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BMO Announces Next Steps in Eliminating Racial Injustice

·6 mins read

TORONTO, July 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ - BMO Financial Group today announced next steps in its commitment to a society with zero barriers to inclusion by working to eliminate racial inequities across the organization and the financial services industry. A variety of initiatives are now underway to address gaps that are impacting Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) employees, customers, and communities. Direct actions include working on new diversity goals, implementing a Black and Latino advisory council, creating leadership development programs for career advancement, and setting student hiring targets for BIPOC youth.

BMO Financial Group Logo (CNW Group/BMO Financial Group)
BMO Financial Group Logo (CNW Group/BMO Financial Group)

"To boldly grow the good in business and life we must be leaders in fostering diversity and inclusion in the workforce. More needs to be done to eliminate barriers to inclusion and we are accelerating initiatives that will create meaningful and sustainable change," said Darryl White, Chief Executive Officer, BMO Financial Group. "Creating a more inclusive society is foundational to who we are as a company, and that includes removing impediments to career progression that disproportionately impact BIPOC employees across the financial services industry. It also means acknowledging existing gaps in representation, listening to the experiences of our employees, and working to dismantle systems that have not been equitable – both in our organization and in our communities."

Community Support and Partnerships

BMO is committed to driving inclusive behaviours in its community alliances and partnerships in areas such as workforce development, healthcare, small business, affordable housing, arts, and culture. Ongoing support of minority-owned small businesses, including clients and vendors, continues as part of the overall diversity strategy.

Additional developments in community partnerships and support include:

  • Previously announced $1 million donation to North American organizations focused on social and racial justice.

  • Appointment of Eric Smith, Vice Chair BMO Harris Bank as chair of the U.S. Supplier Diversity Council, with a mandate to set more aggressive goals for spending with certified diverse suppliers, while building on existing relationships that positively impact local communities. The council will be expanded enterprise-wide in September.

  • BMO's $10 million donation in support of the Chicago Mayor's Economic Development Plan with United Way's Neighborhood Network, which primarily serves Black and Latino communities.

  • BMO's $10 million partnership with United Way Greater Toronto that brings together leaders from the business, public and not-for-profit sectors to create inclusive local economic opportunities.

  • BMO's $3 million donation to Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation, in support of Minnie's Hope Social Pediatric Centre. The centre was established by and for members of the Cree community of Whapmagoostui and the Inuit community of Kuujjuaraapik on the southern shore of Hudson Bay, and is doing ground-breaking work under the guidance of Montreal Children's Hospital, the pediatric teaching hospital for McGill University's Faculty of Medicine.

Cultivating an Inclusive Workforce and Society

In championing diversity and inclusion, BMO is committed to the following initiatives and resources to diversify the composition of its workforce:

  • By Fall 2020 BMO will set new five-year goals aimed at addressing specific gaps in workforce representation of diverse groups in senior leadership and transparently measuring progress to promote advancement of BIPOC at BMO. This will include specific goals for BIPOC subsegments. These goals will be reviewed on an ongoing basis by the bank's Performance Committee, chaired by BMO CEO Darryl White.

  • Creation of the Black and Latino Advisory Council (BLAC), co-chaired by Deland Kamanga, Darrel Hackett and Herb Mazariegos and comprised of senior leaders, which will focus on employee experience, advancement, and engagement of Black and Latino talent through dedicated taskforces and partnership with BMO's Enterprise Resource Groups (ERGs). BLAC will also drive progress with respect to BMO's three Purpose pillars: colleagues, customers, and community.

  • Created in January 2020 with Chiefs and Indigenous leaders from across Canada, the Indigenous Advisory Council (IAC) will continue to inform BMO policies and practices consistent with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada; specifically with the implementation of Indigenous Peoples history and cultural awareness training, creation of jobs and training for Indigenous Peoples, and achieving long-term sustainable economic growth for Indigenous communities.

BMO's diversity and inclusion governance model is built on leadership accountability and working closely in collaboration with the 6,000 members of its 14 ERGs across the bank.

Listening, Learning, and Action

As part of its commitment to champion a culture of continual learning, BMO has established the following educational resources for employees:

  • Through the BMO Institute for Learning, strengthening access to development programs focused on building the leadership pipeline and future skills for BIPOC talent.

  • Ensuring 40 per cent of student opportunities are directed to BIPOC youth.

  • Launching new Indigenous learning for Canadian employees later this year and ensuring Indigenous education workshops are available to senior leaders by 2021.

In addition to these new programs, and under the guidance of BMO's Black Professionals Network ERG, employees have access to existing resources that will help them better understand Black racism and the Black experience, such as:

  • Launched in 2015, BMO's Learn From Difference is an inclusive e-learning platform to build inclusive leadership capability among BMO's people managers. In 2019, BMO launched Phase II of the program for all employees, Learn From Difference For All (LFD4A).

  • A new website comprising of racial injustice educational materials, including an Education and Check-in guide which provides a rich initial background into understanding recent issues of racial injustice in the Black community.

  • Learning platform BMO U includes a pathway titled Understanding and Taking Action Against Racism and a specific series of resources.

Supplementing direct actions already underway across the organization, BMO CEO Darryl White has endorsed the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism's CEO Pledge alongside other leaders in the financial services industry. The commitments outlined in the pledge are aligned with BMO's plans related to representation and advancement, education, collaboration with the Black community, and setting conditions for success. It also provides an opportunity for corporate leaders to share goals and learnings across industries to foster a more equitable landscape.

Additional details related to BMO's ongoing focus on racial equity will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information on BMO's commitment to diversity and inclusion, visit: https://corporate-responsibility.bmo.com/.

About BMO Financial Group
Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider - the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $987 billion as of April 30, 2020, and a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

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SOURCE BMO Financial Group