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CIBC & Scotiabank Tops DEI Programs in Canadian Banks

An independent study was done with the latest in AI for brand insights, askpolly, analyzed the public perceptions of DEI programs across a number of programs. Check out how the Big 5 ranked!

In the vibrant mosaic of today’s corporate world, cultivating a culture rich in diversity and inclusivity is not just a noble goal—it's a vital one. But let’s face it, creating and nurturing such an environment is a challenging endeavor that goes beyond mere declarations of intent. It's about weaving the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into the very fabric of a company's identity, where they manifest in the experiences of employees and resonate in the perceptions of customers.

To transform the abstract into the measurable, we engaged the AI Polly™. Polly isn't just any AI; she’s a digital maestro, orchestrating a symphony of data from online sources to provide insightful, cost-effective analyses of how companies truly fare in any initiative.

Imagine this: Polly can effortlessly gather representative samples from a diverse pool of customers, employees, and citizens, offering a real-time barometer of a company’s DEI pulse. She does this with remarkable efficiency and precision, diving into the digital ocean to fetch pearls of truth about a company’s DEI performance.

But here’s the twist: ASI, the innovative company behind Polly, operates independently. We don’t seek endorsements or permissions from the companies we study. Our AI-powered research is self-sustained, fueled by minimal costs and an abundance of publicly available data, and backed by rigorous statistical validation.

Polly’s credentials? Nothing short of stellar. Her analytical prowess is trusted by entities like Health Canada and Genome Canada for critical decision-making. She's been in the limelight of The National Academy of Sciences and IEEE, with her work scrutinized and validated in Springer Verlag—the same academic journal that once published the works of Einstein.


With this formidable tool at its disposal, ASI set out to rank the top 5 Canadian banks based on their DEI initiatives. The study, spanning a year from November 16, 2022, to November 16, 2023, involved an impressive 77,763 individual respondents discussing DEI in the context of Canadian banking.  The first report ranking each of the banks can be seen here.  Here is how each of the banks ranked:

The results were eye-opening. Polly didn’t just rank the banks; she delved into the nuances of each post, unearthing why certain banks, like CIBC, stood out significantly from their peers. Among the tens of thousands of voices, over 35,000 lauded CIBC for its expansive DEI efforts—spanning awards, scholarships, mentorship, and inclusive culture training for employees.

Polly identified 23 distinct DEI programs across the banks. We zoomed in on CIBC and runner-up Scotiabank, comparing their performance in each category. The findings were revealing: both banks excelled in visible initiatives like awards and mentorship but showed room for growth in areas like board and management representation—a change that requires nurturing leadership diversity over time.  Here is a chart showing each of the categories and their rankings for both CIBC and Scotiabank.

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The graph gives a detailed snapshot of corporate commitment at these two banks. Both CIBC and Scotiabank score the highest engagement on outward-facing initiatives such as awards, mentorship and training and for both, their dedication to fostering equity and diversity within their hiring practices shines through.  CIBC emerges as a trailblazer for its exceptional mentorship of foreign-trained professionals and for its outreach into secondary schools, helping young BIPOC secondary school students set and achieve high goals for themselves. Meanwhile, Scotiabank garners accolades for its vibrant tapestry of sponsorships, from local community awards to prestigious national recognitions like the National Gallery of Canada New Generation Photography Award and the YMCA Women of Distinction Awards.  Additionally, Canadians credit Scotiabank with being the only one among the top 5 national banks to make strides in transcultural communication through its “Hockey for All” program. The graph shown here was constructed by combining the results of two separate but identical queries, one for CIBC and another for Scotiabank.


Notably, both banks were also proactive in extending their DEI values to their suppliers, reflecting a holistic approach to inclusivity. However, they scored lower in 'measurable change,' suggesting a need for better tracking and communication of their DEI successes, and avoiding the pitfalls of 'DEI-washing'—a veneer of change without substantial progress.


Our accolades go to CIBC and Scotiabank for their strides in championing DEI. As our society flourishes in diversity, their efforts remind us of the power and necessity of nurturing an environment where everyone can achieve their fullest potential.

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