BMO Financial Group revealed new, five-year diversity goals to address gaps affecting Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Latino and LGBTQ2+ employees, customers and communities. Labeled the “Zero Barriers to Inclusion 2025” goals, these initiatives reflect an expansion of BMO’s multi-year diversity strategy, which was last set in 2017.
New benchmarks and plans include doubling enterprise-wide representation of Black senior leaders, accelerating Indigenous talent strategies, introducing an LGBTQ2+ representation goal and sustaining a strong gender equity position.
“Our commitment to create a more inclusive society is unwavering, and our renewed diversity strategy is one of the ways we’re driving meaningful change for our employees, customers and local communities,” Darryl White, CEO of BMO Financial Group, said. “These ambitious goals will help us achieve our vision of eliminating barriers to inclusion in society by directly addressing gaps in representation across our organization and the financial services industry to create opportunities for all.”
BMO’s Zero Barriers to Inclusion Strategy and Workforce Representation Goals
Yearly milestones set as part of the new initiatives include:
- Increasing representation of Black employees in senior leadership roles to 3.5% and 7% in Canada and the U.S., respectively
- Increasing representation of People of Colour employees in senior leadership roles to 30% or greater in Canada and the U.S.
- Increasing representation of Latino employees in senior leadership roles to 7% in the U.S.
- Sustaining the current gender equity position with a range of 40% to 60% representation in senior leadership roles
- Increasing representation of Black and Latino interns and entry-level employees to 30% in the U.S. and ensuring 40% of student opportunities in Canada are directed to BIPOC youth
- Increasing representation of Indigenous Peoples in Canada to 1.6%
- Increasing representation of persons with disabilities within a range of 5% to 7%
- Introducing an LGBTQ2+ representation goal of 3%
BMO said the new benchmarks were developed with a combination of inputs including data-driven trends, labor market availability, and internal and external environmental factors. These goals will be reviewed on an ongoing basis by the bank’s performance committee, which is chaired by White.
BMO’s Zero Barriers to Inclusion 2025 strategy also includes internal initiatives, including:
- The creation of the Black and Latino Advisory Council, which will focus on employee experience, advancement and engagement of Black and Latino talent through dedicated task forces and partnerships with BMO’s Enterprise Resource Groups (ERGs), including the Black Professionals Network ERG and the Leadership Committee for Inclusion and Diversity (LCID).
- A focus on a culture of inclusion through learning with development programs that build the leadership pipeline for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) talent; Indigenous history and culture education available across the organization; access to relevant and timely racial injustice education materials, dedicated resources website and e-learning programs; as well as 40% of student opportunities directed to BIPOC youth
- Continuous action from the Indigenous Advisory Council (IAC), which is comprised of chiefs and Indigenous leaders from across Canada, informing BMO policies and practices with a focus on education, employment and economic empowerment
- Creation of a dedicated Indigenous Talent Strategies team that is identifying and resolving barriers to recruitment, development and retention
BMO also will remain focused on supporting minority-owned businesses as part of its overall diversity strategy, including:
- Partnering with Canadian business leaders to launch the Black Opportunity Fund, offering Black businesses and organizations long-term capital by attracting investment from the business community, philanthropists and government
- Creating inclusive banking products and services to meet the diverse needs of Black and Latino business owners and customers
- Providing improved access to financial products and services in Indigenous communities across Canada through 13 branches, one business office on-reserve and 20 ABMs
- Expanding Supplier Diversity Council enterprise-wide to ensure spending with diverse suppliers and partners that positively affect local communities
- Supporting disadvantaged communities through previously announced donations, including $1 million to North American organizations focused on social and racial injustice, $10 million to the United Way of Metro Chicago’s Neighborhood Network in support of the Chicago Mayor’s INVEST South/West initiative focused on addressing economic disparity, a $10 million partnership with United Way Greater Toronto to foster inclusive economic opportunities, and $3 million to the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation in support of Minnie’s Hope Social Pediatric Centre for the Cree community of Whapmagoostui and the Inuit community of Kuujjuaraapik on the southern shore of Hudson Bay.
- Ongoing action connected to the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism’s CEO Pledge, which White endorsed
- Continued support of efforts by the Chicago City Treasurer’s office and the Illinois State Treasurer’s office to address the need for greater equity and opportunity for Black communities in the financial service industry