Lessons in diversity prime businesses to thrive in the upturn: Ernst & Young

Firm named among Best Diversity Employers in Canada

TORONTO, March 23 /CNW/ - As the economy slowly gains momentum, prioritizing diversity is imperative if companies hope to capitalize on the upturn, says Ernst & Young, one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers for 2010.

"One of the lessons learned from the changing economy over the past year or two is that diversity is actually a tool for strengthening your business," says Fiona Macfarlane, Ernst & Young's People Leader in Canada. "A collaboration of different perspectives and points of view enables business leaders to challenge the old ways of thinking and drive the innovation that is going to propel us into the new economy."

Macfarlane says businesses that continued to promote inclusiveness and diversity through the downturn are now at a great advantage as economic conditions continue to improve.

"There is growth potential right now, but businesses can only capitalize on this upturn if they equip themselves with strong people," says Macfarlane. "Companies hoping to attract and keep the best talent need to listen to and learn from their employees. This can best be achieved in a culture of inclusiveness."

A commitment to inclusiveness fuels Ernst & Young's diversity efforts. The firm has established many initiatives to address the different and changing needs of its people. These include an ethnic diversity task force with local committee chairs in regional offices, an affinity group for employees new to Canada and a gender equity advisory group, targeted mentoring programs, and networking groups for the firm's women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender employees and allies. The firm's national director of inclusiveness oversees these activities.

Beyond the obvious benefits to the bottom line, cultivating diversity lends itself to a more positive workplace for employees. For Ernst & Young, meeting the divergent needs of its people has been a valuable tool for attracting - and retaining - excellent employees.

This is the third consecutive year that Ernst & Young has made this list. Other recent awards include the following:

    -   Canada's Top 100 Employers 2010
    -   Best Workplaces in Canada 2009
    -   Canada's Top Campus Employers 2009
    -   Progressive Employer of Canada 2009
    -   Alberta's Best Workplaces 2010 (multiple category winner)

About Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 144,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.

For more information, please visit ey.com/ca

Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients.

The Ernst & Young organization is divided into five geographic areas and firms may be members of the following entities: Ernst & Young Americas LLC, Ernst & Young EMEIA Limited, Ernst & Young Far East Area Limited and Ernst & Young Oceania Limited. These entities do not provide services to clients.

SOURCE EY (Ernst & Young)

For further information: For further information: Samantha Goldsilver, samantha.goldsilver@ca.ey.com, (416) 943-3458; Brooke Morris, brooke.morris@ca.ey.com, (604) 899-3597; Marie-Ève Graniero, marie-eve.graniero@ca.ey.com, (514) 874-4313

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