The Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Montreal have committed to racial equity audits after facing pressure from shareholders.

Jeff Lanthier, a spokesperson from RBC, says the bank will conduct a third-party audit of employment practices next year and another on business practices in 2025. “We remain focused on identifying and helping to address barriers that can impede the success of Black, Indigenous and other racialized groups.”

Racial equity audits look to identify and fix practices that may negatively affect Indigenous peoples and communities of colour and evaluate how well a company is addressing systemic racism.

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RBC’s announcement comes after it met last week with the Shareholder Association for Research and Education and the British Columbia General Employees’ Union. At RBC’s annual general meeting, the two organizations put forward a resolution calling for an audit that was approved by 42 per cent of shareholders.

The two groups also filed a similar resolution at BMO that was supported by 37 per cent of shareholders. BMO spokesperson Kate Simandl confirmed the bank will conduct a third-party audit. “We look forward to updating our shareholders on our progress in 2024 and we appreciate SHARE’s engagement with us on this topic.”

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and the National Bank of Canada also made commitments earlier this year to carry out audits, while TD Bank conducted one this year, with the results expected soon.

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