Significant employment barriers remain for Indigenous people in banking and financial sector

June 18, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Human Rights Commission

In a recent employment equity horizontal audit of banking and financial institutions in Canada, the Canadian Human Rights Commission found that significant barriers continue to exist in relation to the hiring, retention and promotion of Indigenous people in that sector.

The audit revealed that while banks and financial institutions are leaders in employment equity and are strongly committed to a diverse workforce, the underrepresentation of Indigenous people continues to persist with little to no progress. From 2011 to 2018, the representation rate of Indigenous people in the banking and financial sector has remained virtually unchanged. This gap can be attributed to multiple factors such as the lack of targeted recruitment and lack of employment equity special measures.

The Commission’s audit looked at compliance with the Employment Equity Act, identified employment barriers faced by Indigenous people within the banking and financial sector, and gathered best practices to share with employers in the sector to assist them in the recruitment, promotion, and retention of Indigenous people in their workforces.

“As we face unprecedented times with the pandemic, employment equity has never been more critical,” said Chief Commissioner Marie-Claude Landry. “Hiring Indigenous people would help to contribute to economic recovery, would ensure a diverse workforce that brings different perspectives together and, most importantly, would ensure all Canadians can be active participants in the economy.”

The Commission strongly believes that employers in Canada, across all sectors, could benefit from introducing hiring and retention practices aimed at closing employment equity gaps. These could include, amongst other initiatives, having an application screening process that takes into consideration lived-experience and putting robust anti-discrimination/anti-harassment policies into place.

This horizontal audit model is a trusted tool that the Commission will continue to use to promote the inclusion and equal participation of all members of the designated groups across Canada’s workforce.

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Quick facts

The horizontal audit found that:

  • 40% of the employers identified barriers in their hiring practices for Indigenous women and men, and have implemented measures to eliminate them.
  • The top employment barriers identified are related to recruitment strategy selection processes and the lack of Indigenous role models and/or mentors in the banking and financial sector.
  • While 82.9% of the employers have an employment equity committee, only 34.3% have an Indigenous representative on their committee. Similarly, only 11.4% have an Indigenous representative from management on the committee.
  • 45.7% of the employers reported addressing all or the majority of the barriers in their employment equity plans, while 28.6% reported addressing none or a few.
  • 62.9% of the employers reported incorporating their employment equity goals in their succession planning process. At the same time, only 25.7% of these employers identified Indigenous men for management or other key positions in their organization and only 14.3% identified Indigenous women for the same type of positions.

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