Employment Equity Achievement Awards 2023


The Employment Equity Achievement Awards recognize federally regulated private-sector employers and federal contractors for their efforts in implementing employment equity in their workplaces. Since 2016, the Government of Canada has recognized over 80 employers across the country. This year, the Minister of Labour presented 34 awards to 19 employers in the five categories, including the new Indigenous Reconciliation award.


This new award recognizes employers who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous people. This may include:

  • outreach and partnerships with local Indigenous communities;
  • innovative approaches to Indigenous recruitment;
  • employee training programs on Indigenous reconciliation; and
  • supporting engagement with Indigenous communities and stakeholders on employment equity.

The Indigenous Reconciliation award goes to:

SAP Canada Inc.

SAP Canada created an Indigenous Inclusion Steering Committee of leaders representing the company’s key functional groups. They became the first Canadian technology company to launch an Indigenous inclusion initiative by partnering with the First Nations Technology Council and joining their Moving Beyond Inclusion program. They launched a donation-matching campaign in support of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. They have also empowered their employees to become better allies to First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples through their Indigenous Ally Network group.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce formed a reconciliation action committee, responsible for stewarding their reconciliation framework, and announced new commitments to further support economic prosperity for Indigenous people, while responding to Call to Action #92 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. They have also introduced new initiatives focused on fostering a workplace inclusive of Indigenous values and advancing reconciliation. It includes:

  • implementing a talent goal that at least 2% of external hires are Indigenous people, exceeded with the support from Indspire and Our Children’s Medicine’s HigherMe platform;
  • implementing a new goal that at least 2% of Board-approved executive roles in Canada will be held by Indigenous people by 2025;
  • growing their Indigenous Employee Circle to provide support and career development resources for First Nations, Métis and Inuit team members;
  • providing tailored financial services to First Nations, Inuit and Métis clients and communities through a dedicated Indigenous Markets Team; and
  • contributing nearly $3.3 million to community organizations, scholarships and bursaries supporting the next generation of Indigenous leaders and changemakers.

Jazz Aviation

With their Indigenous Employee Group, Jazz Aviation worked to revise the Indigenous Practices Leave policy and continued with their commitment to Indigenous Women in Aviation. They have also:

  • selected a total of four recipients for the Indspire Jazz Aviation and Northern Lights Bursary for Indigenous Women;
  • hosted the diversity and inclusion industry conference Creating Inclusive Skies;
  • invited industry representatives to participate in an education session Virtual Tour of the Mohawk Residential School followed by a roundtable on Truth and Reconciliation where they shared current initiatives and brainstormed industry-wide best practices; and
  • reached out to two legacy Indigenous community partners after receiving the approval to suspend French language requirements in the hiring of a limited number of unilingual flight attendant applicants.

Defence Construction Canada

Defence Construction Canada is dedicated to building transformative partnerships with Indigenous people, striving to collaborate with respect and understanding, aiming to grow competence through outreach, engagement and education as well as working to earn trust through practices that are fair, open and transparent. Their initiatives include:

  • implementing their Indigenous Student Recruitment Program and National Indigenous Youth Work Experience Program, resulting in the hiring of 18 Indigenous students;
  • signing a formal partnership with Indspire to provide funding for annual post-secondary bursaries for Indigenous students.
  • reaching out to career services departments in First Nations located near their worksites to develop relationships with local First Nations communities and enhance the visibility to Indigenous people of job postings, resulting in connecting with more than 50 First Nations and 20 Friendship Centres across Canada;
  • working jointly with their client-partners to set aside an increasing number of contract opportunities exclusively for Indigenous-owned business through the Procurement Strategy for Indigenous Business; and
  • honouring Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by announcing their commitment to the Progressive Aboriginal Relations program.

Ricoh Canada Inc.

Member of the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Businesses, Ricoh Canada has been working through the Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) committee member. They have shown their commitment to reconciliation by:

  • having a vibrant PAR committee that meets monthly to discuss projects related to their PAR strategy;
  • creating and implementing an Indigenous Relations Policy, which requires new hires to complete the PAR training as well as Indigenous awareness training for all staff members;
  • hosting quarterly webinars for learning and sharing with Indigenous community members; and
  • supporting key Indigenous programs, including Water First Training and Education Inc., the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, Indspire and scholarships to support Indigenous education, through their Corporate Social Responsibility activities.


