Land acknowledgement

In the spirit of truth and reconciliation, we acknowledge that the land we inhabit today and on which we operate our offices across Ontario are traditional territories of Indigenous Peoples. We recognize the history, spirituality, culture and stewardship of the land of Indigenous Peoples. We are grateful to all Indigenous groups for their commitment to protect the land and its resources. We are committed to reconciliation, partnership and enhanced understanding.

Message from the Chair, and (A) President and CEO

We are pleased to share Building a Culture of Belonging: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, the WSIB’s first strategy outlining how we will create meaningful change.

At the WSIB, we have a unique role in making Ontario a safer, healthier and more equitable place to live and work. We are building on global events that touched on important questions of racism and inclusion and are embedding our vision for equity, diversity and inclusion in how we do business.

We know that an equitable, diverse and inclusive organization will improve business outcomes for our employees and the people of Ontario. And as the largest public insurance board in Canada, we have an opportunity to model and grow a more equitable society.

We will look at ways to remove barriers for people seeking our help, and we will be inclusive by design. To achieve those goals, it is important that we listen and respond to the diverse voices of our employees and the people and businesses across the province.

This five-year strategy clearly outlines the path we will take together. Our work will be guided by research, best practices, our employees and our commitment to meet the needs and expectations of the people we serve.

Signature of Elizabeth Witmer

Elizabeth Witmer,

Chair

Signature of Tom Bell

Tom Bell,

(A) President and CEO

 

Strategy at a glance

Aspiration one: we reflect who we serve

Goal

Better understand equity, diversity and inclusion representation and experience internally and externally

Priorities

  • develop systems and benchmark data to collect evidence to inform action, measure impact and report on progress
  • build trust and awareness within the organization to enable the collection of useable data

Aspiration two: we're inclusive by design in every way we work

Goal

Enhance our services to meet the needs of the people we serve

Priorities

  • identify and address gaps in providing inclusive service, beginning with an environmental scan to review how we interact with the people we serve and our organizational capacity to meet their diverse needs
  • identify opportunities to embed diversity and inclusion priorities into public-facing aspects of our work, such as community partnerships

Aspiration three: we all contribute to our inclusive environment

Goal

Build education, awareness and allies

Priorities

  • develop and support leaders to build and demonstrate equity, diversity and inclusion competencies
  • champion, promote and facilitate knowledge of diversity and inclusion values and allyship behaviours

Aspiration four: everyone has the opportunity to reach their potential

Goal

Attract and retain a diverse and inclusive workforce

Priorities

  • apply an equity, diversity and inclusion lens to recruitment and career development
  • identify and remove barriers to career development and performance management practices
  • diversify our leadership composition
  • implement diversity benchmarks for our executive leadership team
  • develop and implement a diversity and inclusion mentorship program

Purpose

The five-year strategy integrates equity, diversity and inclusion principles, practices and measurements into new and existing processes and programs. It aims to cultivate our values of compassion, integrity, helpfulness and trust.

Our approach

Through our 2020 Employee Experience Survey results, we heard that not everyone felt a sense of belonging or the same opportunities to participate in our organization. We reviewed internal diversity data and conducted focus groups with historically underrepresented groups to gain further insights on how to make the WSIB more inclusive. This insight, along with feedback from partners across the organization, was the foundation for this strategy. Our preliminary work included researching best-in-class equity, diversity and inclusion strategies from across the globe.

Our vision for equity, diversity and inclusion

The WSIB has a workplace that is representative of the rich diversity of Ontario. The WSIB will be a place where everyone feels safe, included and respected. We will model equity, diversity and inclusion to businesses across Ontario.

Principle statements

Our principles are key to implementing our equity, diversity and inclusion priorities at the WSIB.

