Companies need help to source and recruit diverse workplace

October 2008 - A recent study conducted by the Canadian Aboriginal Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC) confirms the challenges faced by corporations in taking workforce and supplier diversity from strategic priorities to practical initiatives. Approximately 78 per cent of respondents indicated there was a need for external resources to support Canadian supplier diversity efforts, particularly in the identification of capable, Canadian minority suppliers. Relative to workforce diversity, 63 per cent of respondents agreed that more assistance in the sourcing and recruitment of a diverse workforce was required.

"By 2017, it's predicted that Canada's immigrant population will reach 9.3 million, creating challenges and opportunities for businesses throughout Canada," said Laurie Bradley, president of ASG Renaissance. "While most of the survey respondents indicated that diversity was a major component of their overall business strategy, they also confirmed their immediate challenges were to recruit/source a diverse workforce and supplier base."

The online survey was conducted to gage the importance of diversity in major Canadian corporations and identify key challenges/priorities in implementing workforce and supplier diversity programs in Canada. The survey was divided into two parts to include workforce diversity and supplier diversity.

Workforce diversity results

  • Diversity was identified as a component to the overall business strategy for about 90 percent of the respondents.
  • When asked if corporate executives understood the benefits of a diverse workforce, 94 per cent responded favourably.
  • Approximately 93 per cent of respondents currently monitor "employment equity" within their workforce.

The top priority for businesses, identified by the survey, is to better diversify their workforce by creating working environments, policies, and practices that attract minorities and fully maximize their talents, especially in the executive and leadership positions. Retention of diverse employees was second.

Supplier diversity results

  • Approximately 93 per cent indicated they favoured internal monitoring and reporting of purchasing spends with minority businesses.
  • More than 75 per cent of respondents indicated that more resources are needed to advance Canadian supplier diversity efforts.
  • The key challenge facing many Canadian corporations was identifying capable, Canadian minority businesses.

When asked about the role of government to further diversity, 85 per cent of respondents indicated they supported including diversity as a purchasing criteria in sourcing of government business. One solution offered was to require information on diversity initiatives and/or diversity purchasing on government Request for Proposals (RFP). This was viewed as a positive intervention the Canadian government could take to advance diversity efforts.

Overall, the results suggest that CAMSC will need to be engaged to supplement corporate resources and assist Canadian corporations in advancing their diversity efforts. With adequate resources and incentives, diverse individuals will be positively impacted through more equitable jobs and increased procurement opportunities.

"A diverse team is a stronger team," said Orrin Benn, president of CAMSC. "Integrating aboriginal and minority owned businesses into the workforce and supply chain of corporations makes for a more competitive Canada in the global economy."

More than 300 Canadian and U.S. executives and managers in diversity, human resources and purchasing positions responded to the survey which was conducted by the Canadian Aboriginal Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC) in partnership with ASG Renaissance and eCaliber Group.

The Canadian Aboriginal Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC) was established in 2004 to advance workforce and supplier diversity efforts in Canada. CAMSC's vision is to be the leading Canadian business organization dedicated to the economic empowerment of socially and economically disadvantaged communities through business development and employment. An independent private sector, non-profit member organization whose mission is to deliver programs to promote and facilitate procurement opportunities between major corporations in Canada and suppliers of all sizes owned and operated by Canadian Aboriginals and visible minorities.

ASG Renaissance is an international professional services firm that provides integrated marketing communications, human capital, performance management and diversity services to a wide range of clients in the automotive, alternative energy, higher education, defence, healthcare, construction, government and non-profit sectors. Founded in 1987, ASG Renaissance is a women and Hispanic-owned, ISO 9001:2000 certified firm with offices in Michigan, California, Washington DC, South Carolina and Ontario. For more information, please visit

eCaliber Group is an integrated talent management solutions provided that assists companies in aligning their business strategy with their talent management strategy to proactively attract, engage and retain a multicultural workforce.  eCaliber's reach extends throughout North America with offices in Mississauga, Ontario, Richmond, British Columbia, Spokane, Washington and White Lake, Michigan.  eCaliber has a wide range of clients in financial, high tech and non-profit sectors.  For more information visit