Rights & Money

Major Canadian Bank Promises to Act on Inequality

BMO’s equality goals include boosting workplace representation of various communities

By Caitlin Finlay


BMO Financial Group has announced a five-year plan to address the under-representation of various racial and cultural groups in its offices and banks.

In a Sept. 9 press release, BMO introduced its Zero Barriers to Inclusion 2025 strategy, which includes increasing the numbers of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour employees and leaders. The company also committed to gender equity and to an LGBTQ2+ representation goal.

Employee and workforce diversity goals include increasing the representation of Black employees in senior leadership to 3.5% in Canada and 7% in the United States, and of People of Colour employees to 30% of senior leadership roles, and maintaining 40 to 60% gender equity in senior leadership roles. BMO also aims to increase the workplace representation of LGBTQ2+ to 3%, Indigenous Peoples (1.6%), and people with disabilities (5 to 7%). To provide opportunities to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Peoples of Colour) youth, BMO has declared that it will direct 40% of student opportunities to BIPOC youth.

Customer and community-related goals include launching the Black Opportunity Fund to provide capital for Black businesses, creating banking products to meet the needs of Black and Latino customers, and improving Indigenous communities’ access to financial services.

BMO also aims to address barriers to the recruitment and retention of BIPOC employees and to provide learning and development programs for BIPOC staff within the workplace to promote leadership opportunities. Employees will have access to educational materials on racial injustice and Indigenous history and culture, and a Black and Latino Advisory Council has been created to improve employee experience and promote advancement and engagement of employees. BMO is also working with Canadian Chiefs and Indigenous leaders as part of the Indigenous Advisory Council (IAC) to improve and inform policies with economic empowerment, education, and employment in mind.

“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, the Chief Executive Officer at BMO Financial Group, said in a statement. “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.”

Photo: iStock/BalkansCat.