The Mining Association of Canada said Wednesday the commitment hinged on strengthening equity, diversity and inclusion in workplace culture, policies, procedures and practices; confronting conscious and unconscious bias and individual and systemic racism, sexism, ableism and discrimination; increasing representation of underrepresented groups, and collaboration; and enhanced reporting.
Last week the world's largest asset manager, BlackRock, said it would push for more ethnic and gender diversity on the boards and workforces of companies it would invest in next year.
"Racism, sexism and discrimination have no place in the mining industry and as the largest private-sector employer of indigenous peoples in Canada, we recognise that our industry, in particular, has an important role to play in ensuring anti-racist policies are in place to ensure responsible and respectful practices," said MAC chair and IAMGOLD president and CEO Gordon Stothart.
The pledge followed six months of negotiations with MAC members. MAC and its members have put this commitment to ensuring equity, diversity and inclusion are prioritised in Canada's mining sector into a formal statement outlining the actions that had received unanimous support at the association's November board meeting.
"There is a clear role for employers to play in addressing discrimination of all forms," said Carolyn Chisholm, MAC's vice chair and director external affairs at Rio Tinto.
Meanwhile, the MAC's Towards Sustainable Mining initiative is implementing a newly updated standard on indigenous and community relationships that focuses on ensuring management and employees at mine sites are educated on the history of indigenous peoples and receive skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights and anti-racism.
The mining industry contributes C$109 billion to Canada's national GDP and accounts for 19% of Canada's total domestic exports.