- Get Involved
- Connect with Leaders
- Leadership Stories
- Research and Tools
The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) started its supplier diversity program because it was the right thing to do – and quickly realized it also made good business sense. “At RBC, diversity is a core value. From our employees to our clients, leveraging our similarities and our differences leads to more creative ideas and innovative solutions. And our supplier base is no different,” explains Charles Varvarikos, Head, Facilities Sourcing at RBC. “We operate in a diverse market, and it only makes sense to support companies that are owned and operated by diverse suppliers. Adding new suppliers creates more competition which leads to more competitive ideas and pricing.”
In 2009, when TD began its expansion into the U.S., the company began to examine supplier diversity from an American perspective, where it was a well-established practice. “We developed our program in consultation with other financial institutions and organizations that had supplier diversity programs in place so we could learn from them,” explains Marcia Seymour, Senior Manager, Procurement Corporate Responsibility.
Supplier diversity is not a new idea. In the U.S., it’s been in practice for 45 years. Here in Canada, diverse procurement has been growing steadily over the last decade. Yet, when asked, most Canadian organizations say they can’t find minority suppliers and don’t know how to certify them when they do. Happily, one organization does both.
The YMCA of Greater Toronto may be the first NGO in the GTA to introduce supplier diversity into its procurement process, but David Rourke, Procurement Team Lead, is quite clear that the organization is just in the earliest stages. “The Y is very strong on diversity – it’s part of our strategic plan,” Rourke explains. “But we’re definitely in a learning phase, trying to discover what procurement can do to support the organization’s commitment to diversity.”
The 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games are being hosted in one of the most diverse regions of North America—Toronto. Which is why TO2015, the Organizing Committee established to plan, manage, and deliver the games, announced the creation of the first-ever Diversity Policy for a Pan Am/Parapan Am competition. “Diversity is reflected in both our employee and supplier base because we know it’s going to be reflected in our customer base,” says Bill Zakarow, Director, Procurement, TO2015.
Centennial College’s board first began to look seriously at diversity issues when former MLA Richard Johnson became president in 1999. Ann Buller succeeded Johnson in 2004, and soon took steps to turn principles into policy. All constituency groups, including the board, helped to develop the College’s Diversity Statement, which articulates Centennial’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity. Centennial also affirmed that “since its Board of Governors’ perspective helps to guide College policy, it has a responsibility to be representative of the multicultural communities the College serves.”
Unless a hospital works to meet the needs of all its communities, it will be irrelevant, says the former chair of Women’s College Hospital (WCH), Michele Landsberg, “No public institution can thrive unless it attracts and helps every part of the population.”
A world leader in women’s healthcare, WCH had to create an entirely new infrastructure, purpose and mission when it de-amalgamated from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in 2006. The board of WCH wanted diversity and equity to be built right into the DNA of the new organization. WCH calls its “commitment to optimal health outcomes for diverse women and their families” its Equity Vision – “While ‘diversity’ is a celebration of all that we are, ‘equity’ is our call to action,” explains former Equity Champion Hazelle Palmer. The Equity Vision incorporates the principles of human rights, anti-racism and anti-oppression, and applies to the entire hospital organization, including patients and staff. And it explicitly mandates the resources necessary to achieve its goals.
The North York Seniors Centre (NYSC) annually serves more than 1,000 seniors from diverse backgrounds. NYSC board members were predominantly Anglo-Saxon retirees until recently – although drawn mostly from the Centre’s users, the board had not begun to reflect the demographic changes occurring in North York, one of the most diverse communities in Canada.
Harbourfront Centre is one of the most widely attended arts and culture centres in Canada, attracting more than 12 ½ million visits annually to its events and activities. The non-profit recognizes that culture is a powerful way to connect its diverse stakeholders: audiences, users, artists, employees, volunteers, board and committee members.
When United Way Toronto (UWT) reduced the size of its board of trustees, representing the community still had to be a priority. To be effective, UWT’s trustees must reflect the multicultural and multigenerational nature of Toronto.