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 Social Responsibility (CSR) 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 CSR Lead, is responsible for providing oversight on our human rights commitments, as reflected in our CSR 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. In addition to being strongly committed to respecting and supporting human rights, many of our group companies are taking a leadership position on human rights management programs.
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 corporate social responsibility, including human rights, is reported annually to the Board through its Governance and Nominating Committee.
Highlights from our Group Companies
Committing to Human Rights
Great-West Lifeco’s Code of Conduct is reviewed and acknowledged annually by all directors, officers, and employees across the globe (excluding its subsidiary Putnam Investments, which has its own Code of Ethics) and is complemented by a communications and awareness program. In addition to the Code, advisors and brokers must also comply with specialized codes of conduct in all their interactions on behalf of the company.
Putnam Investments’ Code of Ethics is considered an integral part of the company’s role as a fiduciary. The Code is designed to strengthen the trust and confidence their clients place in the company, and to demonstrate that their clients’ interests come first. It ensures that their associates comply with all applicable laws and avoid any conflict of interest that might result in harm to the company’s clients. Among many provisions, the Code addresses associates’ trading procedures for all investments and funds, including personal securities transactions by investment professionals. Adherence to the Code is a condition of employment, and all associates are required to annually train in the Code and attest adherence.
IGM Financial’s Code of Conduct is distributed annually to all its directors, officers and employees for review and acknowledgment. Employees also complete annual compliance training to remind them of requirements under IGM Financial’s privacy, anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing, anti-corruption and anti-bribery, and whistleblower policies. IGM Financial’s Corporate Responsibility statement includes human rights commitments. In addition, IGM Financial, along with two of its operating companies, Mackenzie Investments and Investment Planning Counsel, 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 (GBL) 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.
IGM Financial integrates human rights considerations throughout its investment process. The IG Mackenzie Betterworld SRI Fund, formerly the IG Mackenzie Summa SRI™ Fund, was renamed in March 2022 and follows a sustainable investment approach, prioritizing environmental, social and governance factors by leveraging sustainable approaches such as excluding certain industries, best-in-class ESG and ESG stewardship. In addition, the Fund does not invest in companies whose revenues are primarily derived from alcohol, cannabis, tobacco, gambling, pornography or critical weapons systems. Environmental stewardship and advocacy are a key part of the new portfolio management team’s investment process, which supports the transition away from fossil fuels and toward green energy and clean technology. In the team’s view, investors are paying increasing attention to how companies address issues of diversity, equity and reconciliation within their employee bases, products and services. The team maintains a focus on the themes of gender and racial diversity, feeding the future, human rights in the supply chain and climate action.
Mackenzie Investments also offers the following sustainable, responsible and impact products to provide clients with opportunities to invest in specific ESG themes or in funds that optimize social or environmental needs first. Mackenzie-branded sustainable investment solutions exclude companies with involvement in controversial weapons, adult entertainment or pornography, gambling, tobacco or private prisons. They also exclude companies involved in anti-personnel land mines and cluster munitions from all their actively managed funds.
The Mackenzie Global Sustainable Balanced Fund selects companies and countries that are willing to engage in or have incorporated strategies aimed at improving ESG.
The Mackenzie Global Women’s Leadership Fund and Mackenzie Global Women’s Leadership ETF are aimed at driving social and governance change through a focus on companies that promote gender diversity and women’s leadership.
The Mackenzie Greenchip Global Environmental Balanced Fund is a pioneering environmental-themed fund containing green economy equities and green bonds, which are at the forefront of building a sustainable future, from renewable energy to sustainable agriculture.
The ESG Policy developed by GBL, made public in March 2021, as well as the sustainability statements or responsible investment policies published by Power Corporation's alternative asset investment platforms, Sagard and Power Sustainable, through its platform Power Sustainable China, highlight their respective commitment to incorporate ESG considerations, including human rights, into their investment analysis process and active ownership approach.
National Centre for 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.