We standup for equity by:

  • identifying, addressing and removing barriers that exist and taking steps to ensure everyone has access to the same opportunities and resources

We cultivate diversity by:

  • welcoming and respecting the rich diversity of our province to have a meaningful impact within our organization and how we serve the people of Ontario

We foster inclusion by:

  • providing a safe and respectful work environment that fosters belonging and feeling welcomed and valued, and encourages all employees to bring their authentic selves to work every day

Our roles

All WSIB employees have a role in executing our vision and principles.

Individual role

Individual

Contribute by engaging in learning and using resources

Team role

Team

Execute on equity, diversity and inclusion in planning and strategy

Organizational role

Organizational

Apply an equity, diversity and inclusion lens to all that we do

External role

External

Demonstrate our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion through engaging in discussion and fostering partnerships

Our workforce data (2021) showed that we had a high percentage of women working in the organization.

Graphic depicting that the workforce was 33 % males, and 67 % females in 2021
Data as of June 15, 2021

The median age of our employees was 43 years old and by the end of 2025, 25 per cent of directors and above will be eligible to retire. We see this as opportunity to plan for and create tangible targets to attract, retain and develop more diverse talent into leadership roles.

Graphic depicting that by the end of 2025, 25 % of directors and above will be eligible to retire
Bar graph showing job level distribution by gender
WSIB workforce data as of June 15, 2021

Although a majority of women work in the organization, we saw a downward trend in the number of women as the job level increased, which became more pronounced in 2021 with leadership changes.

On average, it takes women 2.5 years longer than their male counterparts to advance their career at the WSIB.

Qualitative data gleaned from our focus groups validated this barrier: many participants felt that opportunities for career advancement were inequitable. Additionally, in our 2020 Employee Experience Survey, we ranked seven points below the national norm for employees answering, "All Employees have a fair opportunity to advance in this company" (Willis Towers Watson, Canadian National Benchmark*). This discrepancy was our largest gap in benchmarked responses and the divide is even larger when looking at female versus male responses.

*Comprised of a weighted average of employee survey results from a cross-section of industry sectors for operations clients of Willis Tower Watson located in Canada.

Average years to career advancement
Average years to career advancement

In 2020, we increased our efforts to collect diversity information from our employees. The diversity dimensions data we introduced included gender, Indigenous self-identification, people with disabilities, racial/ethnic identity and sexual orientation.

Within a year of collecting this data, we had a participation rate of 61 per cent among our leaders and 35 per cent overall organizational rate. The latter was not high enough to do a complete analysis of our workforce’s diversity.

Data from leaders’ responses showed that as the job level increased there was a decline in representation of Indigenous persons, people with a disability and racialized persons.

Participation rate in self-identifying diversity dimensions
Participation rate in self-identifying diversity dimensions
Diversity dimensions of WSIB leaders* compared to the Ontario Labour Force
Diversity dimension Ontario Labour Force (2016/2017) WSIB managers WSIB directors WSIB vice presidents and above
Indigenous people 2.5% 2.7% 2.3% 0.0%
People with disabilities 16.7% 3.9% 2.3% 0.0%
LGBTQ2+ people 2.7% 3.3% 3.0% 4.0%
Racialized people 28.3% 17.5.% 23.5% 16.0%
Women 48.3% 64.9% 56.9% 44.0%

* The WSIB diversity dimensions metrics are as of June 15, 2021 and are solely based on the 61 per cent participation rate of leaders.

In 2020, we participated in the Prosperity Project survey that looked at gender diversity at the leadership level across participating Canadian organizations. The results of our Prosperity Project data showed a similar trend: our organization lacked representation of Indigenous women, racialized women and women with disabilities at all levels of senior leadership.

Aspiration one: we reflect who we serve

Why we are doing this

We need clear and robust measures to track our efforts and outcomes, so we continue to break down barriers and support inclusive thinking and behaviours.

