Allyship Summit for Change to support culture of inclusion and belonging

Kenji Yoshino

Recognizing the importance of continuous learning in advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Scotiabank hosted an Allyship Summit for Change for its 90,000 employees.

Sessions on why allyship matters, unconscious bias and privilege, inclusive hiring and effective allyship best practices have been made available to all Scotiabank employees. Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at NYU School of Law and Director of its Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, spoke alongside other experts in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Canada and Chile. Learning tools and resources have also been made available for employees to support their ongoing journey of becoming active allies encouraging momentum 365 days of the year.

“Allyship is one of the most exciting developments in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion field. We’re increasingly finding that the barriers to belonging are often small but ubiquitous. Allyship is a solution that is capable of overcoming these barriers by engaging them in the infinite and infinitesimal ways they arise,” said Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at NYU School of Law and Director of its Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.

In 2020, Scotiabank renewed its Diversity and Inclusion Goals to increase the diversity of its employee population over the next five years, with a focus on advancing inclusion for people who identify as Black People, Indigenous Peoples, LGBT+ people, People of Colour, People with Disabilities, and Women. As part of this effort, the Bank developed a set of inclusion commitments focused on promoting best practices when interacting with employees, customers, communities and business partners.

A poll by Scotiabank showed that 2-in-3 Canadians believe that a culture of inclusion is more important now than it was prior to the start of the pandemic, however, 58% are not sure how to get involved and help. The research also showed that being a good ally is important to 80% of Canadians. Through Allyship Summit for Change, Scotiabank’s aim is to bring employees together to help address some of those knowledge gaps and have meaningful conversations about unconscious mers and in the community.

“We believe anyone can be an ally, and everyone can benefit from having an ally. This summit is about giving our employees access to the resources and tools they need to show up for one another and build an inclusive culture together, where everyone can thrive,” said Barb Mason, Group Head & Chief Human Resources Officer, Scotiabank. “Through our core purpose of for every future, as Scotiabankers we are committed to playing a role in helping build better futures – and that means allyship goes beyond one day of awareness or even one event.  Every single one of us has an accountability to be an ally through listening, education, and taking action that can be sustained.”

This month also marks the one-year anniversary of ScotiaRISE, Scotiabank’s 10-year, $500 million initiative to promote economic resilience among disadvantaged groups. To date, ScotiaRISE has supported nearly 200 charities and exceeded its target with just over $22 million deployed in community investments in its first year. Jumpstart Refugee Talent, is one of the latest recipients of a multi-year community investment from ScotiaRISE. As a national refugee-led non-profit, Jumpstart is focused exclusively on the economic empowerment of newly settled refugees across Canada. Through it’s Refugee Talent Hub, it works with organizations like Scotiabank to help combat refugee unemployment and underemployment, by addressing practices on the part of employers, as well as refugees. Jumpstart’s focus is on the greater Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary areas and this project will strengthen refugee hiring practices and provide greater resources so employers like Scotiabank, can be strong allies to refugees.