Monday, December 2nd, 2013

A Look at Three of Canada’s Most LGBT-Friendly Companies

Google Canada, RBC and Telus go the extra mile for LGBT employees.

Google Canada, RBC and Telus go the extra mile for LGBT employees.

For the LGBT community, the workplace can sometimes be a place of uncertainty, where employees feel their sexual orientation or identification must be hidden until they feel safe enough to be themselves. Here are three Canadian companies that have gone to considerable lengths to provide a safe, supportive and inclusive work environment for their LGBT employees, but who go the extra mile by openly supporting and sponsoring major pro-LGBT events and causes.

Google Canada

Among the staffers who refer to themselves as Googlers are the LGBT employees who refer to themselves as “Gayglers”. Xavier Pepion, a product marketing manager for Google Canada’s Toronto office, encouraged the partnership between Toronto Pride and Google and in 2012, the company entered a float in the Pride Parade. The company worked with the event’s organizers to develop a series of videos about members of the Toronto LGBT community. Gayglers openly participate in Pride parades and celebrations around the globe and in June of this year, Google’s search box transformed into a rainbow whenever users searched for pride-friendly terms like “gay,” “lesbian,” “bisexual,” “transgender” and “marriage equality”.

Royal Bank of Canada

Since 2009, Royal Bank has celebrated and commemorated National Coming Out Day by hosting an event for all of its employees, during which LGBT staffers can share their coming out stories. The bank is also a sponsor and participant in Toronto’s Out on Bay Street event, which connects job-seeking post-secondary LGBTQA students from business, law and technology with large corporate employers. RBC was also a founding sponsor of Pride at Work Canada, promoting a climate of inclusiveness for LGBT employees. RBC encourages all of its employees to volunteer or participate in a number of events and organizations, including Fit for a Queen, Gambado, and the Inside Out Film & Video Festivals in Toronto and the Ottawa-Gatineau region.


For Telus, “The future is friendly” isn’t just a slogan. The company supports the LGBT community through its participation in the It Gets Better campaign, an online initiative that has inspired thousands of people who identify as LGBTQA to create short videos about their struggles with the message that “it gets better” in the end. In 2009, the company launched Spectrum, a resource group for Telus’ LGBTQ employees that promotes advocacy, education, networking and volunteering. Spectrum has chapters in B.C., Alberta, Ontario and Quebec and volunteers for a number of organizations and events, including Maison Plein Coeur in Montreal, the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives in Toronto, Dr. Peter’s AIDS Foundation in Vancouver and the SHARP Foundation in Calgary. Telus was also a sponsor of the Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival and targeted its “I always knew I was a Telus” campaign specifically to the LGBT community across Quebec.

If you’d like to advocate for, and help put in place, a policy of tolerance, safety and support in the workplace, a diploma in Business Management will give you the communication, leadership and marketing skills to get the process started. Some colleges that offer programs in Business Management include:

Linda Galeazzi
Author: Linda Galeazzi
Linda Galeazzi has been an online writer and proof reader for several years.
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