This award recognizes employers who are inspirational role models and championed employment equity in their sector. They have demonstrated a strong commitment and achieved success in implementing employment equity in their organization. The Sector Distinction award goes to:

Horizon Maritime Offshore Ltd.

Equity, diversity and inclusion are at the core of Horizon Maritime’s values and strategic operational goals. They work in partnership with numerous organizations that have reduced entry barriers and have created opportunities for Indigenous seafarers across Canada.

Dexterra Group

One of Dexterra Group’s points of pride is the Outland Youth Employment Program, a local and community-driven initiative that works towards equity and opportunity for Indigenous youth through education, training, and employment opportunities. The program’s values include respect for land and culture as well as responsible and inclusive resource management.

Cameco Corporation

Cameco Corporation promotes their commitment to equity, inclusion and diversity through their policies, values and vision and leadership competencies. They became an active member of the Driving the Advancement of Women in Nuclear Committee, which aims to increase women on boards and male advocates for gender equity in the workplace. They have also highlighted the employment journey in a male-dominated and industrial work environment of women at Cameco in The Mining Association of Canada newsletter for Women’s History Month.

Blue Ant Media Inc.

Dedicated to progressing equity, celebrating diversity, and fostering a safe and inclusive workplace, Blue Ant Media challenges barriers in the television and film industry by supporting numerous organizations and advocating and championing diversity.

Air Canada

Air Canada strives to address diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and concerns through the development of communication tools and creation of a workplace accommodation office to address accessibility and accommodation needs for employees. They continue to reduce gender barriers by promoting women in executive and aircraft pilot roles.

Defence Construction Canada

Defence Construction Canada has demonstrated their commitment to providing a healthy, productive and respectful work environment through job postings and outreach activities, such as National Engineering Month, as well as trade shows and recruitment fairs targeting, but not limited to, women in science, technology, engineering and math as well as the Canadian Construction Association’s call to action: Diversity and Inclusion.

DH Corporation (Finastra)

DH Corporation (Finastra) exemplifies diversity and inclusion by championing and supporting women in science, technology, engineering and math and financial inclusion for young girls through various initiatives, including youth hackathons and partnerships. They are also leading in areas around artificial intelligence, bias and ethical machine learning technology.

CAE Inc.

With diversity and inclusion embedded in their core values and strategic priorities, CAE’s mission is to reduce gender barriers and inspire the future generation of females to pursue their goal of becoming pilots through their Women in Flight program and partnerships with institutions.

Canada Post

As a leader in mail and parcel delivery, Canada Post is committed to ensure all Canadians receive the same service—that is why they have launched their Indigenous and northern reconciliation strategy to improve services to Indigenous communities and have established their first accessibility plan in consultation with persons with disabilities.


This 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 accommodations to correct underrepresentation of persons of designated groups and establishing positive policies and practices to create an environment that supports a diverse workforce.

The Outstanding Commitment award goes to:

Corus Entertainment Inc.

Corus Entertainment has introduced an enhanced self-identification form that includes expanded categories related to race, disability, gender and Indigenous identity, as well as questions related to the 2SLGBTQ+ communities. They have also:

  • launched a content diversity work stream focused on diverse and inclusive representation in its content;
  • set‑up a project team to review their processes related to sourcing, attraction and selection of candidates with a diversity, equity and inclusion lens; and
  •  expanded their network of community stakeholders and partners to represent a more diverse cross-section of the community.

SAP Canada Inc.

Through their Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit, SAP Canada strives to achieve a 100% comprehensive landscape of their employee’s diversity representation and people data by conducting audits to ensure they are gender equitable and inclusive across various areas. Their 29 employee network groups, such as Caregivers@SAP, the Indigenous Ally Network and Pride@SAP, demonstrate that their employment equity initiatives come together to paint a colourful picture of their inclusive workspace.

