African Business Network Gala - Desjardins wins 2009 diversity award



    MONTREAL, May 8 /CNW Telbec/ - At the Vision et inspiration gala held by
the REPAF (Réseau des entrepreneurs et professionnels africains/African
Business Network - www.repaf.org) yesterday, Desjardins Group was named
Entreprise de l'année, championne de la diversité (business of the year in
support of diversity) for its excellent work in promoting diversity.
    Upon receiving the award, Mr. Lionel Gauvin, Vice-President of Business
Development Support for Montréal East at Desjardins, stated, "We are honoured
to receive this recognition from the REPAF. We feel strongly about diversity,
and for Desjardins Group, being named Entreprise de l'année, championne de la
diversité, is a step in the right direction."
    This award is a way for the REPAF to underscore Desjardins Group's
efforts to promote diversity and to encourage other businesses to follow the
example. Desjardins has shown clear leadership in diversity for several years.
Its initiatives related to the issue include:

    
    - An awareness program for recruiters to minimize bias in recruitment
      and selection

    - Online and classroom diversity awareness programs for all employees

    - Training program on inclusive diversity management for officers and
      management employees

    - Discovery days and internships for members of cultural communities

    - Conference bringing together all Desjardins officers and management
      employees to talk about diversity

    - Bursaries awarded to students from various cultural communities

    - Network of contacts and partnership with organizations specialized in
      welcoming and guiding newcomers to facilitate recruitment

    - Partnership with the ministère de l'Immigration et des Communautés
      culturelles and sponsorship of Intercultural Week

    - Financing of the Metropolis Centre, a research consortium specialized
      in immigration

    - Significant representation in several business units - such as the
      AccèsD Telephone Contact Centre and Desjardins Card Services of
      employees who are members of cultural communities.

    REPAF and Desjardins are convinced that preparing people of cultural
communities to hold decision-making positions significantly contributes to
meeting diversity objectives and encourages the full participation of
Quebecers of all backgrounds in the development of our society.
    The REPAF, which has been awarding the Entreprise de l'année, championne
de la diversité prize for two years, is particularly pleased to see that
Desjardins Group, the largest private employer in Québec, takes diversity
seriously. It shows that the successful integration of diversity must move
beyond the wishful thinking stage to concrete decision making. "It is very
encouraging to see a major organization like Desjardins recognize the value of
diversity in society. We fervently hope that Desjardins Group's example will
send a strong message to other businesses," concluded Komlan Messie, President
of the REPAF.

    About the REPAF: The REPAF is a multidisciplinary business network of
African and other professionals and entrepreneurs. It is open to everyone who
supports its objectives, whatever their origins may be. With more than 400
members registered on www.repaf.org, the REPAF aims to be a vehicle of
excellence for entrepreneurship and professionalism; with the mission:

      - To build and improve business networking habits as tools for success
        and added value
      - To develop a network of professionals, entrepreneurs, and leaders
        while increasing their influence
      - To favour their self-development, and to encourage their integration
        in all spheres/sectors of activities
    

    About Desjardins Group

    Desjardins Group is the largest cooperative financial group in Canada,
with overall assets of $152 billion, as at December 31, 2008. It comprises a
network of caisses, credit unions and business centres in Québec and Ontario,
and some twenty subsidiary companies in life and general insurance, securities
brokerage, venture capital and asset management, many of which are active
across the country. Drawing on the expertise of its 42,000 employees and the
commitment of its 6,300 elected officers, Desjardins offers its 5.8 million
individual and corporate members and clients a full range of financial
products and services. Its physical distribution network is complemented by
leading-edge virtual access methods. To find out more, consult
www.desjardins.com.




For further information:

For further information: REPAF: Komlan Messie, President of the REPAF,
(514) 244-6158, info@repaf.org; Desjardins Group: Caroline Phémius,
Communications Advisor, (514) 281-7000 x7646


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