RBC announces 2013 Aboriginal Student Awards Program Recipients

RBC has announced its 2013 RBC Aboriginal Student Awards Program recipients. Ten Aboriginal students will receive scholarships to offset the costs of post-secondary tuition, textbooks, supplies and living expenses during the academic year.

Committed to supporting Aboriginal youth in their education journey, RBC will award each recipient with up to $4,000 annually, for a maximum of four years, to help ease the financial strain students often face when pursuing post-secondary education.

“Aboriginal youth continue to represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the Canadian population, yet statistically they have a lower level of education than other Canadians,” said Chinyere Eni, national director, Aboriginal Markets, RBC.  “Scholarships like this can support a student’s post-secondary success by alleviating some of the financial pressures that can get in the way of educational goals.”

While education remains a critical component to improving the social and economic strength of Aboriginal communities, financial barriers continue to deter Aboriginal youth from going to university or college. With the right resources, they can achieve their career aspirations and give back to their community.

Since the RBC Aboriginal Student Awards Program was launched in 1992, over $1.3 million dollars has been awarded to 128 First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth across Canada pursuing post-secondary education. RBC also considers scholarship recipients who are interested in careers in financial services for summer and post-graduate employment.

2013 winners of the RBC Aboriginal Student Awards Program are: Elizabeth Brockman, Saskatoon, SK (Métis Nation-Saskatchewan),University of Victoria – Bachelor of Science; Stephanie Cleveland, Winnipeg, MB (Manitoba Métis Federation),Brandon University – Psychiatric Nursing; Katrina Hewton-Backfat, Calgary,AB  (Siksika Nation),Athabasca University – Bachelor of Arts, Psychology; Jordan Jones, Kamloops, BC (NunatuKavut), Dalhousie University – Bachelor of Environmental Design Studies; Tyler Markowski, Morinville, AB (Métis Nation of Alberta), University of Alberta – Chemical Engineering; Dalton Reany, Port Elgin, ON (Chippewas of Nawash First Nation), University of Toronto – Rotman Commerce; Deanna Smith, Inuvik, NT (Nihtat Gwich’in),Northern Alberta Institute of Technology – Business Administration; Alexander Thomas, Wolfville, NS (Snuneymuxw First Nation),Acadia University – Bachelor of Science in Math and Economics; Toni Warrior, Edmonton, AB (Piikanii Nation),University of Alberta – Major in Math, Minor in Physical Education; Krista Zawadski, Rankin Inlet, NU (Rankin Inlet),University of British Columbia – Anthropology, Archaeology and Museum Studies.

Applications for the 2014 RBC Aboriginal Student Awards Program will be accepted from December 1, 2013 to February 28, 2014. Eligibility criteria and more information can be found at rbc.com/careers/aboriginal_student_awards.


OHRC policy on removing the “Canadian experience” barrier

On July 15, 2013, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) implemented a new policy removing the “Canadian experience” barrier in employment applications. The effect of the policy is that employers and regulatory bodies, such as accrediting professional organizations, may not ask questions regarding an applicant’s work experience in Canada unless the “Canadian experience” is legitimately required for the job. The policy is intended to address discrimination directed at immigrants who “can’t get a job without Canadian experience and … can’t get experience without a job” which results in immigrants often turning “to unpaid work such as volunteering, internships or low-skilled ‘survival jobs’ to meet the requirement for Canadian experience.” The policy also addresses “obstacles to immigrants who apply for professional accreditation since some regulatory bodies will not admit new members without prior work experience in Canada.” The OHRC offers various resources, including a brochure that outlines acceptable and unacceptable types of questions that employers and regulatory bodies may ask under the new policy. To view the brochure.



