Canada’s Leading Public Relations Firms Commit to Strategic Actions Against Racism

TORONTO, July 10, 2020 — The Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms (CCPRF) today shared a commitment to six strategic actions that Canadian agencies can take to help eradicate racism, discrimination and inequity, both inside the public relations consulting industry and in its work with clients, stakeholders and society.

The actions, drafted by a CCPRF Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, covers six broad areas to be addressed by each signatory agency in its own customized plan:

  1. Leadership: The anti-racism commitment must start at the top, and the industry’s current leadership ranks are not diverse enough. Leaders and their firms commit themselves to understanding and removing barriers to the recruitment, retention, advancement and experience of professionals from underrepresented backgrounds.
  2. Recruitment: Firms will audit and enhance their recruitment processes to achieve an ongoing, measurable improvement in the representation of Black, Indigenous and people of colour at all levels. They will bring an equity lens to hiring, and work with educational institutions to improve the diversity of the available talent pool.
  3. Training & development: Training for managers and employees must include instruction on how to recognize and eliminate unconscious bias. The firms will create safe spaces for employees from underrepresented backgrounds to share their experiences, and ensure mentoring, support and opportunities for them to showcase their skills and rise to senior leadership roles.
  4. Client work, content & partnerships: Firms will be proactive in advocating that clients invest in greater engagement and communication with people and communities who are under-represented in institutions and organizations with power. They will also ensure diverse, inclusive representation in their content and supplier partnerships.
  5. Social investment & philanthropy: Each firm commits to make equity and anti-racism core elements of its corporate social investment and philanthropy.
  6. Accountability: CCPRF will set clear benchmarks and targets, measure performance, and report on key metrics such as representation and pay equity at all levels.

“This commitment flows from overdue self-reflection, conversations with employees and experts, and a determination for purposeful, sustained and strategic action to advance equity and fight racism,” said Daniel Tisch, CEO of Argyle Public Relationships, who chairs the CCPRF Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. “By bringing competitors together to collaborate to fight racism, we aim to get greater scale, impact and change.”

Thirteen agencies have endorsed the commitment so far (see list below). CCPRF is strongly encouraging others to do so in the months to come, and to participate in industry-wide data collection and accountability.

“CCPRF is sponsoring and endorsing this work because agency leaders can play a powerful role in positive social change by listening more, learning more and doing more to help eradicate discrimination, racism and inequity. Our members are taking a leadership role in our profession.” said Judy Lewis, the Chair of CCPRF and co-founder and partner at Strategic Objectives.

These agencies have endorsed the commitment so far:

Apex PR
Argyle
Broad Reach Communications
Casacom
Citizen Relations
Edelman Canada
Energi PR
FleishmanHillard HighRoad
GCI Canada
Hill + Knowlton Strategies Canada
Media Profile
Paradigm
Proof Strategies
Strategic Objectives
Veritas Communications

The Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms is a national organization of leading public relations consulting agencies operating in Canada.

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 For further Information please contact:

Judy Lewis, Chair of CCPRF, and Co-founder and Partner, Strategic Objectives
judylewis@strategicobjectives.com

Daniel Tisch, Chair of CCPRF Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, and CEO, Argyle Public Relationships
DTisch@argylepr.com