Building an Inclusive Future
Coast Capital has long been committed to inclusion and championing people. We belong to the financial cooperative movement, which for over 120 years has innovated to help serve the underserved. As a proud Certified B Corporation®, we are part of a community of leaders building a more just and inclusive economy to create opportunities for people of all backgrounds, lived-experiences and worldviews. Being a force to build better futures is core to who we are.
While we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, our journey is just beginning. Many Canadians continue to face economic and social barriers, and these inequities disproportionately impact women; Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour (IBPOC); LGBTQ2S+; as well as people with disabilities. Leveraging our roots and expertise, we have a key role to play in addressing systemic inequities and unlocking financial opportunities so that no person or community is left behind.
Becoming an Anti-Racist Organization
It has become strikingly clear that it is not enough to be quietly non-racist. Our hearts are heavy from recent events and violent attacks in our communities that have shone a light on historical and continued oppression, racism and discrimination here in Canada.
We know that we must take action and are working to become an anti-racist organization. This means making a commitment to reconciliation, growing our understanding of the issues faced by IBPOC communities, and standing against racism in all its forms. It also means having the courage to look closely at ourselves, while taking steps to further advance inclusion and create financial opportunities for our members and employees.
Our Acknowledgment & Commitment
In becoming anti-racist, it is important to acknowledge that through our own actions and inactions, we have contributed to maintaining the status quo of financial disadvantage for IBPOC, and have not done enough to use our power to champion individuals and groups who experience inequities.
We commit to taking proactive, sustained and urgent steps to advance financial inclusion and social justice, beginning with the work we must do ourselves. This includes listening to the lived experiences of our employees and members who are IBPOC and engaging community partners to help us shape a measurable equity, diversity and inclusion action plan.
It also requires addressing historic inequities, eliminating persistent biases, and dismantling systemic and structural racism in the delivery of financial services to our members and the communities we serve.
It’s time we bravely embrace our discomfort and lean into our collective humanity. Through our work together, we aspire to bring to life a renewed focus on the underserved that was at the heart of the mandate of our founding credit unions.
Progressing on our Journey
To meaningfully advance equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and dismantle racism, we are moving beyond words and into action across three areas of focus:
Creating opportunities for IBPOC and Diverse Employees
- It’s important that the inside of our organization reflects the communities we serve. Today, a third of our workforce, including those in leadership roles, identify as a racialized person or person of colour (what we have historically referred to as a member of a "visible minority group"). We’re actively working with our community partners to increase that number while implementing programs to ensure IBPOC employees are supported in the workplace and have opportunities to grow their careers at Coast.
- Increasing the number of women and IBPOC women in leadership roles is another priority for us. We have achieved strong female representation on our Board and Executive team but we have more work to do to ensure equal representation at all levels of management.
- We know that it’s not enough to simply attract diverse employees. We must also ensure that all employees, including members of the LGBTQ2S+ community, people with disabilities, and people of all faith identities, feel included, supported and engaged. We have launched several initiatives to gather employee perceptions so that we can better understand where we are doing well and what we need to improve to foster a truly inclusive workplace.
Coast-Wide Learning Journey
- From 2018-2019, we established six employee resource groups: The Business Women’s Network, the Indigenous Network, MOSAIC (representing racialized and people of colour ), the Abilities Network, the Pride Inclusivity Network and the Youth Network. In addition to uplifting the inequity experiencing groups* they stand for, these networks now work directly with our internal EDI Council and help to educate our leadership team and employees on the lived experiences of others.
- In 2021, we trained 100% of our senior leaders on EDI and anti-racism fundamentals and are now expanding the program to include continuous learning on unearned advantage and how to leverage privilege.
- We launched EDI training for all employees including active bystander training to address discriminatory situations in the workplace. For all 1800+ of our employees, we’re hosting conversations on race and racism, to create a common language and build an understanding of individual, procedural and structural levels of racism.
Supporting our Members & Eco-System
- Drawing on our core expertise, we are focused on unlocking barriers to financial inclusion for our members and those that belong to inequity-experiencing groups. This includes reviewing and updating processes within our own organization while also working with our partners to advocate and invest for system-level change.
- In consultation with local Indigenous communities, we are developing our plan toward meaningful reconciliation. We are starting by establishing respectful relationships, engaging in deep listening, and acknowledging harms and injustices, both past and present.
- We give back 10% of our budgeted bottom-line to our communities each year and are working to add a racial equity and social justice lens to this work.
- In addition to using our voice to advocate for change, we are committed to ensuring that our marketing and communications reflect the diversity of our communities.
- We are updating our supplier policies to embrace an inclusive supply chain by creating opportunities for businesses owned by women; Indigenous People, racialized people, LGBTQ2S+ and people with disabilities.
To ensure transparency and accountability, we will continue to share our progress with all stakeholders. We know our work to build a better, more inclusive future will take time and we are in it for the long haul.
The statement above was developed in consultation with our employees who are most immediately impacted by this work, including our Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Council and employee resource groups. As terms change over time, we will evolve our approach with guidance from our members, employees and partners.
*We define inequity experiencing groups as communities that experience significant collective barriers in participating in society including access, opportunities and resources due to disadvantage and discrimination. (This could include attitudinal, historic, social and environmental barriers based on age, ethnicity, disability, economic status, gender, nationality, race, faith-identity, sexual orientation and transgender status, etc.)1
- Adapted from Canada Council for the Arts Glossary