Our Approach

We believe in building teams that bring diverse thoughts, experiences and perspectives to the table. We are committed to making diversity, equity and inclusion part of everything we do, at every level of our organization. This commitment comes to life in our people-powered values and is realized in our actions and community relationships.

On our journey to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive work environment, we know there will always be more we can do. We create safe spaces within our organization for teammates to speak up and share their point of view. Our approach to diversity, equity and inclusion is all about continuous improvement, listening and actioning tangible solutions for our business and the communities we serve.

To oversee our progress against these commitments, we have a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council made up of leaders from across the company, and a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Executive Committee led by our President & CEO.


Progress Highlights

We’ve made great progress against our strategy to listen, learn and take action. Here are some highlights:


Accelerate DE&I in business outcomes to improve equity and better serve customers



of full service grocery frontline teammates completed “Serving all of Canada, Preventing Racial Profiling” training.


Increase women representation



women representation at the senior management level (senior vice president and vice president), representing a year-over-year growth rate of 6%.


Strengthen inclusive leadership



As a first step in our training plan, more than 600 offices, RSCs, stores and franchisees leaders have attended inclusion training.

To view our fiscal year 2021 sustainability metrics

Click Here
Our Approach How we are making a difference
Inclusion Our Approach Advance a culture of inclusion:

Ensuring that inclusion and equity are core to Empire’s workplace culture is foundational for diverse teams to thrive. This means building the organization as an open and trusting place for healthy dialogue and addressing the systemic inequities impeding a fair and equitable workplace.

The focus this past year has been to activate a leadership capability program starting with inclusion training, and a robust education and awareness program for teammates on a broad range of important topics including anti-racism, allyship and our stance on equity and inclusion. We’ve implemented several initiatives to support an inclusive environment including an expanded teammate listening series to provide feedback and contribute to solutions, an Open Doors program providing teammates with multiple pathways for feedback, and continued engagement of the Women’s Inclusion Network launched in 2019 with more than 1,000 teammates participating across the country.

We continue to review processes to ensure a fair, equitable and inclusive approach in the hiring, development and advancement of talent, and monitor teammate feedback on equity and inclusion through a DE&I index included in the Employee Experience survey.

How we are making a difference
  • Leadership inclusion education and awareness training completed by more than 600 leaders across the business.
  • Launched an “Open Doors” program to provide teammates with multiple pathways to share their feedback on DE&I.
  • Women’s Inclusion Network in its second year, now has more than 1,000 teammates engaged.
Diversity Our Approach Attract, grow and retain diversity of teams:

Tapping into the best talent from a broad and diverse talent pool is fundamental to building high performance teams. This means identifying opportunities to broaden team diversity and supporting the advancement and development of a broad and diverse talent pool.

Several talent initiatives are in support of this effort including embedding in talent acquisition, senior management succession, store management trainee and internship programs, employee experience, onboarding and exit surveys, and talent development processes. To support the growth of diverse talent pools, we are progressing with the development of a mentorship program in partnership with the BlackNorth Initiative and are a signatory to the BlackNorth Initiative Pledge.

In order to identify opportunities to increase representation, we actively engage full-time teammates to voluntarily participate in diversity self-identification to better understand the number and proportion of individuals as belonging to one or more of the designated groups. This information will be provided to support leaders with decision-making to broaden team diversity, and to create talent acquisition solutions and strategic partnerships to broaden the diversity of external talent pools. Third-party talent acquisition firms who support us with recruitment will also be required to provide diverse talent slates.

We’ll continue to ensure diversity is considered in our talent programs, and to support the attraction, advancement and retention of a diverse talent pool through all levels of the organization.

How we are making a difference
  • 20% executive officers are women, and 30% executive officers are visible minorities.
  • The executive leadership committee representation of women is approximately 31% and 25% are visible minorities.
  • Over the last year, the senior management group (senior vice president and vice president) has increased to approximately 34% women, representing a growth rate of 6%, and director level representation has increased to approximately 37% women, representing a growth rate of 8%. Of this group, 11% represent visible minorities and 1% represent Indigenous Peoples.
Equity Our Approach Accelerate DE&I in business outcomes to improve equity and better serve customers:

We recognize the importance of embedding DE&I into everything we do, including business outcomes. Examples have included front-line training for teammates to provide inclusive customer experiences, the rollout of Sensory Friendly Shopping (inclusive shopping experiences for neurodivergent customers), and the commitment and pledge to the Holland Bloorview “Dear Everybody” campaign, ensuring marketing and advertising materials are more inclusive and representative of persons with disabilities. Recognizing we have an important role to play to advance DE&I with supplier partners, we will continue to progress plans in this area, including partnerships with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Businesses and the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council.

How we are making a difference
  • Leveraging industry leading resources from Retail Council of Canada, we launched Serving All of Canada: Preventing Racial Profiling training to the retail store operations. The training was completed by over 82% of Full Serve Retail stores and a coaching tool has been piloted to provide additional support to Store Mangers for continued dialogue and discussion on the importance of preventing racial profiling.
  • Build awareness of multicultural offerings in our stores, and continue expansion of our authentic sourcing, including supporting key cultural dates with culturally relevant marketing. We are reflecting diverse Canadians in our advertising, and increasing our investments in multicultural marketing initiatives which is important to our customers from different cultures.
communal-strength-icon Our Approach Strengthen our communities:

We have a far-reaching role within and across the 900 communities in Canada we serve and an important role to play in partnering with Black, Indigenous and other marginalized groups to help build solutions to addressing pervasive social issues aligned with our purpose. Critical areas include early interventions of child and youth mental health, and removing barriers for more Canadians to access healthy and affordable food. A key partnership in this journey includes the BlackNorth Initiative. We’ll continue to seek out new partnerships within the Indigenous community to identify resources, support and employment opportunities.

How we are making a difference
  • We take part in community and industry groups to advance support among the business community across Canada. Some of these partnerships include: the BlackNorth Initiative, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council, Catalyst, Holland Bloorview Dear Everybody, Pride at Work Canada, and the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion.
progress Our Approach Measuring progress and impact:

We recognize that measuring and monitoring DE&I efforts will be critical to ensure success. We’ve established a Key Performance Indicator (“KPI”) for DE&I, which is included in our fiscal year 2022 Profit Sharing Plan. The KPI measures progress against key strategic deliverables across the five commitments, and engages leaders and teammates to take an active role in DE&I, through participation in relevant education and skill building, and for leaders, by setting a performance goal to advance DE&I across our business. The KPI will enable accelerated focus in fiscal year 2022, with the opportunity to continue to evolve in future years.

How we are making a difference
  • We continue to monitor progress with gender diversity, while setting a baseline for broader identity diversity, through increased self-identification for employees and applicants.
  • Further metrics for success will be reported as the team continues to execute on our DE&I action plan.
Learn more about how we’re making our workplaces and communities more inclusive through our Health, Safety and Wellbeing work and Community Engagement initiatives. Learn more about how we’re making our workplaces and communities more inclusive through our Health, Safety and Wellbeing work and Community Engagement initiatives.
People Info

Learn more about how we’re making our workplaces and communities more inclusive through our Health, Safety and Wellbeing work and Community Engagement initiatives.