After applying for the first time ever, Suncor has been named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers. Call it beginner’s luck, but when we look back on what we’ve accomplished and what’s ahead in our journey to create a respectful and inclusive workplace, we know this recognition is thanks to our collective effort. 

“Being named as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers truly belongs to everyone at Suncor,” says Arlene Strom, chief legal counsel and chair of the Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) Council. “Together we’ve worked hard to listen to each other, step into uncomfortable conversations to learn and grow, challenge our biases, and honestly and empathetically engage and connect with each other – all of which remains a priority and is a critical lever in our transformative goal to make Suncor a great place to work.”  

Charlene Waugh, manager, I&D, says she’s proud of the actions we’ve taken in the past year. Notable highlights in the submission were:  


  • Announced alongside our new purpose, our work calls out creating a respectful and inclusive environment as essential for us to model. 
  • Our I&D Council – made up of 10 senior leaders from across the business – sets and champions our I&D strategy. 
  • All leaders work to complete an Unconscious Bias Foundations course, and inclusive leadership behaviours are embedded in additional leadership training.  

Our employee inclusion networks play a valuable role in fostering a sense of belonging, supporting career development, and engaging employees in learning and networking opportunities and awareness building. To-date we have seven employee inclusion networks and we’re formalizing two more to support our Black employees and employees with disabilities.

Policies and programs 

  • In 2020, we developed and introduced a new Equal Opportunity & Inclusion Policy and supporting Respectful Workplace Standard.
  • Our Parental Leave Top-up Plan supports families of all types – birth and adoptive, all genders – and our parental leave guidebooks for employees and leaders help us achieve best practices for a positive leave experience. 

Awareness building, celebrations and communications 

  • I&D Council members held in-person Inclusion Listening Labs across the company to hear directly from employees and leaders on how Suncor can progress its journey to creating a respectful and inclusive workplace. 
  • We held three company-wide calls to talk about racism and discrimination, in addition to inviting external speakers to help bring awareness on different topics. 
  • With the help from our employee inclusion networks, we continue to celebrate may different diversity days throughout the year.  

Our partnerships with various external organizations and attendance by both employees and leaders at conferences help us connect and learn from others. 

“Receiving this recognition truly is an honour – it helps us look back on what we’ve accomplished while keeping us focused on the work ahead,” says Charlene. “We’re a large company located in many different geographies with a diverse employee community, and to say it will take all of us to keep making progress is an understatement.” 

There’s no question that 2021 will continue to bring more change and there is a lot that leaders and employees are facing. Through it all, it remains important that we continue to progress our journey to create a respectful and inclusive workplace as, ultimately, it helps us care for each other.