A Canada for all Canadians
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to foster business competitiveness and a strong economic environment that benefits all Canadians. To deliver on this mission, we are committed to inclusive growth and enhancing support for members to fill their talent and skills gaps, and in doing so, increase opportunities for underrepresented segments of the Canadian population to participate fully in the economy and ensuring an inclusive recovery.
Our prosperity depends on a strong business community that is able to innovate, attract talent and capital and expand into new markets. Ensuring all Canadians—from all sectors, regions and backgrounds— have the opportunity to participate in, and rise up through, the workforce is one way to address this issue. During the recovery from COVID-19, this is truer than ever.
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace fosters creative thinking, innovation and problem solving, providing organizations—and the country—a competitive advantage. Research shows the most successful organizations are creating diversified and inclusive workplaces in which individual differences and the contributions of all employees are recognized and valued.
Inclusion also makes financial sense. Improved participation rates could add 2.2 million workers to the labour force by 2040, including more women, Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities. Not to mention grow our economy by $101 billion.
Our inclusive growth work builds on our efforts in the area of fostering diverse and inclusive workplaces and will support businesses looking to fill their talent and skills gaps, expanding their workforce base. In doing so, we will enhance opportunities for underrepresented segments of the Canadian population to participate in the economy and foster stronger communities across the country, resulting in a more prosperous Canada that benefits all Canadians.
Council for Women’s Advocacy
The Council for Women’s Advocacy (CWA) is a cornerstone of the Canadian Chamber’s inclusive growth and recovery efforts. It has been established in order to bring the voice and perspectives of women to national policies, inform the Canadian Chamber’s initiatives in advancing the gender equality agenda, and drive meaningful action to address the identified issues and barriers.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, CWA members agreed to focus on recommendations for a gender-inclusive recovery.
Right now, women everywhere in Canada are facing many pandemic-related unknowns about their working lives. How do they keep working if their child is home from school amid an outbreak? How do they afford childcare when many jobs are in a precarious state? For those who are business owners, how do they keep their businesses open? Ensuring women have opportunities to fully participate in the recovery is essential for widespread job creation and sustained economic growth.
Canada is entering a period of cautious recovery and employment may not return to pre-crisis levels at any point soon. Available jobs and the skills required will shift. Employers might increasingly look to automation to maintain operations during future crises and reduce risk. Canadians will need reskilling, upskilling and skills training programs to get them back to work. Education and training will also change, including a greater need for online learning and durable skills, with a focus on both work-integrated and lifelong learning. A new normal based on the realities of a potential second wave and long-term impacts to businesses, communities and every aspect of the economy must be considered.
Success will not happen in a vacuum; there must be strong efforts and supports from all levels of government and various stakeholders, including male leadership and colleagues. There will be no inclusive recovery – or recovery period – without the participation of women in the workforce. Ensuring women have opportunities to fully participate in the recovery is essential for widespread job creation and sustained economic growth.
Launching in 2021: The BIPOC Leadership and Inclusion Council
As part of the Canadian Chamber’s inclusive growth initiative, we are establishing the BIPOC Leadership and Inclusion Council in 2021 to:
- Bring the BIPOC voice and perspectives into national policies
- Inform the Canadian Chamber’s initiatives in supporting BIPOC
- Drive meaningful action to address the identified challenges and opportunities BIPOC face entering the workforce and through the talent pipeline into leadership positions
For more information please contact John Maus.
Mental Health Awareness
Mental health is health. Even at the best of times, mental health is an issue worthy of more attention. Now more than ever, with COVID-19 placing a significant amount of pressure on employees, employers and families, promoting good mental health is crucial to achieving inclusive economic growth.
As businesses and organizations across the country adjust to new realities during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to take small breaks during the day to support mental health and well-being. That’s why we have partnered with Workplace Strategies for Mental Health, compliments of Canada Life, to send 270 Break Boxes to businesses and their employees across Canada. These practical resource kits were designed to help support positive mental health at work and at home through a variety of individual and team-based activities.
Break Box is a tangible reminder to take a break and focus on your mental health. Taking breaks can help improve things like decision-making, creativity, focus and information retention.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is also pleased to raise awareness of WellCan by Morneau Shepell. The WellCan app is a free collection of digital resources to support the mental health of all Canadians during COVID-19.
Canadians with Disabilities
More than six million Canadians have a disability of some form, which represents about 17% of the Canadian population. To build a strong economy, particularly as Canada works to recover from COVID-19, these Canadians must be included. Improving accessibility is foundational to fostering inclusive growth.
For our part, in 2018 the new Ottawa headquarters for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce received the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification. The Chamber has a responsibility to lead the way in improving accessibility to the places where we work. We believe in the bottom line benefits of accessibility, diversity and inclusion, and we walk the talk.
The certification program measures the level of meaningful access beyond building code, and is based upon the holistic user experience of people with varying disabilities affecting their mobility, vision, and hearing. It also provides a roadmap for the adoption of meaningful access and universal design principles and a way for all levels of governments to work together to improve the built environment.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is additionally a partner of the Canadian Accessibility Network, established by Carleton University to advance accessibility for persons with disabilities though research, design, education, policy, employment, and community engagement.
Together we can build a more accessible, inclusive Canada, for the benefit of all Canadians.