Nominations open for the Diversity Leadership Award of Distinction 2014

Nominations are now open for the Alberta Human Rights Commission Diversity Leadership Award of Distinction. The Diversity Leadership Award recognizes workplaces that welcome diversity in their workforces, are eliminating discrimination and barriers to employment and are helping to build respectful and inclusive workplaces. The Diversity Leadership Award is one of the Alberta Business Awards of Distinction. Organizations in all sectors, including businesses, community organizations and public institutions, are eligible to apply. The deadline for nominations is November 23, 2013. Applications are submitted online.

Canadian Centre for Diversity to cease day-to-day operations

Citing funding challenges, the Board of Directors of the Canadian Centre for  Diversity (CCD) has decided to cease its day-to-day operations after a year-long  effort to maintain its programs concerning the importance of diversity and  inclusion within Canadian society. The decision was reluctantly made at a Board  of Directors meeting on Monday, September 23 following a careful review of all options available to the Board in this regard.

“Over our 65-year history we have delivered a number of critical diversity  education programs across the country thanks to our dedicated staff, and our  generous donors,” said Janice O’Born, Chair of  the Board of Directors. “Our commitment to educating Canadians on diversity,  difference and inclusion has served as a catalyst for other organizations who  continue their efforts around similar awareness programs. We are proud of our  accomplishments in helping others achieve their inclusivity goals.”

Widely recognized as a premier authority on diversity education, CCD’s vision  was to create a Canadian society without prejudice and discrimination, one that  values diversity, difference, and inclusion. The Board will now liaise with  other like-minded charities in order to determine if any of its programs can be  carried on through a new provider.

“On a daily basis we have seen the benefits that our programs have brought to  students across Canada,” said Leonard  Latchman, CCD Board of Directors. “I want to thank our Board for  serving as our champions and for their help in ensuring the creation of safer,  more inclusive environments in our students’ schools and communities.”

About the Centre for Diversity:

Founded in 1947, the Canadian Centre for Diversity (formerly CCCJ) is a  charitable organization committed to informing and educating Canadians about the  value of diversity, difference and inclusion.

SOURCE  Canadian Centre for Diversity


HRPA releases AODA compliance guide to help Ontario business meet accessibility standards

The Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA)has released a series of five free videos and an interpretive guide to help Ontario businesses learn about their responsibilities around the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act’s (AODA) Employment Standard and the Information and Communications Standard of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR).

The Employment Standard makes accessibility in organizations a regular part of finding, hiring, supporting and communicating with employees who have disabilities. The Information and Communications Standard will help Ontario businesses and organizations make their information accessible for people with disabilities.

The new videos are a continuation of HRPA’s successful The Adventures of Harold Jeepers video series. In all, the 11 short and humorous videos feature hapless Jiffy Bros. manager Harold Jeepers and Sonja, the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP), as they navigate their workplace accessibility obligations under the AODA. The new episodes include Accessible Formats and Communication, Auditing Websites for Accessibility, Developing an Accessible Website, Developing a Multi-Year Accessibility Plan and Accessibility Myths vs. Reality. All are available in English and French, with closed captions and descriptive audio. 250 DVD sets of all eleven videos are being made available to HR faculty in post-secondary institutions across Ontario.

Please click here to view the new videos.

Please click here to view CHANNELS, a companion guide to the videos that provides information about the Employment Standard and the Information and Communications Standard that employers can use to build awareness with their managers and other staff.

Just watching the videos and following along with the guide will help put Ontario workplaces well on the way to compliance with AODA Employment Standard and Information and Communications Standard of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR).

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) has an overall goal of an accessible Ontario by 2025. Under the AODA, five key areas of daily living were identified: customer service, information and communications, employment, transportation and built environment.  Each of the five key areas has rules for business and organizations to follow called Accessibility Standards.

The Adventures of Harold Jeepers episodes and CHANNELS are produced by HRPA as part of an EnAbling Change Program with the Government of Ontario.

The Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) is Canada’s HR thought leader with more than 20,000 members in 28 chapters across Ontario. It connects its membership to an unmatched range of HR information resources, events, professional development and networking opportunities and annually hosts Canada’s largest HR conference. In Ontario, HRPA issues the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation, the national standard for excellence in human resources management and the Senior Human Resources Professional (SHRP) designation, reserved for high-impact HR leaders.


SOURCE: Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario, www.hrpa.ca

New Deloitte Study Reveals that Half of Straight White Males Hide Their Authentic Selves at Work

A new study from the Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion and law professor Kenji Yoshino indicates widespread instances of “covering,” the process by which individuals downplay their differences relative to mainstream perceptions, in ways costly to their productivity and sense of self at work.  Three out of four (75 percent) research participants state that they have covered their identity; and, surprisingly, half (50 percent) of straight white male respondents report hiding their authentic selves on the job.

The report, Uncovering Talent: A New Model for Inclusion, co-authored by Christie Smith, managing principal, Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion, Deloitte LLP and Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at NYU, examines how individuals cover along four dimensions:

  • Appearance: avoiding aspects of self-presentation — including grooming, attire, and mannerisms — identified with their group
  • Affiliation: avoiding behaviors identified with their group
  • Advocacy: avoiding engagement in activities on behalf of their group
  • Association: avoiding contact with individuals in their group

As would be expected, the highest levels of covering occur among groups that are historically under-represented, including blacks (94 percent), women of color (91 percent) LGB (91percent) and women (80 percent). However, straight white males reported covering as well. “The Uncovering Talent model allows organizations to ‘zoom in’ on historically underrepresented groups to examine the enduring challenges they face in a more rigorous way,” said Yoshino. “At the same time, the model allows organizations to ‘zoom out’ to find common ground in the aspiration of all groups to bring their authentic selves to the workplace.”

The impact of covering is not only detrimental to the individual’s sense of self; it also has significant implications for the organization. A majority of respondents stated that their leaders (61 percent) and the organization’s culture (59 percent) expected individuals to cover. A substantial number of those respondents (45 to 49 percent) said that this expectation decreased their sense of opportunity and commitment to the organization.

The study draws on research from respondents spanning seven industries and a mix of ages, genders, race/ethnicities, orientations and seniority levels, as well as Yoshino’s award-winning book “Covering” (New York: Random House, 2006) and Smith’s work in researching leadership, values and organizational culture.

“Although inclusion is a value that virtually all organizations claim to embrace, the magnitude of covering in the workplace clearly indicates a disconnect between values and actions,” said Smith. “The cost to the individual and the organization is too great to ignore.”

The report, Uncovering Talent: A New Model for Inclusion, including a full description of the research methodology used in the Deloitte study, can be found at www.deloitte.com/us/Uncovering.

The Deloitte University (DU) Leadership Center for Inclusion is a manifestation of Deloitte’s commitment to advance the conversation, continue to challenge the status quo, and lead from the front in inclusion. The new center provides a place (both at DU and virtually) and a platform for coming together to engage with Deloitte’s people, clients, and thought leaders on issues that will help it better understand and contribute to what inclusion will look like in the future.


Changing cultures: Tackling diversity issues head-on

Despite changes in workplace law and a general cultural shift to a more gender-diverse workplace, headway still isn’t being made for many women in their attempts to break through to executive positions.

“We’ve got 50% more women graduating from University on average, and yet careers aren’t progressing in the same way,” Janine Garner, founder of Little Black Dress Group, said.

Garner lamented the movement by many women into the cost centres of businesses as opposed to the profit centres, with the cultures of many industries – such as finance, accounting and mining – still being male dominated.

“They are controlling the way that women are expected to work,” Garner explained.

Changes to workplace law are not always effective in stopping discrimination, particularly against pregnant women in the workplace. As reported by HC, women are having their jobs terminated sometimes just weeks before being entitled to leave and, in the case of Garner, upon their return.

“I was in a very senior job and I actually agreed to write strategies and do budgets while I was on maternity leave,” Garner explained. Upon returning, her strategies were presented and approved. “Then in the next breath I was made redundant”.

