recruitment tools and diversity training to assist managers in hiring staff. As a result of these and other changes, DCC has improved the representation of all designated groups in its workforce over the last two years.

Jazz Aviation LP: The company demonstrated leadership on diversity within its sector by inviting human resources representatives from other airlines to share successful practices and discuss common challenges around employment equity. Jazz is also working with Confederate College to create a program that will support Indigenous youth in pursuing careers as aviation mechanics or airline pilots.

Kindersley Transport Ltd.: Kindersley has committed to implementing measures to remove barriers through its three-year Employment Equity Plan including a Health and Wellness Program, the promotion of Company Safety and Training, and the “What’s New” link, which is used to encourage employees to read up on new information related to diversity and inclusiveness.

Vancouver Airport Authority: In June 2017, the organization signed the Musqueam Indian Band YVR Airport Sustainability & Friendship Agreement a 30-year agreement that includes a number of scholarships and new jobs, identification and protection of archeological resources and support for ongoing operations and long-term development at the airport. In September 2017, the Authority, on behalf of the Presidents Group sponsored the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade’s Inclusive Business Forum. The half-day event was co-hosted by their president and CEO and provided businesses of all sizes the tools to begin hiring inclusive workforces.

Employment Equity Champion

The Employment Equity Champion award recognizes an executive or executive team of an employer for their proven track record of championing employment equity within their organization, as well as their overall contribution to diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace.

Barb Mason (Bank of Nova Scotia)

Craig Richmond (Vancouver Airport Authority)

Page details

Date modified: