Vancity earns SFU highest honour for diversity

Also earns Community Partner Award for Inclusive Workplace from
BC Centre for Ability

For immediate release -- September 25, 2013

Vancouver, B.C. - Vancity was recognized today at the 2013 SFU Nancy McKinstry Awards for Leadership in Diversity with its highest honour—the Corporate Diversity Award. This annual award recognizes one organization that excels in the area of diversity and demonstrates leadership.

“We appreciate this recognition and this opportunity to highlight the importance of diversity,” said Ellen Pekeles, senior vice president, Operations, at Vancity. “We often say that when we look at things from a diversity angle, we see a lot more. When we support and understand each other, our communities grow stronger. And when as an organization we reflect the communities around us, we’re better able to serve. It just makes good business sense.”

The judges said Vancity’s core initiatives demonstrate leadership that should act as a benchmark in British Columbia and across Canada. They chose Vancity because inclusion has been part of the credit union’s mandate since its inception and it has maintained and increased efforts throughout the years. Formed in 1946 to make it easier for ordinary citizens to build wealth, Vancity has continued to achieve many diversity-related firsts since then:

  • First Canadian financial institution to provide mortgages to people living east of Cambie Street, the “working class” side of town (1946)
  • First Canadian financial institution to lend to women without a male co-signor (early 1960s)
  • First Canadian financial institution to market to the gay and lesbian community through mainstream advertising (2002)

The judges also noted the credit union’s current Workplace Accessibility and Review Mapping (WARM) project as a prime example of taking accessibility to the next level. WARM is a multi-year accessibility audit that reviews and makes improvements to ensure an environment of accessibility at Vancity. This includes physical improvements such as installing induction loops (assistive technology for those who use hearing aids) in most branches, as well as how the credit union runs its day-to-day operations, including recruitment processes.

Vancity was also honoured this week by the BC Centre for Ability, which every year acknowledges outstanding community partners for their commitment or innovations to promote inclusive practices in our communities. Vancity received the Community Partner Award for Inclusive Workplace at the BC Centre for Ability’s annual general meeting on September 24.


About Vancity

Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its more than 492,000 member-owners and their communities through 57 branches in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria and Squamish. As Canada’s largest community credit union, Vancity uses its $17.1 billion in assets to help improve the financial wellbeing of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy, sustainable communities. Member deposits enable the credit union to loan to other members, businesses and organizations that are creating positive economic, social and environmental impact in their communities. Vancity is a Living Wage employer and a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, a network of the world’s leading sustainable banks sharing a commitment to achieving triple-bottom-line impact through responsible banking practices.

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