Although the law may have been able to protect Garner and others in her position, this isn’t always a practical option. “When your baby is two-months-old the last thing you feel like doing is going through the court.”

The issue of leave entitlements and flexible working options to accommodate care isn’t simply a woman’s issue, and Garner points out that as the population ages, workers may need flexible arrangements to care for elderly relatives.

Essentially, the issue of losing out on leave entitlements is an undercurrent that needs to be bought to the surface. Women become fearful due to their marginalisation, and do not assert their rights as an employee for fear of recompense. ”As a result, it is one of those non-spoken about things. It gets spoken about behind closed doors … I think it is an issue we need to start addressing,” Garner said.

To begin taking on the issue, Garner believes the first step is addressing unconscious bias, something we are all guilty of. “Because of the unconscious bias, you naturally gravitate to and employ like-minded people,” she explained.

Garner believes the language surrounding ‘maternity leave’ should be revamped, as ‘leave’ has negative connotations. The leadership skills that a woman will acquire during her maternity leave is something that Garner feels should be acknowledged by employers.

“Instead of saying ‘maternity leave’ you came back and it was a ‘maternity promotion’,” she suggested.

A small number of organisations do this well by engaging with females on maternity leave and developing plans to integrate them back into executive ranks when they return. Tracey Fellows was recruited by Microsoft from IBM when she was six or seven months pregnant, achieved a promotion while on maternity leave and was integrated into Microsoft’s executive ranks after her return to work. She later became CEO of MicrosoftAustralia. This very enlightened approach to the female career path isn’t taken by many organisations.

More actively, executives and managers should take steps to redefine their interview process to help diversify their workforce. Garner mentioned the idea of bringing in a third-party to help make the hire. They will provide a fresh angle on the candidate, and counter the unconscious bias. This person must be picked carefully to avoid introducing additional bias.

“If we are trying to lift the number of women in these leadership positions, the only way we can do that is to look outside the current management or leadership team and pull in somebody from outside that is a woman that has the skills and attributes you are looking for to become a part of that interview process,” Garner explained.

“You will naturally start challenging that unconscious bias because guys will be looking at something from their perspective and the woman will look at something from their perspective.”

Analysing this strategy, it is clear to see that it could be an effective tool in all forms of diversity, as unconscious bias can be carried for more than just gender.

Making the changes now is crucial to Garner, as she warns that the longer they are delayed, the more damaging they will be to future generations. “If we don’t push for a difference and if we don’t actually start challenging what is going on, the generations coming through now aren’t going to know any better.”

“The benefit of getting a more equal workplace are just phenomenal in terms of corporate culture, corporate loyalty and, of course, that bottom line,” Garner said. “If we are going to have women sitting at the table to create that environment, we’ve got to do things about it.”

This article first appeared on Human Capital’s website, www.hcamag.com.


Diversity Champions — September 2013

Winners of the inaugural Excellence in Governance Awards were announced recently by the Canadian Society of Corporate Secretaries. Shoppers Drug Mart was recognized for its Best Practices in Managing Boardroom Diversity.

The law firm Kilpatrick Townsend Stockton LLP has been named as an inaugural honoree of the William A. Blakey Diversity Pipeline Architects group by the American Bar Association‘s Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO). CLEO’s mission is to diversify the legal profession and since its inception in 1968 has been at the forefront of helping minority, low-income and disadvantaged students gain access to law school, successfully matriculate and pass the bar exam.

Nine organizations that have made an outstanding contribution to community development and promoting cultural diversity were recognized at the annual New Zealand Diversity Awards. This year’s winners included Refugee Trauma Recovery and Voice Arts Trust.

Central Michigan University received the 2013 Inclusion Cultivates Excellence Award for its Excellence Though Inclusion initiative from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources. The program was a collaborative effort between CMU Human Resources, the Multicultural Student Academic Success Office, Multicultural Education Center, Office of Gay and Lesbian Programs and Student Disability Services.

