In June 2020, in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and other racist incidents in the U.S. and Canada, CMHC issued a forceful statement rejecting the racism that persists against Black, Indigenous and other people of colour (BIPOC) in Canada every day. Racism has existed for centuries and only a sustained and focused effort will eliminate it. CMHC has started our own anti-racism journey by committing to a plan of action to support Black and other racialized colleagues within our company.
Although CMHC has been recognized as one of Canada’s Top Diversity Employers, the Black Lives Matter movement and the anguish expressed by many of our racialized colleagues caused us to take a closer look our own operations. What we learned was sobering: very few of our people leaders are Black, Indigenous or people of colour. We have committed to do better to build a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects Canadian society at all levels of the organization. Our goals are set out in the accompanying table. Ultimately, our intention is to make CMHC a place where everyone feels they belong.
|Group||2020 Actual (as of Dec. 31, 2020)||2020 Target||2021 Target||2025 Target||2020 Actual (as of Dec. 31, 2020)||2020 Target||2021 Target||2025 Target|
|Black Employee Segment||6.7%||N/A**||3.5%||3.5%||3.6%||N/A**||2.5%||3.5%|
|Persons Living with Disability||10.6%||6.9%||9.4%||10.4%||9.9%||6.9%||9.7%||10.4%|
|LGBTQ2+***||4.0%||Targets to be set as information becomes available||4.9%||Targets to be set as information becomes available|
* Employee with direct reports and individual contributor who are Advisor and higher.
** Targets were established in 2020 starting with 2021.
*** Establishing benchmark difficult due to lack of comprehensive data on Canadian representation. Based on voluntary self-identification; actuals may be higher.
- These targets are the minimum representation and reflect Census data. CMHC’s goals is to have a diverse employee population and it continuously aims to exceed these minimum targets.
- COVID-19 may impact future labour market availability; the targets will be revised based on 2021 Census data and reflected in future plans.
- Establishing benchmark for LGBTQ2+ is difficult due to lack of data on Canadian representation. Based on voluntary self-identification; actuals may be higher.
Beyond just numbers, we are determined to promote an equitable future. We are participating in the BlackNorth Initiative and have made eight specific commitments in a focused effort to eliminate racism within our company. These commitments have been strongly endorsed by our Board of Directors.
Reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples is also a critical component of our journey to build an equitable workplace. In 2020, we appointed a special advisor to oversee a new framework for reconciliation that is being guided by Indigenous people. From culture to relationships, this will affect all facets of CMHC. We will also work with Indigenous colleagues to co-develop and deliver programs and implement internal policies, procedures and practices to meet their needs.
We have taken quick actions to build the equity foundation. We have:
- engaged with Network of Black Leaders (NoBLe) and Indigenous Employee Circle (IEC) employee resource groups
- increased knowledge of and facilitated internal dialogues on allyship, unconscious biases and racism
- implemented steps toward equitable hiring practices
- worked with external groups to complement our employee resource groups in exposing racism and promoting equity and fairness at CMHC
- established a task force to lead our anti-racism and equity work that will report to CMHC’s Executive Committee and CEO
- created the new position of Chief Equity Officer to guide the development and implementation of an anti-racism and equity strategy (hiring will proceed in 2021)
This is just the beginning. Through ongoing dialogue with BIPOC and other marginalized and equity-seeking colleagues, we will learn, unlearn and build as we go.
We will work with CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals and similar organizations elsewhere in Canada to secure stronger support for our Black colleagues;
We will work with Monumental on a new initiative to promote fairness, justice and an equitable recovery, in support of our commitment to a continuing conversation;
We already measure and publish targets for representation of Indigenous persons and people of colour; we will add representation goals for Black and racialized people among our people leaders and senior management;
- Policy review
We will re-assess all our policies and practices through a racialized lens to eliminate discrimination, specifically including the following with the help of those with lived experience:
- ensure the enforcement of anti-racism standards to our Code of Conduct;
- proactively use our programs (including NHS initiatives) specifically to help Black and racialized Canadians; and
- help ensure that Black and racialized people have equal access as tenants in CMHC-funded buildings and recourse against discriminatory landlords.
- Mental health
We will reinforce our support for the unique mental health of our Black and racialized colleagues — ensuring that they receive counselling from people who are similarly affected;
- HR practices
We will involve people with lived experience of racism in a re-assessment of both our recruiting, evaluation and promotion processes and our Diversity and Inclusion efforts to eliminate barriers to Black and racialized colleagues;
We will (a) offer leadership training and professional development to support the progress of Black and racialized employees at CMHC and (b) provide mandatory anti-racism training for all staff; and
We prepared a corporate statement rejecting racism, white supremacy and atoning for past racism and insensitivity, including our role in funding the forced resettlement of Black people, most notably from Halifax’s historic Africville and Hogan’s Alley in Vancouver.