Cameco Corporation

Inclusion and diversity are embedded in Cameco Corporation’s business strategy and decision‑making to ensure inclusive behaviours and actions are at the forefront of all they do. Their mandatory Building Our Future Together culture workshops contribute to promoting inclusive organizational culture and behaviours. They continue to prioritize qualified members of designated groups and residents of Saskatchewan’s North for recruitment and developmental opportunities to help ensure any unconscious biases and systemic barriers are removed from their processes. Among others, the increased representation of women, particularly in management positions, and of Indigenous people, has helped the company make meaningful changes.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

To help reduce the gaps, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has leveraged external talent partnerships to attract, advance and retain persons with disabilities, Indigenous people and members of the Black community. They launched new scholarships and academic partnerships for designated groups members to help remove barriers to post-secondary education and build a pipeline of young talent. The Make your Mark program awarded entrance scholarships to 10 women studying in the field of business technology management.

ATCO Structures and Logistics Ltd.

Through their Self-Identification Survey Campaign, which had a 97% participation rate, ATCO Structures and Logistics confirmed their progress in positively changing the culture and becoming a more diverse and inclusive work environment. Their focus on Indigenous education and awareness has encouraged investment in a number of internal and external programs every year, including their annual scholarship program for all First Nations which helps remove economic barriers that students may face while pursuing post-secondary education.

Air Canada

Air Canada has signed and engaged to support BlackNorth Initiative’s CEO Pledge Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism and committed to the 25by2025 initiative launched by the International Air Transportation Association to help increase the number of women in senior positions and in under-represented jobs. They also contributed to the Indspire scholarship program that supports Indigenous students enrolled in post-secondary aviation and aerospace engineering programs.   

Defence Construction Canada

Defence Construction Canada’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee as well as executives regularly communicate with employees across Canada about diversity and inclusion-related matters through, but not limited to, their employee and diversity-related newsletters. They continue to embed diversity, inclusion and employment equity into their policies and practices, workforce analysis exercises and commemorative events. Their employees are involved in outreach activities to increase both the representation of designated groups members in their workforce and engagement with other organizations and groups.

Bell Solutions Techniques Inc.

Bell Solutions Techniques’ series of five diversity and inclusion mandatory training modules, covering topics, such as inclusive behaviors, disability, anti-racism and unconscious bias, helped increase their employees’ knowledge and awareness. They have also launched the rope clamp, a new tool that helped remove an employment barrier regarding a specific work requirement to becoming a technician, which is extending the large and heavy ladders. Many former applicants were disqualified, and this improvement has allowed a record number of 64 women to be hired.

Canada Post

Canada Post has established four new employee resource groups, which have contributed to changing their culture and how they are perceived by applicants. The 2021 Employee Engagement Survey by Mercer revealed that Canada Post was amongst best-in-class organizations on the Diversity and Inclusion question. They have also made progress on the representation for the four designated groups and ensured that the Mi'kmaq of Membertou would be served by two members of their community.

Securiguard Services Ltd.

Securiguard Services has created their diversity and inclusion strategy which articulates their commitment to increase diversity in their workforce, including women, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ+ community, Indigenous people and individuals with intersectional identities. To increase Indigenous representation, they have established the Indigenous Employment and Training Program, which consists of a robust outreach, engagement and training program. They are part of the Presidents Group, a network of 25 change‑driven business leaders in British Columbia who are champions for more accessible, inclusive workplaces.


This award recognizes employers who have been innovative in the implementation of employment equity. This may include creativity in the:

  • design and implementation of measures aimed at removing employment barriers;
  • adoption of special measures and/or accommodations;
  • establishment of positive policies or practices;
  • forward-thinking human resources practices; and
  • development of new or unique initiatives.

The Innovation award goes to:

Horizon Maritime Offshore Ltd.

By designating the Polar Prince as a training vessel for the Indigenous Cadet and Trainee program, Horizon Maritime has enhanced their internal talent pool by facilitating strong mentorship opportunities and group learning onboard. They have presented unique opportunities for upskilling Indigenous community members through two initiatives, the Enhanced Bridge Watch Rating and the Heiltsuk Marine Emergency Response Team pilot project.

SAP Canada Inc.

