Toronto-based diversity & inclusion data and consulting company Diversio announced the inaugural cohort of over 80 Diversio-certified Canadian companies at a press conference co-hosted by City of Toronto Mayor John Tory this week. 

The certification is the first AI-powered certification program that helps participating organizations “set the Canadian Standard for Diversity & Inclusion,” Diversio noted April 27.

“Diversio Certification is a signal that an organization has made a meaningful commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. It is not a check-box exercise. Research shows that a truly inclusive culture requires data, metrics, and impact-oriented programming to enable all employees to succeed. We are pleased that Diversio’s AI-powered certification platform is enabling companies across all sectors and sizes to accelerate their diversity and inclusion journey,” said Laura McGee, CEO of Diversio.

The certification program uses Diversio’s proprietary AI tool to conduct an analysis to collect data on employee demographics and experience, uncover evidence of racism, sexism and systemic bias. It then implements customized programming that is responsive to the assessment. The City of Toronto, OLG, Accenture Canada, Hudson’s Bay, TransAlta and Navigator are a part of the inaugural cohort and each certified company will receive a customized Dashboard to track progress over time, noted Diversio.

“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,” noted Mark O’Connell, president and chief executive officer of Interac.

The certification is endorsed by multiple associations, including the Human Resources Professional Association, Investor Leadership Network, Responsible Investment Association and Business Development Bank of Canada. It responds to the Canadian Investor Statement on Diversity in which investors representing more than $2.3 trillion in assets under management called for the adoption of policies, targets and timelines to improve diversity and inclusion at Canada’s largest companies. It also enables companies to fulfill their commitment to the BlackNorth initiative, noted Diversio.

“Leading investors know that diversity drives innovation and companies with inclusive, equitable cultures tend to attract and retain a wider pool of talent. That’s why 45 institutional investors have signed the Canadian Investor Statement on Diversity & Inclusion,” said Dustyn Lanz, chief executive officer of the Responsible Investment Association.

To obtain certification, a company must regularly collect data on employee demographics and experience to identify bias and barriers faced by minority groups. It must also measure and set targets to increase diversity and inclusion at all levels, including leadership roles. In addition, it should have implemented programs and policies designed to unlock specific challenges, and be committed to tracking results.

“I am proud that the City’s ongoing commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace is being recognized through Diversio Certification, and setting a new standard of inclusion for the public sector. We want the City motto, ‘Diversity Our Strength,’ to represent the City’s workforce as much as it does Toronto at large. As one of the most diverse cities in the world, it’s so important, now more than ever, that the Toronto Public Service reflects the communities that it serves,” said Tory. 

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