’50-30 Challenge’: Feds launch HR program for racial equality

The forward-thinking initiative is a win for diversity leaders

’50-30 Challenge’: Feds launch HR program for racial equality

Minister Navdeep Bains recently announced the soon to be launch of 50-30 Challenge, a government initiative aimed at accelerating diversity in Canadian organizations.

50-30 Challenge is a commitment between companies and the government to advance efforts in corporate diversity – improving wellbeing for “racialized persons, people who identify as LGBTQ2, people living with disabilities, as well as First Nations, Inuit and Métis”.

The program has two definitive goals;

  1. Gender parity (50%) in Canadian boardrooms
  2. Significant representation (30%) of all aforementioned marginalised groups into senior management roles.

Not only will the 50-30 Challenge help promote the Canadian ideals of fairness and equality – it just makes good business sense.

Afterall, it’s no secret to HR that diverse companies enjoy a more successful strategy.

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A recent report from McKinsey found that racially diverse organizations outperform less diverse competitors by 35% - with a 25% net increase in overall employee performance.

In a media statement, Bains expressed his own hopes for the 50-30 Challenge.

“Canada's greatest resource is its people,” he stated.

“Yet, the reality is that while women comprise 50% of Canada's population, and racialized persons, people who identify as LGBTQ2, people living with disabilities, as well as First Nations, Inuit and Métis who are the founding peoples of Canada, represent roughly 30%, they are under-represented in positions of economic influence and leadership, including on corporate boards and in senior management.

“If we want to continue building successful and innovative businesses, we must invite all people and voices in Canada to the decision-making table.

“This is why the 50 – 30 Challenge is vital. It is an opportunity for corporate Canada, diversity organizations and the Government of Canada to collaborate and advance inclusion, diversity and economic prosperity from coast to coast to coast.

“As part of our commitment to open, informed decision making, I am thrilled to be collaborating with advocacy and business partners in this space, who can lend us their expertise and help to shape this critical program.”

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And for those committed to fighting the fight against racial bias in Canada, this move from the government cannot come too soon.

In that vein, HRD spoke to Tamisha Parris, founder of diversity-consulting firm Parris Consulting and author of UKG’s recent whitepaper, Combatting Racism in the Workplace, who explained the role HR has to play in diversifying our companies.

“It’s crucial that HR professionals know where the company stands when it comes to racial discrimination – what it looks like and how it can present itself,” she told HRD.

“Leaders need to foster an open dialogue, one where people can speak freely. It’s about moving forward together, at every level of the organization.

“Organizations need to have policies in place to protect people. What’s more, employees need to trust that they can come forward if they feel like they’ve been victimized – and that they won’t face any repercussions for doing so.”

Organizations that are interested in participating in the 50-30 Challenge should sign up via the online application form.

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