As an international management and holding company, we recognize the role we have to play in supporting and respecting the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights. We believe that respecting and protecting human rights is fundamental to creating long-term sustainable value. We also believe that it is our responsibility as an employer to offer a workplace where all people are treated with respect and dignity, in an inclusive, diverse and safe work environment.
As a matter of principle, respect for human rights has always been embedded in our responsible management philosophy as defined by our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, our Corporate Sustainability Statement and our Respectful Workplace Policy and Procedures. Building on this strong foundation of acting responsibly, we became signatories to the United Nations Global Compact, formalizing our commitment to support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and to creating and maintaining a work environment of equal opportunity characterized by mutual trust and the absence of intimidation, discrimination, oppression and exploitation.
Upholding our commitment to respect human rights is the responsibility of our entire Corporation. The Vice-President and General Counsel, our ESG Lead, is responsible for providing oversight on our human rights commitments, as reflected in our Corporate Sustainability Statement, whereas our Vice-President, Human Resources and Administration is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Respectful Workplace Policy and Procedures.
Human rights are considered during our dealings with business partners and within our own investment analysis process, when relevant. We also collaborate with group companies to share knowledge on human rights management practices and to identify areas of opportunity.
We also engage with the senior management of our group companies, both formally and informally, and as needed, to ensure a proper understanding of how their management teams are addressing human rights when questions or issues arise.
We provide our employees with an annual training on our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and on our Respectful Workplace Policy and Procedures, which emphasize our commitment to provide a respectful and equitable workplace.
In addition, we extend our human rights commitment to third parties that work for/on our behalf, through our Third Party Code of Conduct.
We also support initiatives that promote human rights in our community. For example, Power Corporation supports Lawyers Without Borders Canada, a non-governmental international cooperation organization whose mission is to support the defence of the human rights of people in situations of vulnerability by strengthening access to justice and legal representation. We also contribute to Equitas and support its series of Equitalks conferences that focus on addressing inequities and discrimination and work to build safer and more inclusive communities throughout the world.
Monitoring and Review
Our progress on sustainability, including human rights, is reported annually to the Board through its Governance and Nominating Committee.
Highlights from our Group Companies
Human Rights Commitments
IGM Financial’s Corporate Responsibility Statement includes human rights commitments. In addition, IGM Financial, along with its three operating companies, are signatories to the United Nations Women's Empowerment Principles, which promote gender equality in the workplace, communities and marketplace.
Both Canada Life, a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco, and IG Wealth Management, a subsidiary of IGM Financial, are signatories of Winnipeg’s Indigenous Accord, committing to fostering a workplace culture in which Indigenous Peoples and all employees can contribute to their fullest potential.
Groupe Bruxelles Lambert has outlined its support and respect for internationally proclaimed human rights in its ESG Policy, Diversity & Inclusion Policy and its Code of Ethics, which includes compliance with all applicable laws, and the group endeavours to support and respect internationally proclaimed human rights. It is also a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) since 2018 and, under this commitment recognized in particular the provisions offered by the United Nations Guiding Principles on Human Rights and the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
Indigenous Truth and Reconciliation
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) was created in 2015 upon the completion of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions of Canada’s mandate to document and inform all Canadians on the truth of what happened in residential schools across Canada. The NCTR educates Canadians on the profound injustices inflicted on First Nations, Inuit and the Métis by the forced removal of children to attend residential school and the widespread abuse suffered in those schools. It preserves the record of these human rights abuses and promotes continued research and learning on the legacy of residential schools with the goal of honouring survivors and fostering reconciliation and healing on the foundation of truth telling. In 2021, Power Corporation and IG Wealth Management formed a partnership with the NCTR in support of Imagine a Canada, a national art and leadership program that inspires youth for reconciliation.
Throughout 2022, IGM Financial supported Indigenous communities by striving to break down barriers for Indigenous people working in the financial services industry, promoting financial literacy and wellness through the IG Empower Your Tomorrow program, and providing education for its employees to increase knowledge of, and respect for, Indigenous culture and history.
Great-West Lifeco’s subsidiary Canada Life recognized National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Guided by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action #80, Canada Life provided its employees a paid day away from work, empowering them to act toward reconciliation. In addition, in line with Call to Action #92, Canada Life continues to support its employees on their journeys of education by providing access to curated learning resources, training and Indigenous-led events.