Put your money where it

advances inclusion and anti-racism.

Vancity was founded on the vision of inclusion when a small group of citizens couldn’t get their needs met by existing banks in 1946. We continue that work today with fair financial services and access for all.

In 2020, we made a commitment to oppose racism. With an understanding that being actively anti-racist requires much learning and unlearning, we want to be transparent by sharing an honest update on what we’ve accomplished and where we’ve fallen short.

Financial institutions provide important services, access, and opportunities, so it’s critical that our work with communities that have faced racism and discrimination are centered on building meaningful relationships, not just transactional services. The banking system has many standard processes created for privileged groups, which frequently translate into systemic barriers for everyone else. As a financial institution and employer, we’re committed to doing our part in removing financial barriers that stem from systemic exclusion and inequities.

Internal and employee matters.

In 2021, we received the results of our external racial equity audit. Vancity’s Racial Equity Employee Resource Group (ERG) was consulted to review, validate, and advise on the priority actions. As a result:

  1. We redesigned our employee diversity survey to be more inclusive, accurate and transparent by adding nearly 50 options to reflect an intersectional and more diverse range of genders, racial identities, disabilities, and sexual orientations. Collecting accurate and specific diversity data helps us better see our employee population for what it truly is, better meet employee needs, and ensure equitable employment opportunities and benefits.
  2. We hired a Chief Equity and People Officer. The position is a newly created executive role that leads both our HR function and our work to create systemic organization-wide changes to become an inclusive and anti-racist organization. Because diversity, equity, inclusion, and Reconciliation (DEIR) are organizational priorities, a dedicated team–with a director and six DEIR team members –conduct Vancity’s anti-racism and inclusion initiatives.
  3. We expanded the Indigenous talent program to attract and retain more Indigenous employees. As part of our commitment to representing the communities we serve, we set a goal on increasing the number of Indigenous employees at Vancity. We did not meet our target of 2.5 per cent of employees who identify as Indigenous. By the end of 2021, 1.5 per cent of employees self-identified as Indigenous.
  4. We enhanced our anonymous reporting portal for employees to submit concerns or report instances of discriminatory practices, policies, or incidents. Submissions are treated as confidential. A clearly defined escalation process ensures that investigations are carried out in a manner that limits disclosure of the report. Employees that submit a concern are protected and are not subject to retaliation for reporting.

Member programs and services.

Our work with communities centres on building meaningful relationships, not just transactional services. And because fair financial services can translate to better access and economic opportunities, we create financial products that account for specific needs and strengths of groups that have been historically excluded. In 2021:

  1. We created the 'Wealth Mindset–Indigenous Financial Resilience' program which decolonizes a standard financial literacy curriculum. In collaboration with Elders and community members to meet the unique needs and strengths of Indigenous learners, the new program centres on the Indigenous definition of wealth and learning.
  2. We began an assessment of our granting processes and practices. We hired a third-party agency to conduct a process review and lead candid discussions on grant accessibility. Vancity is in the process of streamlining our granting process to utilize more inclusive language, allow for more flexible requirements and encourage applications from equity deserving organizations. We partnered with the Government of Canada on the country’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program. Working closely with the Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE) we offer term loans and operating loans to Black entrepreneurs and Black-led organizations. We also provided the Black Business Association of BC support to develop a 12-month business program that provides entrepreneurs help with loan applications, sustainability practices and strategic growth planning support.

Leadership diversity.

Vancity is part of the federal 50-30 Challenge to accelerate diversity and improve equity at our Board and senior management levels. The goal is to attain gender parity (50 per cent) and at least 30 per cent representation of underrepresented groups to build a more diverse, inclusive, and vibrant economy.

To meet this challenge, we need to improve on gender parity at the senior management levels. For underrepresented groups, we recognize that by grouping these identities together, we don’t see the disparities among them. Therefore, we are setting a higher target so that by the end of 2025, we reflect our community diversity with a Board and a senior management team where at least 40 per cent identify as Indigenous, Black, person of colour, 2SLGBTQIA+ or a person living with disabilities.

Gender parity of board: 66.7%, senior management: 43.6%. Indigenous, Black or person of cglour and/or 2SLGBTQIA+ and/or gender, sexually or ability diverse groups on our board: 55.6%,senior management: 41%.

There’s more to do.

Our commitment to provide fair financial services and access for all means continuing the work to be an anti-racist institution, promote meaningful Reconciliation, and ensure equity is embedded in our processes. A few initiatives currently underway are:

  • As an employer, we’re shifting our culture and processes to be intentionally inclusive of racialized peoples. We’re in the process of redesigning job posting templates and role descriptions, increasing the diversity of hiring panels, adopting cluster hiring – especially for Indigenous and Black candidates.
  • We’re redesigning our benefits program, compensation framework, performance management system, Employee Resource Groups, and talent acquisition efforts with an anti-racist lens, to help build our approach and strategy to ensure we’re as authentic, equitable and inclusive as possible.

Vancity’s unique organizational history positions us to embed inclusion and anti-racism in our organizational priorities. While we take pride in our progress, we do so knowingly that the work is urgent and ongoing. We’ll continue to be accountable and share updates with our employees and members.

Real people, real stories.

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