For the second time LATINA Style magazine has honored AT&T as Company of the Year for Hispanic women looking for a great place to work, learn, grow and lead.  AT&T was selected from more than 800 companies evaluated. The company also topped the LATINA Style 50 list in 2008, making it the first company to win the recognition twice.

Tutor Perini Corporation, a leading civil and building construction company, recently announced that its subsidiary, James A. Cummings, Inc., has been recognized as Corporation of the Year by the Central North Florida Minority Supplier Development Council (cnFMSDC). This award recognizes the firm’s leadership in implementing diversity development programs and ongoing mentoring of small and developing businesses.

The Interpublic Group (IPG) handed out its 2013 Inclusion Awards to agencies and employees within its US network who have shown leadership in advancing IPG’s goal of being among the world’s most diverse and inclusive companies. The honorees were: Octagon (Community Partnership Award, Gold), ID Media (Inclusive Talent Cultivation, Gold), Deutsch NY (Inclusive Marking Initiative of the Year, Gold), Jack Morton and Lowe SSP3 (Inclusive Marketing Initiative of the Year, Silver), GolinHarris (Multicultural Agency/Practice of the Year, Gold), McCann Worldgroup (Communication and Education Initiative, Gold), Draftfcb (Supplier Diversity Award), Orion Holdings (Most Inclusive Climate Award), Mike Lescarbeau, CEO, Carmichael Lynch (Individual Champion of Inclusion), and ID Media (Agency Champion of Inclusion).

EDF Energy has won the 2013 Private Sector Diversity and Inclusion Award from the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion (ENEI). The award comes just 12 months after the company achieved the Diversity Works for London Gold Standard. Denise Keating, CEO, ENEI, said, “These awards recognize the commitment of organizations to achieving diverse and inclusive workplaces, celebrating the teams and individuals who really are making a difference.”

The National Press Club, the world’s leading professional organization for journalists, has chosen Nidhi Madhavan as the winner of its 2013 Scholarship for Journalism Diversity. The award for graduating high school seniors amounts to $10,000 over 4years. Madhavan, a reporter for RoundUp, the high school newspaper, and Quintessential Barrington, a local magazine, will be studying at Loyola University in Chicago.

Thompson Hine LLP has been nationally recognized once again for its leadership in advancing women within the legal profession. The firm has been selected as one of 2013’s 50 Best Law Firms for Women by Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers for maintaining family-friendly policies and business development initiatives designed to retain women and advance them in the leadership pipeline. This is the third consecutive year Thompson Hine has received this honor.

The Department of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University has received the 2013 Biomedical Engineering Society Diversity Award. It is the first time the award has been given to a group or organization and acknowledged Cornell’s success in recruiting and retaining women and underrepresented minority students through its inclusive programming, faculty-student engagement, and cross-institutional partnerships and outreach.

Triangle Business Journal has unveiled its inaugural Leaders in Diversity Awards winners. The awards recognize businesses, individuals and nonprofits in North Carolina who have demonstrated respect or inclusive treatment of others, advocacy for underrepresented groups and multicultural marketing. Dean Smith, former men’s basketball coach at UNC-Chapel Hill, received the Lifetime Achievement Award, while Individual Awards went to the late Doris Barksdale, Carolina Hurricanes, Bill Bell, mayor of the City of Durham, Andrea Harris, NCIMED, and Stan Kimer, Total Engagement Consulting.

Vault Inc. has recognized the top-ranked law firms for diversity. For the fifth straight year, Carlton Fields was ranked the No. 1 firm for overall diversity. The 2014 Diversity Rankings are based on the results of Vault’s annual survey of approximately 17,000 associates. The firms at the top of the list received the highest ratings from their own associates for their commitment to advancing diversity and fostering an inclusive workplace.