Diversity in Canadian Workplaces Initiative

About the Project

ACCES Employment’s Diversity in Canadian Workplaces Initiative, funded by Canadian HeritageOpens in new tab icon, is an innovative project that examines barriers and challenges faced by racial minorities in Canadian workplaces as they move through various phases of employment (hiring, retention and career mobility).

The project identifies and delivers strategies for addressing these barriers and challenges by working collaboratively with employers to develop solutions that will help their workplaces and teams to strengthen their diversity and inclusion practices.

The project aligns with ACCES’s vision of achieving a fully inclusive labour force that reflects the diversity, skills and experiences of Canada’s population.

Project Activities:

  • Employer roundtable discussions
  • Employee surveys (racial minorities and newcomers)
  • Development and Delivery of diversity and inclusion training workshops
  • Paper publications


Project Goals and Outcomes

For Employers
  • Exchanging best practices, strategies and ideas between employers
  • Implementing diversity and inclusion strategies in the day-to-day workplace culture and practices
  • Ongoing engagement of small and medium sized employers (including those who did not participate in the project)
For Employees
  • Improving recruitment, retention and career mobility
  • Reducing experiences of discrimination, bias and exclusion
  • Enhancing participation in the Canadian economy and social life


For more information about this project or to get involved, please contact us.Opens in new tab icon

Round-table Summary Report

Diversity in Canadian Workplaces is an innovative project funded by Canadian Heritage that seeks to examine and confront the challenges and barriers faced by racialized minorities during the hiring, retention, and career mobility phases of employment. From an equity perspective, it is important to identify and address those practices which provide certain opportunities to some people and not others based on their identity characteristics. Through a series of three virtual roundtable discussions with highly engaged groups of employers from various sectors in our network, we learned about their best practices and policies, as well as their challenges in creating and maintaining diversity and inclusion strategies through the three phases of employment.

Following this report will be a white paper that will include these findings, as well as findings from an environmental scan examining the practices that are currently being implemented at a broad range of organizations across Canada. From there, we will develop training workshops and resource materials to assist employers in our network to ensure the success of racialized individuals in the workplace beyond hiring.

Diversity in Canadian Workplaces White Papers

The Current State and Future Goals of D&I Initiatives in Canadian Workplaces

Racism and discrimination are not new issues, but they are often hidden and ignored. The pandemic has exposed the significant vulnerabilities and inequity that racialized communities face. The murder of George Floyd ignited worldwide attention about the continued existence and impact of racism, specifically anti-Black racism. Racism is not simply about individuals and their attitudes, it is systemic, which is why it is deeply embedded within the policies and structures in which we live and operate. Systemic racism is prevalent and systemic change is needed to tackle this persistent and widespread problem. With recent events, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) has become an urgent priority among Canadian employers.

Our approach is to work directly with employers in various industries to target and address specific barriers to hiring racialized minorities, gather and identify training needs, and implement solutions in the workplace to mitigate and change the processes that hinder or negatively affect the retention and career mobility of racialized individuals.

Finding Employment: Barriers and Challenges for Newcomers and Racialized Individuals

ACCES Employment reached out to approximately 4,000 program alumni with an EDI survey about their thoughts, experiences and recommendations, particularly around employment issues pertaining to racial and gender discrimination. We received 143 responses, the majority of which were from individuals who identify as Black or Asian (including South Asian, Southeast Asian and East Asian). The analysis of the data sheds light on many of the challenges racialized and newcomer employees face while navigating employment. Through these quantified points based on lived experience, we can begin to formulate broad solutions and suggestions to target specific systemic barriers and increase the positive experiences of inclusivity in the workplace.

Solutions and Strategies to Move the Dial and Build EDI Capacity in Employment

ACCES Employment received funding from Canadian Heritage to launch the Diversity in Canadian Workplaces Initiative. This innovative project incorporated feedback from ACCES alumni and employers to explore the barriers and challenges faced by many new Canadians and other racialized individuals in their pathway to successful labour market integration.

With the aim of creating helpful resources and solutions, we began by gathering information. ACCES held three roundtables with employers of varying sizes from various sectors as part of our environmental scan. These engaging conversations highlighted themes relating to recruitment, retention, and career development where EDI training could support employers in developing strategies and leveraging best practices.