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Council asks business leaders to commit to anti-racism

July 2, 2020
By Talent Canada staff

The Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism released the BlackNorth Initiative CEO Pledge on June 30, asking senior business leaders in Canada to commit their companies to specific actions and targets designed to end anti-Black systemic racism and create opportunities for all of those in the underrepresented BIPOC community.

“As business leaders, we recognize that it is not enough to just say we’re behind you,’” said Wes Hall, founder and chairperson of the council, in a news release. “To effect meaningful change, the Black community needs business leaders to be at their side fighting for change.”

“Many Canadian companies have made statements condemning anti-Black systemic racism. It is now time to back that up with action by signing the pledge.”

Pledging allegiance

The pledge asks CEOs to commit to seven goals, listed as follows:

  1. We will increase our efforts to make our workplaces trusting places to have complex, and sometimes difficult conversations about anti-Black systemic racism and ensure that no barriers exist to prevent Black employees from advancing within the company.
  2. We will implement or expand unconscious bias and anti-racism education.
  3. We will share best — and unsuccessful — practices to ensure all companies have access to the programs and strategies needed to achieve true diversity and inclusion.
  4. We will create and share strategic inclusion and diversity plans with our board of directors. We will establish at least one diversity leadership council and make efforts to ensure these groups include diverse representation, including senior Black leaders, within our organization.
  5. We will ensure that Black communities across Canada are aware of opportunities of employment within our organization and that employment opportunities are set aside for Black people, including committing to specific hiring goals of at least five per cent within our student workforce from the Black community.
  6. As a numeric goal provides real impetus for change, we have made a goal of, at a minimum, 3.5 per cent of executive and board roles based in Canada being held by Black leaders by 2025.
  7. We will set inclusive talent management goals and include them in senior executives’ annual performance scorecards.

Companies that sign the pledge will also be expected to track their progress and share their results publicly.

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