The Call for Equity: an open letter to Canadian Advertising and Marketing Industry Leaders
We acknowledge that many leaders in many organizations in our industry have made anti-racism statements and statements of support for racialized minorities and Indigenous peoples. But we need you to take a stand and not just make a statement.
For all the apparent progressiveness of our industry, there has been very little progress. We face injustice and inequity every day and each day we are asked to do all the real work to fight it.
We need that to change. We need justice, equity and inclusion. We need the industry to look more like us. We need Black, Indigenous and people of colour (PoC) voices to be sought out and included in the creative process. We need Black, Indigenous and PoC professionals in senior and leadership positions.
In a multicultural Canada where more than one in five Canadians is a member of a visible or racialized minority, we need to dismantle the industry's oppressive monoculture that stifles the growth of Black, Indigenous and PoC professionals and restricts our ability to express our true selves.
We are asking all leaders in Canadian advertising and marketing to take the following actions to address the systemic racism in our industry:
1. Make a specific, measurable, and public commitment to improve Black, Indigenous and PoC representation at all levels of staffing, especially senior and leadership positions
2. Track and publicly report your workforce diversity data on an annual basis to create accountability for the industry
3. Audit company policies and culture to ensure the environment we work in is more equitable and inclusive to a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives
4. Provide extensive bias training to HR employees and all levels of management, and ask your teams and leaders to get simple constructive human rights training and certification such as that provided by The Ontario Human Rights Commission at: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/learning/human-rights-101
5. Extend outreach to a more diverse representation of colleges, universities, and art schools
6. Expand residencies and internship programs to candidates with transferable skills who may not have taken a traditional educational path toward advertising and marketing
7. Create, fund, and support Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) for Black, Indigenous and PoC employees
8. Invest in management and leadership training, as well as mentorship, sponsorship, and other career development programs for Black, Indigenous and PoC employees
9. Require all leaders to actively participate in company Diversity & Inclusion initiatives and tie success in those initiatives to bonus compensation.
10. Create a Diversity & Inclusion committee made up of Black, Indigenous and PoC employees to help shape diversity & inclusion policy and monitor its progress
11. Establish a diversity review panel to stem the spread of stereotypes in creative work and ensure offensive or culturally insensitive work is never published
12. Introduce a wage equity plan to ensure that women and Black, Indigenous and PoC are being compensated fairly
Only for clients, in addition to the above:
13. Reward only those agencies that successfully implement these demands, with your business
14. Commit to ensuring that you will include agencies that are Black-, Indigenous- or PoC-owned in your agency roster, recognizing that they disproportionately provide equitable employment to professionals from the Black, Indigenous and PoC communities
15. Demand that the agency teams serving on your business include Black, Indigenous or PoC professionals
*Text adapted from the Open Letter created by Nathan Young and Bennett D. Bennett and signed by Black advertising professionals in the US.