Because we want a society with zero barriers.
Each year, BMO Financial Group employees don capes in support of Holland Bloorview’s Capes for Kids campaign. It was no surprise when BMO signed the Dear Everybody Agreement pledging to include more people with disabilities in their advertising. A natural fit aligned to their inclusive culture, this was just another building block in their long-standing partnership with the hospital.
For this financial institution, a culture of diversity and inclusion is foundational to what makes them a leader in authentic representation within the community.
Catherine Roche, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Social Impact at BMO Financial Group, explains why a campaign like Dear Everybody is important – and why BMO lends its support.
- What is BMO’s relationship to Holland Bloorview and how did that come about?
We recently worked together on a multi-year funding pledge commitment to support the BMO Endowment for Teaching and Learning, and are currently embarking on a new 10-year pledge collaboration in support of critical ongoing research. Over the years, several BMO senior leaders have served on the hospital’s Board of Trustees and the Foundation Board, and I currently have the honor of being a member of the Board of Trustees.
- Why did BMO sign the agreement?
We take great pride in our culture of inclusion and diversity and our role in challenging the status quo and creating a society with zero barriers where everybody belongs. We’ve just been recognized as a top employer for people with disabilities for a fifth year in a row and also named among the best places to work. Our support of the campaign is a meaningful example of how our purpose of growing the good applies to business and life.
- How is BMO getting involved?
We’re proud of our early support of the Dear Everybody agreement. Representing disabilities through our messaging and visuals is making our advertising representative of all Canadians.
- How have you and how do you plan to incorporate authentic representation of people with disabilities in your ads?
The fair representation of disability is a lens that we’ve been applying to our messaging and advertising as a way of business – since before signing the agreement. Our marketing team has been producing ads inclusive of disabilities to be representative of our customers, communities and colleagues.
- What significant impact have you noticed?
We know that building an inclusive society starts with celebrating diversity and promoting inclusion. An inclusive society is one where there are zero barriers for people to reach their full potential. Over time, as more advertisers are inclusive of disabilities, the media landscape will become more reflective of society. Each and every step gets us closer to building an inclusive society.
- Why are campaigns like Dear Everybody important?
Campaigns like this are important because they raise awareness and educate others on the representation gaps that exist. They also provide an avenue for brands to engage and lead by example. While 22% of Canadians live with a disability, their reality is not sufficiently captured in ads, movies or on TV. By generating more inclusive messaging and advertising, brands and companies can make a difference towards a more diverse representation