Goal

Better understand equity, diversity and inclusion representation and experience internally and externally

Priorities

  • develop systems and benchmark data to collect evidence to inform action, measure impact and report on progress
  • build trust and awareness within the organization to enable the collection of useable data

Over the next five years we will

  • expand how we collect diversity dimensions data, including voluntary collection of this data in the Employee Experience Survey starting in 2021 and as part of the recruitment process
  • create a baseline with quantitative and qualitative data to track and report on our equity, diversity and inclusion efforts

Outcomes

  • self-identification of diversity dimensions among all employees is increased
  • have enough data to better understand who our people are, so we can make informed decisions
  • reported feelings of inclusion and belonging is improved
  • know who we are attracting and hiring, and compare our data with Ontario Labour Force data
A diverse group of people having a discussion at work

"Good data can help to proactively address issues, measure progress and capitalize on opportunities."

Ontario Human Rights Commission, “Count me in: Collecting Human-Rights Based Data,” 2010


Aspiration two: we’re inclusive by design in every way we work

Why we are doing this

To have a better understanding of our customer service and interactions with the public, we must apply an inclusivity lens. This will enable us to deliver programs and services that remain relevant, meaningful and effective for the people we serve.

Goal

Enhance our services to meet the needs of the people we serve

Priorities

  • identify and address gaps in providing inclusive service, beginning with an environmental scan to review how we interact with the people we serve and our organizational capacity to meet their diverse needs
  • identify opportunities to embed diversity and inclusion priorities into public-facing aspects of our work, such as community partnerships

Over the next five years we will

  • using an equity, diversity and inclusion lens, conduct an environmental scan of the services we provide to people and businesses to identify and address any gaps or barriers
  • review our corporate social responsibility efforts to ensure they support equity, diversity and inclusion
  • apply an equity, diversity and inclusion lens to our procurement processes

Outcomes

  • a comprehensive review of services to identify and address gaps is completed
  • equitable sponsorships and corporate social responsibility opportunities are identified
  • procurement practices are reviewed and an inclusivity lens is applied
A blind woman using accessibility features on her phone

Participants repeatedly said that the WSIB needed to do better at embedding equity, diversity and inclusion values in our work environment.

Feedback from the 2020 Employee Experience Survey


Aspiration three: we all contribute to our inclusive environment

Why we are doing this

Our Employee Experience Survey and focus groups conveyed that we still have work to do to build a workplace that gives employees a sense of belonging and safety. We also know that we need to support our leaders to embed the vision for equity, diversity and inclusion into their priorities as they have an important role to play in advancing and modelling a culture of inclusion.

Goal

Build education, awareness and allies

Priorities

  • develop and support leaders to build and demonstrate equity, diversity and inclusion competencies
  • champion, promote and facilitate knowledge of diversity and inclusion values and allyship behaviours

Over the next five years we will

  • continue to provide opportunities for learning through Inclusion Matters speaker events, the equity, diversity and inclusion intranet site and resources for leaders
  • ensure that as we refresh our leadership capability model, we continue to enhance equity, diversity and inclusion competencies
  • embed equity, diversity and inclusion information in development and emerging leaders programs
  • continue to provide unconscious bias training
  • include an equity, diversity and inclusion objective in our leaders’ performance management scorecard
  • embed equity, diversity and inclusion in the Learning and Development Strategy

Outcomes

  • increased equity, diversity and inclusion competencies and knowledge in the organization
  • increased participation in training and learning development opportunities
  • identification of leadership competencies to lead diverse and inclusive teams, with leaders held accountable through the performance management scorecard
A man on a video conference call with a team

"Authentic leaders are a key source of social information that can significantly influence the formation of a climate for inclusion. Authentic leaders can help followers understand the value of individual differences by using their elevated status to seek out opportunities to support and encourage followers to apply their individual differences to improve work processes."

Boekhorst, J. 2015


Aspiration four: everyone has the opportunity to reach their potential

Why we are doing this

Through our data analysis, we have a clear picture of inequitable opportunities and barriers for advancement. This recurring theme from our data sources shows this needs to be a priority within our five-year strategy.

Goal

Attract and retain a diverse and inclusive workforce

Priorities

  • apply an equity, diversity and inclusion lens to recruitment and career development
  • identify and remove barriers to career development and performance management practices
  • diversify our leadership composition
  • implement diversity benchmarks for our executive leadership team
  • develop and implement a diversity and inclusion mentorship program

Over the next five years we will

  • review talent acquisition practices to remove barriers to the recruitment process
  • review career development, leadership pipeline and performance management processes and practices to identify and remove any barriers and increase transparency
  • work with the policy team to apply an equity, diversity and inclusion lens when we create and review policies
  • develop and implement a diversity and inclusion mentoring program
  • apply an equity, diversity and inclusion lens in “moments that matter” to employees (critical career journey)
  • explore targeted summer/co-op student recruitment

Outcomes

  • recruitment and hiring practices are continually updated to ensure our hiring and retention practices are barrier free and transparent
  • underrepresented groups are proactively encouraged to participate in career development, succession and talent pipeline programs
  • senior leadership team is more diverse and demonstrates inclusive practices
  • an equity, diversity and inclusion lens is used when creating and updating policies and programs
  • diversity and inclusion mentoring program is implemented
A woman working on a computer

"Review hiring and promotion practices, keep attention on this issue, consider fairness to all groups."

Feedback from the 2020 Employee Experience Survey

As the implementation of our strategy evolves, we will be flexible and continue to measure, benchmark and create targets to track our progress.

Diversity dimensions and demographic data

Method

Internal demographic and diversity data to help us better understand who our employees are

Result

  • improve diversity dimensions self-identification to 60 per cent by 2023
  • track gender and other diversity dimensions for employees and leadership to increase towards Ontario Labour Force number

Which aspiration this supports

Aspiration one

Employee surveys

Method

Employee Experience Survey, as well as onboarding, exit and pulse surveys to identify feelings of belonging and inclusion

Result

  • include diversity dimensions within our Employee Experience Survey

  • start to track experience with other surveys such as exit and ad-hoc pulse surveys

Which aspiration this supports

Aspiration one, three and four


Learning and development activities

Method

Track completion/participation rates for unconscious bias training, other leadership training and Inclusion Matters speaker events

Result

  • track training completion rates

  • maintain participation rates and interest in Inclusion Matters

Which aspiration this supports

Aspiration three

Focus groups

Method

Experiential data collection from employees in historically underrepresented groups.

Result

Qualitative feedback on strategy progress

Which aspiration this supports

Aspiration one, three and four


Prosperity Project

Method

External annual survey tracking gender and intersectional diversity within senior leadership roles

Result

Track the increase of gender and intersectional diversity in senior leader job levels

Which aspiration this supports

Aspiration one and four

Sponsorships

Method

Review our sponsorships with an inclusivity lens and align with the strategy

Result

Complete review and strategic alignment by 2023

Which aspiration this supports

Aspiration two


Recruitment data

Method

Collection of voluntary diversity data at applicant stage

Result

Implement diversity data for all external hiring and track potential talent

Which aspiration this supports

Aspiration four

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) metrics

Method

Review our CSR metrics to explore linkages between CSR and equity, diversity and inclusion metrics

Result

Complete review and strategic alignment by 2025

Which aspiration this supports

Aspiration two


Customer experience surveys

Method

Surveys to better understand the customer experience

Result

Review of customer experience surveys by 2025

Which aspiration this supports

Aspiration two

 

Glossary of terms

Diversity

Diversity is the range of unique, intersectional backgrounds, perspectives and identities that each of us possess.

Equity

Equity is acknowledging that people have individual needs, recognizing that we do not all have the same starting place and actively taking steps to correct the imbalances.

Inclusion

Inclusion is a choice and an action. It is about actively creating the conditions where all employees feel a sense of belonging and respect, and their unique contributions are valued.

Intersectionality

The concept that social categorizations such as ethnicity, gender and disability can overlap and create systemic discrimination.

References