As a diversified management and holding company, we recognize the role we have to play in supporting and respecting the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights. We believe that respecting and protecting human rights is fundamental to creating long-term sustainable value.
As a matter of principle, respect for human rights has always been embedded in our responsible management philosophy as defined by our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and our CSR Statement. Building on this strong foundation of acting responsibly, we became signatories to the United Nations Global Compact, formalizing our commitment to support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights.
Upholding our commitment to respect human rights is the responsibility of our entire Corporation. The Vice-President and General Counsel, our CSR Lead, is responsible for providing oversight on our human rights commitments, as reflected in our CSR Statement.
Human rights are considered during our dealings with business partners and within our own investment analysis process, when relevant. We also collaborate with group companies to share knowledge on human rights management practices and to identify areas of opportunity.
We also engage with the senior management of our group companies, both formally and informally, and as needed, to ensure a proper understanding of how their management teams are addressing human rights when questions or issues arise. In addition to being strongly committed to respecting and supporting human rights, many of our group companies are taking a leadership position on human rights management programs.
In addition, we extend our human rights commitment to third parties that work for/on our behalf, through our Third Party Code.
Monitoring and Review
Our progress on corporate social responsibility, including human rights, is reported annually to the Board through its Governance and Nominating Committee.
Highlights from our Group Companies
Committing to Human Rights
All Great-West Lifeco Board members and employees acknowledge, on an annual basis, their commitment to the company’s code of conduct, which includes human rights aspects. Great-West Lifeco’s annual communication and online training program helps employees increase their level of knowledge about the code and its application in day-to-day business. Advisors and brokers must comply with specialized codes of conduct in all their interactions on behalf of Great-West Lifeco’s companies.
All IGM Financial employees acknowledged their commitment to the company’s code of conduct and respectful workplace policies. IGM Financial’s Corporate Responsibility (CR) statement includes human rights commitments.
Both Great-West Life and IG Wealth Management are signatories of Winnipeg’s Indigenous Accord, committing to fostering a workplace culture in which Indigenous Peoples and all employees can contribute to their fullest potential.
Pargesa and its subsidiary Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL) have both developed a CSR Statement highlighting their support and respect of internationally proclaimed human rights. GBL’s decision, in 2018, to become signatory to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) also aligns with its overall commitment to human rights.
Also a signatory member to the UNGC, Imerys is committed to respecting internationally-recognized human rights, as set out in the International Bill of Human Rights and the ILO’s Fundamental Conventions. As such, Imerys requires that human rights are respected across its operations worldwide. Protocols on prohibition of child labour and forced labour have been in place at Imerys since 2009 and are used as the basis for internal audits.
Imerys also expects its business partners and suppliers to adhere to the same high standards. In fact, Imerys’ Supplier ESG Standards, which were updated in 2018, are primarily based on the 10 UNGC principles. These standards, which must be formally acknowledged and complied with, are applicable to all their suppliers and are considered a prerequisite for doing business with the group.
IGM Financial integrates human rights considerations throughout its investment process. The Investors Summa SRI™ Fund, one of the largest socially responsible investments funds in Canada with close to $400 million in assets under management, invests primarily in companies that have adopted progressive standards and practices towards the environment, human rights and other social issues and does not invest in companies whose revenues are primarily derived from alcohol, tobacco, gambling, pornography or critical weapons systems. Third-party global SRI screening services are used to assist with the evaluation of companies against these socially responsible criteria and to assess suitability for inclusion in the Fund’s investable universe. This approach is appropriate for clients who look for investments consistent with their financial goals and personal values.
Since 2017, Mackenzie Investments has also launched new funds designed to generate long-term competitive returns, while supporting positive environmental, social and governance change.
The Mackenzie Global Sustainability and Impact Balanced Fund provides Canadian investors with a solution that helps their investments have a positive environmental and social impact. The fund selects companies that are willing to engage in or have incorporated strategies aimed at improving ESG practices.
The Mackenzie Global Leadership Impact Fund and Mackenzie Global Leadership Impact ETF provide an opportunity for investors to impact social and governance change through a focus on companies that promote gender diversity and the benefits of women in leadership.
The Mackenzie Global Environmental Equity Fund provides investors a product focused on opportunities in environmental sectors, notably in energy transition from fossil-fuels to renewable power.
The CSR Statements developed by Pargesa and GBL highlight their respective commitment to incorporate ESG considerations, including human rights, into their investment analysis process and active ownership approach.
Canadian Museum for Human Rights
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba was established by an Act of Parliament in 2008 and officially opened its doors in September 2014. The museum’s mandate is to explore the subject of human rights in order to enhance the public’s understanding of human rights, to promote respect for others, and to encourage reflection and dialogue. Through films, interactive digital displays, artifacts and works of art, the Museum inspires visitors with the stories of human rights champions taking action for their rights and the rights of others. Power Financial’s parent company, Power Corporation, and our subsidiaries Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life, as well as IG Wealth Management collectively made a significant commitment to the launch of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.