Enbridge Inc. is making steady progress on workforce representation goals that it established after signing the BlackNorth Initiative pledge in 2020.

Since then, the energy company has increased workforce representation of specific ethnic and racial groups to 23 per cent, towards a goal of 28 per cent by 2025. It’s also aiming to increase board representation of these groups to 20 per cent.

Enbridge has also provided additional scholarships and internships for members of underrepresented groups, increased its outreach to historically Black colleges and universities and has invested nearly $1 million in Black-focused organizations that support education, racial justice, youth and equality, says Gina Sutherland, a spokesperson for the company.

Read: Enbridge signing BlackNorth Initiative pledge, increasing diversity efforts

Since 2017, Enbridge has highlighted its diversity efforts in its quarterly ‘Diversity Dashboard’ report. Originally focused on gender, the dashboard was expanded in 2019 to include additional dimensions of diversity such as ethnicity, disability and veteran status.

“To further increase transparency, we continue to [update the dashboard] quarterly and [make it] accessible to all employees,” says Sutherland. “The dashboard provides a visual snapshot of employee representation by gender, racial and ethnic group and disability status. It shows where we stand against our goals and external benchmarks.”

During Black History Month and beyond, employers should focus on how to highlight and support Black excellence in the workplace, says Dahabo Ahmed-Omer, executive director at the BlackNorth Initiative.

Read: IKEA Canada signing BlackNorth pledge, expanding DEI efforts

“It’s important to shift from not just recognizing Black contributions, but also talking about what it means to create and reinforce Black excellence in an organization. I’d like to see more companies discuss that during this month and what else they can do to ensure we continue to have Black history to celebrate.”

And since access to education is one of the biggest challenges to economic prosperity, she notes most of BlackNorth’s programs are education-related, including assistance with scholarships and internships. “Black people encounter so many various challenges, they shouldn’t just be expected to be excellent. Employers [should consider] what they can do to alleviate some of the pressures they feel and remove some of those challenges in the workplace.”

Read: Employers embracing diversity, but more work to be done