Enbridge signing BlackNorth Initiative pledge, increasing diversity efforts

Enbridge Inc. is undertaking a series of steps to further diversify its workforce and address anti-Black systemic racism, starting with signing onto the BlackNorth Initiative pledge.

Founded by the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism, the pledge asks senior business leaders across the country to commit to undertaking specific actions and targets designed to end anti-Black systemic racism and create opportunities for people that are part of underrepresented Black, Indigenous and people of colour communities.

Read: Scotiabank to increase workforce diversity, combat racial discrimination in workplace

The energy company joins the ranks of more than 200 leading Canadian businesses, including Scotiabank, the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, Accenture, Bruce Power Ltd. and Google Canada, that have taken the pledge since the launch of the BlackNorth Initiative pledge last June in the wake of global social justice unrest stemming from racially motivated incidences of violence in the U.S.

“Our goals are for both overall representation as well as at leadership levels,” said Tracie Kenyon, the company’s senior corporate communications manager, in a statement. “In other words, we’re striving for 28 per cent representation of racial and ethnic groups within the company and 28 per cent of our leadership team (which is the manager level and up).”

Read: Enbridge, RBC among employers recognized for focus on diversity, inclusion

The company has long been focused on diversity and inclusion and was recognized by the federal government for its efforts back in 2017. Among its current diversity goals, Enbridge aims to have 100 per cent of its workforce complete unconscious bias and anti-racism training by the end of 2021, Kenyon said. The company, which employs more than 12,000 people primarily across Canada and the U.S., also aims to increase workforce representation of women by 40 per cent, racial and ethnic groups (including Indigenous people) by 28 per cent, persons with disabilities by 6 per cent and U.S. veterans by 7 per cent by 2025.

Enbridge is also among the list of companies, including Starbucks Corp., that have announced they will tie diversity goals to employee and executive pay.“Enbridge is committed to creating a workplace that reflects the communities where we live and operate and where people are treated with dignity and respect,” said Kenyon. “This commitment is not new, but given recent events in the U.S. and Canada, we decided to accelerate the diversity plans we already had in place.”

Read: Starbucks tying executive pay to diversity targets