Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on the agenda at CCBC

The event delved into the significance of ethnic inclusion and its impact on society and the job market, along with advances in gender equality

By Deborah Oliveira

In late November, the Chamber of Commerce Brazilian-Canadian (CCBC) organized the second edition of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Forum, fostering a profound reflection on two pivotal themes for society, governments, and the corporate environment: ethnic inclusion and diversity and their impact on the workforce, as well as the inspiring power of women and progress in the fifth UN Sustainable Development Goal.                                        

Ronaldo Ramos, CCBC President, inaugurated the event, featuring the participation of Kamal Khera, Canada’s Minister of Diversity, Inclusion, and Persons with Disabilities, Caroline Charette, Consul General of Canada in Brazil, Marcia Nejaim, representative of the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency – APEX Brazil Southeast Region, and Esther Nunes, coordinator of CCBC’s diversity and inclusion committee.

“This is a unique opportunity to analyze how ethnic diversity enriches the social fabric and positively influences our professional practices. In addition, the event highlights the inspiring power of women, and celebrates not only their achievements, but challenges us to actively support the path towards gender equality, aligning ourselves with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals,” remarked Ramos.                                                                                                               

Esther Nunes (right) is coordinator of the CCBC Diversity and Inclusion Committee

During the event, Ramos signed the gender equity commitment letter with APEX Brazil, of which 20 institutions are already signatories. He also recalled CCBC’s 2021 signing of the public commitment to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a set of principles guiding companies on promoting gender equality and empowerment, led by Eleonora Coelho, then president of CCBC’s Center for Arbitration and Mediation. As a result of these actions, CCBC was honored with the Paulista Diversity Seal in 2022.

Marcia Nejaim of APEX Brazil Southeast Region spoke about the creation of the Women in International Business program, aiming to increase the participation of companies led by women in APEX’s portfolio and international trade. “Our commitment is to adopt best practices in day-to-day business with clients, partners, and suppliers, as well as the cooperation and determination that leadership positions observe gender parity. There are many challenges, and we need to look across the board in order to build a more inclusive agenda,” she stated.

Caroline Charrete recalled the partnership between the consulate and CCBC for diversity and inclusion. “These are fundamental values for Canada and the economic agenda reflects the conviction that they are necessary for the formation of an inclusive and egalitarian society. Brazil and Canada, together, can work for the future and business growth by sharing these values,” she pointed out.

Diversity is a fact, but inclusion is a choice

Canada’s Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities, Kamal Khera, emphasized Canada’s commitment to diversity and inclusion through investments in federal initiatives addressing systemic racism in the corporate world and financial sectors. Since 2019, the Government of Canada has invested over $200 million in Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, as well as over $600 million in initiatives focused on supporting black communities, in areas such as entrepreneurship, philanthropy and skill development.

Kamal Khera and Caroline Charete: distinguished presences in favor of dialogue and sharing of ideas between nations

During her presentation, Kamal Khera congratulated CCBC on its 50th anniversary and its commitment to strengthening bilateral relations between Brazil and Canada. The minister pointed out the similarities between the two countries, both with populations of diverse origins, which favors the promotion of inclusive business practices. She pointed out that the North American country’s economic, social and cultural successes are largely due to its ability to bring together diverse profiles and leverage multiple perspectives and skills.

Thanks to this, small and medium-sized businesses are now considered the engine of the Canadian economy. “Every day, small and medium-sized enterprises make our communities more vibrant and drive the Canadian economy. I often say that in Canada diversity is a fact, but inclusion is a choice,” emphasized Kamal Khera.

Among the programs adopted by the Canadian government since the beginning of its term are the Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat and the 50/30 challenge, where companies commit to gender parity in senior and leadership positions and a representation of at least 30% of other diverse groups.

“We already have 25 organizations across Canada participating in this project. It’s a project that needs to involve all sectors of society to increase opportunities for all people and the partnership between Brazil and Canada, like the recent meeting I had with Brazil’s Minister of Racial Equality, Anielle Franco, is an opportunity for future projects between the two countries,” she reflected.

Caroline Charette, Consul General of Canada in Brazil, Ronaldo Ramos (CCBC) and Kamal Khera, Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities of Canada

Check out some photos from the 2nd edition of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Forum below:


Access the complete photo gallery on the CCBC website. Click Here!