Initiative to fight anti-Black systemic racism on Bay St. launched

TORONTO — A coalition of Canadian business leaders have announced a strategic partnership for a program to support Black professionals on Bay Street and elsewhere.

The Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism and the Canadian Association of Urban Financial Professionals announced the plan dubbed the Black North Initiative on Monday.

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The plan advocates for companies to work with them to hire more Black students for their internship/co-op programs and to ensure business succession planning strategies include a Black talent strategy to help build a pipeline of employees for future leadership positions.

It is also asking that businesses disaggregate their employee race data and publish it annually, including data on executive representation and/or employee mobility statistics for each racialized group.

The push to deal with systemic racism has gained strength in recent months in the wake of demonstrations held across Canada and the U.S.

A summit is planned for July 20 where business leaders will be asked to sign a CEO pledge and say what they are doing to fight anti-Black systemic racism.

The Canadian Association of Urban Financial Professionals has more than 600 Black professionals as members who work across Bay Street.

"The BlackNorth Initiative and CAUFP are fully aligned regarding the critical need to begin dismantling systemic racism in corporate Canada," said Wes Hall, founder and chairman of the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism.

"Corporations must do more to create and nurture Black talent pipelines to ensure proper representation at the highest levels. This is a natural partnership in a shared mission that will lead to measurable results."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 13, 2020.

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