On May 25, 2020, a witness recorded the brutal murder of 45-year-old, George Floyd, by a police officer. The video was subsequently broadcast and viewed by millions, globally. The event, while incredibly tragic, served as a tipping point that spurred governments and corporations alike into action to induce positive change on issues of systemic racism.

Importantly, the advertising industry is uniquely placed to underpin efforts as it acts as a reflection of society. We have a responsibility to accurately portray and represent our diverse populations not only with the faces in front of the camera, but also with the multitude of people behind the scenes who contribute to the creative output.

In the spring and summer of 2020, the ACA held internal meetings to discuss how it could support, educate and empower its member companies, and the industry at large, on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, in order to affect lasting impact and measurable, positive change. In the summer of 2020, the ACA revised its mission statement to reflect the importance of DEI initiatives and other social causes.

ACA Mission: As marketers’ only independent voice, we fight for members’ interests and positive social change to maximize ROI.

In addition, the ACA also formed a DEI Committee, made up of senior leaders from both member and non-member companies. The committee is chaired by Esther Benzie, Vice President, CIBC, and includes nine additional members from the following national advertisers:

  • Jamieson Laboratories Ltd.
  • L’Oréal
  • Loblaw Companies Ltd.
  • Metrolinx
  • Molson Coors Canada
  • P&G
  • TD Bank Group
  • Toyota Canada
  • Unilever

The committee’s primary objective is to provide the marketing community with tangible tools to educate, cultivate and advance diversity, equity and inclusion in Canada. The path to deliver on the Committee’s objective is three-fold:

  • Curate best-in-class toolkits to guide the marketing community
  • Build opportunities to diversify talent across the marketing supply chain
  • Provide access for marketers to connect with local organizations to help drive change

In the summer of 2021 the ACA also spearheaded a national survey, as part of the first-ever global survey on DEI in the marketing industry.

The results of The DEI Census: Canada Report are now available and will help guide initiatives of the ACA’s DEI Committee. The report’s wide release to the Canadian marketing community is also intended to support similar initiatives at other associations and organizations.

Partnering with us on this initiative are the Association of Creative Communications Agencies (A2C), Advertising Standards Canada (ASC), the Canadian Media Directors Council (CMDC), Grenier aux nouvelles, the Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA), the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB Canada), Pride Advertising & Marketing (Pride AM), the Multicultural Marketing Alliance of Canada (MMAC), strategy, and thinktv.

The global lead on the survey, the World Federation of Advertisers, intends to run it again in Q1 of 2023, in order to measure progress.

Resources

Diversity & Representation: Guide to potential areas for bias in the creative process (2021)
The DEI Global Census: Canada Market Report (2021)

Media Releases

(November 29, 2021) New Tool to Ensure Diversity and Representation at Every Step of the Creative Process
(October 25, 2021) First-ever global DEI Census reveals major challenges around family status, age, gender, ethnicity and disability in Canada
(June 14, 2021) Canada to participate in global industry survey on diversity, equity and inclusion launching June 21