Advancing DE&I key performance indicators


Why It Matters

Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) is fueled by our purpose and values. It helps shape our culture and drive business success together. As a family nurturing families, we embed DE&I into everything we do. We know that it takes open minds and respect for distinct perspectives to create engaging workplaces, inclusive customer experiences, and strong community partnerships.

Fiscal 2023 Performance Highlights

Corporate store managers

of directors and above, 88% of corporate store managers and 81% of RSC managers completed Cultivating Speak Freely training

Corporate assistant

of corporate assistant store managers and department managers completed Inclusion Starts e-learning

Participants attended

Over 5900 participants attended DE&I education and awareness sessions

Director goals

of directors set DE&I goals

Representation women

representation of women at the senior leadership level in fiscal 2023, a 5% increase over last year

Our Approach

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) are fundamental enablers to our business strategy and approach to innovation.

Research has shown that diverse teams operating in an inclusive environment are more innovative and lead to increased business performance. We also know that to provide exceptional customer experience we need to have an inclusive environment that treats everyone, internally and externally, with fairness and respect.

We embrace diversity and strive to give our teammates equitable access to opportunities. We champion workplace diversity and an inclusive work environment with a focus on attracting, engaging

We embrace diversity and strive to give our teammates equitable access to opportunities. We champion workplace diversity and an inclusive work environment with a focus on attracting, engaging and developing a broad diversity of teammates in order to reflect the communities we serve. We set company-wide DE&I goals to drive progress in these areas. Enabling environments where all teammates feel seen, heard, and welcome is core to who we are, enabling inclusive customer experiences too.

and developing a broad diversity of teammates in order to reflect the communities we serve. We set company-wide DE&I goals to drive progress in these areas. Enabling environments where all teammates feel seen, heard, and welcome is core to who we are, enabling inclusive customer experiences too.

Our holistic approach to DE&I Strategy is grounded in five commitments:

Advance culture inclusion

1. Advance a culture of inclusion

Attractive diversity

2. Attract, grow and retain diversity of teams

Accelerate business

3. Accelerate DE&I into business outcomes to improve equity and better serve customers

Strengthen our communities

4. Strengthen our communities

Measure Progress

5. Measure progress and impact

In fiscal 2023 we made progress against all our DE&I Strategy commitments through a range of initiatives. To ensure DE&I is a focus and priority for all our business and people leaders, we held ourselves accountable to key performance indicators for all leaders and corporate store and retail support centre managers. We continued to offer DE&I-focused learning opportunities for teammates and improved our reporting approach to better track our progress.

To support increasing diversity representation, several initiatives are in place to mitigate bias in hiring processes and expand the diversity of external talent pools with a focus on marginalized groups. We have established strategic employment partnerships with organizations including BlackNorth Initiative, CEDEC (Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation), JVS Toronto, the Indigenous Professional Association of Canada, the Onyx Initiative, Pictou Landing First Nation, and Tent. As an example of our commitment to these partnerships, our President and CEO Michael Medline is on the BlackNorth Initiative Board of Directors. We have also established standards for DE&I with third-party recruitment firms and embedded DE&I into our early career and student hiring programs.

We have taken additional steps to measure our DE&I progress and impact. We set baselines in areas of focus, including gender diversity, and tracked our momentum using hiring and career-advancement data, self-identification data, leader and teammate surveys, DE&I-related training completion rates, and by tracking the number of business processes updated. We shared regular updates on DE&I performance with senior leaders across the business, equipping them with data and insights to inform decisions and actions in their areas of responsibility.

Dei strategy commitments Dei strategy commitments

In addition to our overarching DE&I Strategy, our DE&I commitments are integrated into and enabled by many of our policies, including our Code of Conduct, Respectful Workplace Policy, and Indigenous Commitment Statement. We also operate a comprehensive Open Doors program, which empowers teammates to report workplace issues and concerns related to DE&I and other areas of potential concern. Looking ahead, we are working on new ways to enhance our approach to Indigenous relations and improve supplier diversity.

In fiscal 2024 we are evolving the DE&I Strategy using a comprehensive and collaborative approach grounded in listening and learning from our teams and stakeholders.