Through their Autism Inclusion Pledge, SAP Canada has inspired organizations to become autism inclusive or expand upon their existing autism inclusion programs as they gain access to a range of resources, such as best practices and practical guides based on six years of experience with their SAP Autism at Work program. They scored 100% in 2021 on the Disability Index, showing their commitment to disability inclusion. They have supported mothers through their maternity journeys with the Maturn program, and are committed to expanding the program resources. They have moved their Diversity and Inclusion model from a siloed, programmatic approach to one that is leader-led and more deeply embedded into their business practices.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce established their BlackNorth Initiative Youth Accelerator, a multi‑year program developed to remove barriers to post-secondary education as well as expanded their relationships with the Black Professionals in Tech Network, Canadian Association of Urban Financial Professionals and Onyx Initiative. To attract, advance and retain persons with disabilities, Indigenous people and the Black community, they have partnered with:

  • Lime Connect, a network of high-achieving students and professionals with disabilities;
  • Specialisterne, a leader in harnessing the talents of people on the autism spectrum;
  • Our Children’s Medicine, an organization that helps to remove barriers for Indigenous people; and
  • schools across Canada to provide bursaries, scholarships and programming support to Indigenous people’s education.

Blue Ant Media Inc.

Blue Ant Media is a proud presenting sponsor of the Women in Film and Television Leadership Development Series program. This program helps people develop their leadership skills to move into more senior roles in the media industry. The idea for the program was conceived out of the need to improve the representation of women in senior leadership roles. Since its launch in 2021, the program’s focus has been expanded to other communities who experience marginalization and are under-represented in the media industry.

Defence Construction Canada

Defence Construction Canada has started their journey to obtain Progressive Aboriginal Relations, a certification program that confirms corporate performance in Aboriginal relations. Their leadership programs contributed to increasing the representation of women in senior management positions. Their National Indigenous Youth Work Experience Program has helped build productive relationships with First Nations communities, Friendship Centres, Indigenous employment agencies, and Indigenous resource centres in Canadian post-secondary institutions.

Canada Post

Canada Post has established a framework to deploy Temporary Equity Special Measures across the organization to implement preferential hiring and designated positions until achievement of 80% of the Canadian Labour Market Availability for Indigenous people and persons with disabilities. Measures include hiring external auditors to assess barriers in their recruitment and onboarding processes. To increase representation of Black people in management and senior management positions, they have partnered with the McKinsey & Company’s Black Leadership Academy program helping Black leaders achieve their professional aspirations.


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

Linda Seymour

General Manager, President and Chief Executive Officer
HSBC Bank Canada 

Passionate advocate for women, Linda Seymour has implemented long-lasting impact changes and strategies measures within the organization, such as:

  • improving gender parity by spearheading recruitment of five women to the Executive Committee and Board;
  • achieving the 50% promotion target for women in senior leadership; and
  • championing HSBC Canada as the first to introduce hybrid workstyles across the HSBC Group to help create balance and support employees as they work to support their families and develop successful careers at work.

RST Sunbury Transport

RST Sunbury Transport’s Transportation & Logistics Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee has demonstrated their ongoing commitment and education to promoting diversity and inclusion within the organization, through initiatives, such as Women Driving Forward book clubs and networking events as well as partnering on Pride events, including the Panel event and parade participation.

Committee members: Kristin Henderson, Stacey Miller, Vanessa Keating, Brittany McGraw, Melanie Patterson, Philippe Labbe, Darien Edison, Leanne Thorne, Anukriti Roy, Alexis McGrattan, Nuala Reilly and Amy Cormier.

Derrick Cheung
President and Chief Executive Officer, Director
Defence Construction Canada

Derrick Cheung’s dedication to creating and promoting a diverse, inclusive, healthy and respectful workplace and leadership in several strategic initiatives have helped ensure the recruitment, retention and promotion of people in the four designated groups. He has:

  • implemented national, regional and Head Office diversity and inclusion awards presented to employees who exemplify inclusive behaviours and promote employment equity, diversity and inclusion;
  • developed and implemented a five-year plan to employ their diversity and inclusion strategy;
  • committed to the Progressive Aboriginal Relations certification program; and
  • partnered with Indspire to create the Indigenous Bursary Program.

Canada Post

Canada Post’s Executive Team has prioritized a customer service that promotes and creates a safe and discrimination free space for all employees and customers. Some of their accomplishments include:

  • co-creating a 5-year equity and diversity strategy with all bargaining agents mailed to all employees;
  • training over 5,200 team leaders, board members and union executives on unconscious bias; and
  • increasing representation for two designated groups largely under-represented through special measures.

Team members: Nadim Kara, Anne Cecile Lequain, Brandy Ryan, Dale LeClair and Natasha Saltes.

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