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Business Can Do Better on Workplace Diversity


October 3, 2018

OTTAWA – Canada’s businesses must do a better job of honouring the diversity of their employees, argues think tank Cardus in a new guide for workplaces. The four-step guide, Navigating Religious Diversity in the Workplace, offers concrete recommendations to make Canadian businesses and workplaces truly welcoming for people of faith. Cardus Executive Vice President Ray Pennings says the guide is more necessary than ever.

“We know that having a diverse workplace is good for business,” says Pennings. “And religion is part of that diversity. Eight in 10 Canadians claim some connection to spirituality, while at least half of Canadians have a religious identity at some level.”

Navigating Religious Diversity in the Workplace comes as part of a special Cardus presentation to a meeting of the Conference Board of Canada’s Council on Inclusive Work Environments in Toronto this week. The guide, which is freely available for download, recommends that organizations undertake four steps:

Awareness: Build religious literacy and awareness within your organization by learning about various traditions, holy books, or major beliefs.

Affirmation: Institutionally recognize the importance of religious diversity and religious freedom in the workplace—just as other aspects of individual identities are being publicly affirmed, so too should religious identities.

Engagement: Look outside your organization to learn and work with religious communities by collaborating with religious charities or hosting training sessions.

Accommodation: Complex issues require complex solutions, such as allowing scheduling changes because of religious holidays, changing employees’ duties if tasks conflict with religious convictions, or allowing the use of work facilities for religious observance.

“Religion is not merely a private thing that only belongs in our homes or houses of worship; it’s a deep part of the identity of many Canadians and is present wherever they are, be it a public or private space,” says Pennings. “Because Canadian society is as religious as it is, we need to be more attentive to matters of faith, especially in our workplaces and other public spaces. Simply put, business can do better.”

Download a copy of Navigating Religious Diversity in the Workplace from the Cardus website.

To book an interview with Ray Pennings, please, contact Daniel Proussalidis.

Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus – Director of Communications
613-241-4500 x508