Pay Equity

We are committed to providing pay equity for all teammates, regardless of gender, ethnicity or employment type. We conduct gender-based compensation analyses as part of our annual salary review process, reviewing pay differences to consider legitimate factors such as position level, experience, and tenure and to address pay disparities. In addition, we complete gender pay equity analysis and post results, in compliance with provincial pay equity legislation. Pay equity plans were implemented in Quebec in 2001 and in Ontario in 2011 to comply with legislative requirements in those provinces.

A company-wide job evaluation system and merit-based salary structure, providing the same compensation levels to women and men in positions of equal value, was also implemented and has been sustained since November 2015. Since 2021 we have also carried out an annual analysis of performance ratings and merit salary increases granted to women versus men. Wages for frontline retail and warehouse teammates are progressing based on hours worked, ensuring equal treatment for women and men.

In fiscal 2023 we continued to ensure that the salaries of all teammates are market-competitive and equitable considering their experience, skills and contribution. Although this initiative focused on increasing overall internal equity, rather than gender pay equity, the objective and data-driven approach used was instrumental in achieving gender pay equity.

Dei pay equity Dei pay equity


Listening and Learning

In fiscal 2023, we launched a Discussion Lab series where teammates could share their experiences and perspectives on barriers to inclusion. The input we received from over 1,100 teammates will help us strengthen our DE&I Strategy.

Listening and Learning Listening learning

Speak Freely

Last year we launched the Open Doors program, empowering teammates to report workplace issues and concerns in a confidential manner. To enable a culture where everyone can Speak Freely, in fiscal 2023 we developed a comprehensive plan encompassing all relevant business processes and practices. We defined a new framework for inclusive listening, learning and change activation. We also introduced a new 90-minute learning workshop called Cultivating Speak Freely, which is being offered to teammates from across our business. And we took further steps to define an inclusion baseline from which we can measure our progress.

Speak freely Speak freely

Supplier Diversity

Through extensive consultation with supplier diversity partner organizations, supplier partners and key internal stakeholders, we are implementing a strategy to support underrepresented communities and businesses in our supply chain. This work is essential to reflect and support the diverse customers and communities we serve, to drive innovation and growth, and to foster resiliency in our supply chain. Our Supplier Diversity Strategy includes building on the success of our Local Development Program. Read more in Supplier Partnerships.

Supplier diversity Supplier diversity

Fostering Diversity of Teams

Our Diversity of Teams initiative focuses on enhancing diversity at the team level to improve overall performance and on building a strong and diverse pipeline of talent for the future. This initiative has been supported by new hiring and selection practices and strategic partnerships to attract a broad and diverse range of talent. To help achieve this, we are advancing strategic community partnerships across Canada to highlight opportunities for prospective teammates.

Fostering diversity of teams Fostering divesity

Indigenous Relations

We are making progress in the three-year process towards certification as a Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) company under the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. We completed our Phase 1 requirements in November 2022 and are on track to complete Phase 2 requirements in July 2023. We are the only retailer and the largest corporation to pursue the certification.

Indigenous relations Black and indigenous partnership

Tackling Process Bias

In fiscal 2023 we continued to make progress across a range of initiatives designed to address bias in our hiring and career-advancement processes. We partnered with HiredScore to adopt an ethical AI technology that helps mitigate bias in recruitment. We also reviewed existing processes and activated interventions to mitigate bias in key areas of the candidate and teammate experience.

Tackling process bias Tackling process bias


It’s an absolute delight to be part of a team that is so engaged in diversity, equity and inclusion. Our path toward truth and reconciliation is about so much more than just assisting with healthy and affordable food. It’s about listening to the needs of Indigenous communities and determining how we can be the best possible partner to support their prosperity. I look forward to continuing this journey as we work toward Progressive Aboriginal Relations certification.”

Melissa Lee, Director Sales Wholesale West, Sobeys

Melissa Lee
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Learn More

About how we’re making our workplaces and communities more inclusive through our Health, Safety and Wellness work and Community Investment initiatives.

As a family nurturing families, we want to ensure Canadians are taken care of today, tomorrow and in the future. By doing OurPart™ for the environment, we hope to inspire our customers to do theirs. Every step we take together—big or small—can make a difference.

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