Diversity and inclusion are top priorities for Interac Corp. Over the past two years, we’ve made great progress in creating meaningful and action-oriented change through our diversity and inclusion efforts. Today, we are proud to share that we have been certified by Diversio, a people intelligence agency that measures, tracks and works with organizations to improve their inclusion efforts, as a Canadian organization that is prioritizing D&I to create a more equitable workplace for all employees. The certification recognizes that Interac is:
- Measuring and setting targets to increase diversity at all levels, including leadership roles
- Regularly collecting data on employee experience to identify bias and barriers faced by minority groups
- Implementing programs and policies designed to unlock specific challenges, and is committed to tracking results
Where we started
We first engaged Diversio in 2019, when we launched our Diversity & Inclusion Council, to poll our employees to gain a better understanding of our demographic and their thoughts on how we could build a more inclusive Interac. While our efforts initially focused on building a sense of unity within the organization and supporting community partners that serve underrepresented groups, our D&I work was amplified in 2020. Against the backdrop of a health crisis and economic crisis, we witnessed tragic racial injustices that showcased the realities of systemic racism and the need for positive change.
We have since launched our Equity and Empowerment Initiative to combat anti-Black racism, invested in community partners serving marginalized communities, and implemented programs that celebrate our diversity and educate employees.
In early 2021, we engaged our employees through Diversio once again to collect data on how they are responding to our D&I efforts to date. The results revealed a substantial increase in our ‘inclusion score’, which is now above industry average, and indicates that most employees recognize the improvements we’ve made in creating a more inclusive culture and believe our recruitment and hiring practices are inclusive of underrepresented groups. Interac also remains above industry average, and in line with Canada’s population, when it comes to representation of racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ2+ individuals, and persons with a disability or mental health challenge.
Our employees at Interac Corp. recognize the progress we have made to become a more inclusive organization, as represented through our work with Diversio. We are honoured to be recognized by Diversio and this certification signifies that we are taking steps in the right direction. There is work left to be done and we are committed to creating a more inclusive and equitable company for all of our employees. We look forward to working with Diversio and our other community partners as we continue to build a stronger, more inclusive company.Mark O’Connell, President and CEO, Interac Corp.
Creating a more equitable and inclusive business does not happen overnight. Progress takes time, and the work is far from over. We recently moved the D&I mandate into the Office of the CEO and hired Leo Bailley, D&I Director, to lead the charge. Below you’ll find an update on the work to date, and the steps we will continue to make.
Creating a culture of listening
Since June 2020, we held six open forums where employees have been able to speak freely about their life experiences. The insights from our initial forums led to the launch of the Equity and Empowerment Initiative to further combat racism and other forms of discrimination, both within our walls and outwards in our communities. Most recently, we held an open forum discussion regarding the sharp increase in anti-Asian racism that is occurring across Canada and the United States. These open forums have helped inform programming and policies to ensure all Interac employees feel embraced and valued.
Educating employees and refining our policies
There is no change without growth, and so we implemented mandatory unconscious bias and anti-racism training for all employees. This training provided us with a better understanding of what is required, both personally and organizationally, to build a more equity-informed business that is free from racism and other forms of oppression. The training also helped us learn behaviours that can make us better allies, and strategies to remove unconscious bias that may contribute to forms of oppression.
In addition to training, we also implemented a new anti-racism policy to ensure all employees firmly understand Interac’s stance against racism and discrimination within the workplace.
Investing in community partners
Supporting the communities in which we live and work is critical to building an inclusive culture. COVID-19 has had a lasting impact on all of us, however, marginalized groups and organizations that support those communities are bearing the brunt. In 2020, we supported and raised money for United Way and their agencies that provide financial support and services to Toronto’s most vulnerable communities.
Through our Equity and Empowerment Initiative, Interac supported organizations including the Black Business and Professional Association, CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals, Pathways to Education, Visions of Science, and Tech Spark – all of which are committed to empowering Black professionals and providing them the resources they need to reach their full potential.
Combating anti-Black racism
Recognizing that addressing anti-Black racism and discrimination is central to creating a more equitable and inclusive organization, Interac CEO Mark O’Connell signed the BlackNorth Initiative pledge. He joins over the 300 CEOs from across Canada that committed to seven goals that they believe will move Canada toward ending anti-Black systemic racism and creating opportunities for underrepresented groups. Learn more here.
Making Interac an equitable organization where every employee feels valued and included is a corporate priority. Although we’re proud of our progress, we know there’s still more work to be done:
- Reviewing our employee lifecycle to better understand potential gaps in hiring and career progression.
- Creating better career development and hiring opportunities for women.
- Building even stronger relationships with our community partners to better understand how our employees can support them.