June 7, 2020
Black Lives Matter. We stand with you. Here’s what we’re doing and how you can help
At Loblaw, we have 2,500 stores in neighbourhoods across Canada. We are a strong, diverse team that reflects the communities we work in. Right now, people in Canada – our colleagues, customers and citizens – are grieving, angry and mobilizing. Because systemic anti-Black racism lives in Canada. Because Black Lives Matter.
I’ve heard from many colleagues this week. Among them a Black woman who works with us in Toronto. She’s felt the need to teach her son, from a very young age, how to behave around the police. He’s a young adult now, but she’s not done reminding him: Be polite and respectful. Keep your hands up. Never run. And even with those warnings, she still worries even if he does everything “right” something bad will happen.
Black people should not have to live with this fear. And they should never have to die as tragically as George Floyd died. And those who came before him. And even after him.
As a months-long global pandemic has consumed us, I have done my best to update you swiftly and consistently about all the measures we’ve put in place to keep our colleagues and our communities safe.
This situation is different. But, it too touches our entire community.
I cannot begin to truly understand what it is like to be subjected to systemic racism from the day you are born. But I can speak for myself and Loblaw to say we unequivocally condemn anti-Black racism, violence and discrimination of any kind. We stand in solidarity with our Black colleagues and communities across Canada. There is a very forceful call to action to finally deliver change. I am inspired by all those who have made sure their voices are heard.
Diversity and inclusion are key elements of our effort to transform our culture. Inspired by current events, this past week we have shone the spotlight on those initiatives to make sure that they are effectively addressing the unique challenges faced by our Black colleagues. Ultimately, we aspire to a business culture that is inclusive of all Canadians. A place where our colleagues believe they can succeed by being who they are regardless of race, gender, or orientation. We believe in our core that doing so makes us a better organization – more creative, more responsive, and more understanding.
As Canada’s largest employer, the most impactful thing we can do is ensure our own house is in order. We have made progress over the last few years and we are committed to doing much more. It isn’t enough to be vigilant. We must commit to being actively anti-racist by taking actions to find where instances of bias, discrimination and racism inadvertently arise in our organization, and eliminate them. Here are some areas where we can act now:
Ensure our recruitment and hiring practices eliminate any risk of racial and ethnic bias
Ensure our internship and scholarship programs include opportunity for the Black community
Eliminate any intentional or unintentional racial profiling in our stores
Mandate diversity and inclusion training that identifies biases and provides tools to end racism in any form
We can also demonstrate our commitment to change through financial support. So, we will make a $100,000 donation to the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA), a national organization that supports the advancement of Canada’s Black communities in higher education, economic development and business excellence. And starting today, we will offer you, our customers, the opportunity to turn your PC Optimum points into donations for BBPA.
This is only the beginning. The results of these efforts will be measured in years, but I believe a meaningful difference can also be measured in months. This is the standard we must hold ourselves accountable to.
And we will.