Employment Equity . . . Banking . . .

Rick Weiss is Customer Service & Operations manager with the Royal Bank of Canada, and serves on the board of directors of both the Employment Skills Centre and the K-W Oktoberfest Inc


Employment Equity – Let’s Make it Count
December 1991 / January 1992
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As a leading employer, the Royal Bank continues to maintain our commitment to the principles, goals and objectives of Employment Equity. Due to the dramatic change in representation of the employable workforce, this commitment has prepared the Royal Bank to actively pursue goals in the field of Employment Equity.

It was only recently, in 1986, that the federal Employment Equity Act (Bill C-62) became legislation. Specifically the Bill requires national corporations to report statistics reflecting the hiring and career progress of staff of four target groups: Aboriginal Peoples, Persons with disabilities, Women, and those who, because of their race or colour, are a Visible Minority in Canada.

This past June, the Royal Bank became the first Bank to sign an Employment Equity agreement with the Canadian Human Rights Commission consolidating our commitment to employment equity. Ironically, the deal was not essentially different from the program already in existence at the Royal Bank with regards to hiring practices. This agreement has set targets and timetables for the hiring and promotion of the target groups.

This review came about as an effort to improve employment equity in general in the private sector. The assigning of specific quotas has not superseded the need for quality human resources in the private sector. Hiring and promotion for all target groups remains based on skills, availability of jobs and qualifications. Quotas, on the contrary, have sparked a sort of “new revolution” especially in the local market. Enlightened employers have expanded their recruitment efforts into the non-traditional sectors. Attaining specified quotas, then becomes an expected result.

The real benefit is the true selection of the best possible employee for any particular job.

By expanding the scope of human resources, employers increase their chances of finding the “optimum” employee.

We, then, as employers must determine ways to infiltrate these non-traditional resource groups, and convince them to apply for jobs in the areas that they have previously avoided. As a viable employment equity mentality becomes the norm, the barriers to employment, specifically in the four target groups, will crumble.

But it will take time. Many traditionalist views remain thoroughly entrenched in our society. But the move is on ! For employers still striving for productivity and service excellence in this strained economic environment, human resources within a company has taken on a new meaning. The progressive, innovative management team will adapt more quickly to the changes around us. An effective employment equity policy will largely shape the foundation for personnel administration. This new mentality will introduce the concept of “diversity” to the private sector.

Being actively involved in the employment sector in this community, I have seen a dramatic change in representation in the labour force. I have witnessed this diversity, and it is through diversity that we become stronger as a corporation. As a leader in the financial field, it is essential that the Royal Bank, as a role model, maintain our commitment to employment equity as a “way of life” and not simply a task to meet specific quotas. We take a progressive and action-oriented approach, not a reactionary approach to diversity. Thus, the challenge becomes effective management of this new diversity. A subject we will explore in future articles


Why Use a Bank
April / May 1992

Chartered Banks in Canada
Canadian Chartered Banks form a major part of the financial web in this country. They act as the medium for the majority of individuals’ savings, and arrange lending facilities for individuals and businesses alike.  Chartered Banks are the predominant deposit taking institutions in Canada. In total, Canadians alone hold over 31 million personal savings accounts. These deposits are important to the money supply of the country as they form the basis of funding to meet the wide ranging credit needs of the nation’s borrowers – both business and consumer.

So it is beneficial for the consumer and the country to deal with a bank. In fact, people have been dealing with banks in Canada for more than 160 years. Currently, the banking industry in Canada offers in excess of 7,000 branches coast to coast.

But who regulates this intricate and complex industry? The Federal Government, operating under the provisions of the Bank Act, provides the industry’s policing. To keep current economically and socially, the Act is evaluated approximately every 10 years. Recent changes have concentrated on the providing of Insurance products through the extensive branch network of the Banking Industry. Also, in 1987, the Bank Act changed to allow Chartered Banks to be more participative in investment advice and portfolio management services. Most of the Chartered Banks associated themselves with a major Brokerage House and expanded their delivery network.

Introducing Schedule “B” Banks
A major change occurred in 1980, which had an impact throughout the industry: Schedule “B” banks were introduced. These include all foreign and Canadian owned Banks and Trust companies whose shares are controlled by a single or small number of shareholders. They differ from Schedule “A” banks, Charter Banks, whose shares are widely traded on the major stock exchange, and where no one interest may hold more than 10 percent. There are about 8 schedule “A”, and 55 schedule “B” banks in Canada today.

As mentioned earlier, bank deposits make up the major portion of the official money supply in the country. These deposits, subsequently, are used to fund loans to businesses, farmers, and individual consumers. Some of these monies are also used to finance development in other areas of Canada. Since the primary business of banks is to make loans, attracting these deposit dollars becomes a very important function. The banks encourage Canadians to save by providing a unique range of deposit and personal services. It is a well known fact that Canadians, as a group, are a nation of savers. There are more personal savings accounts in Canadian chartered banks than there are people in this country. Once you make the decision to deal with a bank, take your time and choose your deposit vehicle carefully. Talk to the banker. Ask about interest rates and the different benefits the various types of accounts can offer. The banks handle such large volumes of transactions so effectively that Canada is regularly complimented on having one of the most efficient banking systems in the world. The banking industry is an important one in Canada.