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EllisDon signs BlackNorth Initiative CEO pledge to end anti-black racism


July 22, 2020
By EllisDon

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EllisDon’s President and CEO Geoff Smith joined The Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism by signing the BlackNorth Initiative CEO pledge. The BlackNorth Initiative CEO pledge invites senior executives across Canada from the top 250 TSX companies to devote key organizational changes and actions to address, change and end anti-Black systemic racism.

“Signing the BlackNorth Initiative CEO pledge is only one step in acknowledging and eliminating anti-Black racism within EllisDon,” said Geoff Smith, CEO, EllisDon. “We are committed to providing a safe environment, equal opportunity and support for our Black employees and youth entering the workforce, while maintaining an inclusive environment with strong opportunities for advancement and growth for everyone at this company.”

 Through the pledge, CEO signatories commit to various and targeted actions to fight anti-Black systemic racism throughout their companies. Some of the pledge’s action items include: diverse and inclusive teams, open dialogue and communication about anti-Black racism in the workplace; anti-racism and unconscious bias education; and hiring goals of at minimum 5% within the student workforce from the Black community, and 3.5% of executive and board roles based in Canada being held by Black leaders by 2025.

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“Becoming a signatory of the BlackNorth initiative is an important step in demonstrating EllisDon’s commitment to the recruitment, retention and empowerment of our BlPOC employees at all levels,” said Jennifer Khan, Head of Inclusive Diversity, People & Culture, EllisDon. “The pledge will hold us accountable to take meaningful and lasting change to address anti-Black racism. We are not interested in just saying the right thing, we are committed to doing it.”

Beyond the pledge, the BlackNorth initiative has a variety of resources and events including the BlackNorth Initiative Summit 2020, and numerous action committees that create measurable goals to put a spotlight on the real issues Black Canadian face in areas such as: justice, education, at-risk youth and health.

“I congratulate the companies and their leaders who have committed to change by signing the CEO pledge. These organizations will also be ambassadors for the creation of a new Black-friendly and Black-enabling Canada – progressively attracting those people and organizations whose values align with the BlackNorth Initiative,” said Wes Hall, Founder and Chairman of The Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism.


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