News release

Celebrating Positive Strides Towards Workplace Gender Equity and Diversity

Business and innovation | March 7, 2022

Today, the advancement of gender equity and diversity in the workplace was highlighted and celebrated with the first annual report of the Equity and Diversity Collaborative (EDC) Canada. Mayor Bonnie Crombie joined the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) along with the City’s Economic Development Office to celebrate the accomplishments of the EDC in its inaugural year.

The EDC is a first-of-its-kind initiative in Canada. It launched in February of 2021 and brings together health care and life sciences companies dedicated to advancing gender equity and diversity in the workplace.

“As Mayor of one of the most diverse cities in Canada, I’m very pleased we are partnering with HBA to advance the goals of equity and diversity in workplaces across Mississauga,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “The EDC has made significant progress this year, with companies connecting with one another, sharing best practices and laying the groundwork for the future. But there is always more work to be done. I look forward to our continued partnership as we work to ensure Mississauga is a national leader when it comes to equity and diversity in our workplaces.”

The EDC 2021 Annual Report details activities and accomplishments from EDC’s first year, highlights of which include:

  • delivery of educational content on equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace
  • diversification of members’ recruitment channels resulting from facilitated connections with new partners
  • co-created core priorities for improvement across recruitment, hiring and promotion practices and solutions for efficient implementation and impact

“Based on HBA’s previous successes with initiatives like the Gender Parity Collaborative, we were confident that bringing the EDC model to Canada would create a significant impact,” said Danielle Portnik, Regional Chair, HBA Canada. “Our teams at HBA Canada and Mississauga’s Economic Development Office are incredibly proud of the Collaborative’s progress in 2021 and eager to enable continued impact in 2022.”

With a solid foundation in place, the EDC is committed to continuous improvement. Goals for 2022 include:

  • EDC, which currently represents more than 4,300 employees, will welcome some new members in 2022, broadening their reach. (Announcement of new members coming soon)
  • Recognizing gaps in companies’ ability to report on demographic data and the need for strategic alignment across the life sciences sector. This year the EDC will be doubling down its efforts to focus on equity, diversity and inclusion strategy and data collection.

“As an innovation-based biopharmaceutical company, we believe inclusion and diversity are fundamental to delivering our purpose – because innovation requires breakthrough ideas that only come from a diverse workforce empowered to challenge conventional thinking and find new ways to solve challenges,” said Gena Restivo, VP of HR, Communications & Sustainability at AstraZeneca Canada. “We are proud to partner with other Mississauga life sciences companies to share best practices and learn how we can continue to accelerate diversity, equity and inclusion across our teams and continue to create safe-spaces where everyone feels valued, heard and empowered.”

The EDC is committed to leading by example, continually looking at how to take action. With a mission to accelerate change, they are aligned to the Government of Canada’s 50 – 30 challenge. Working to achieve 50 per cent gender parity and 30 per cent significant representation of other under-represented groups including racialized persons, people living with disabilities, Aboriginal and Indigenous Peoples and members of the LGBTQ2+ community; seeing them with a seat at the table and in senior leadership roles and/or on Canadian Boards.

“Research has shown that a diverse workforce has broader positive societal impacts that in turn, lead to greater economic growth. A focus on equity and diversity benefits everyone and the best way we can make a difference is by uniting to advance our efforts,” said Bonnie Brown, Director, Economic Development. “The EDC’s approach has enabled cross-company learning and collaboration, which has proven to be a great benefit for all involved.”

Learn more about the work of Mississauga’s EDC.


About the City of Mississauga’s Life Sciences Sector:
Mississauga is a connected ecosystem that cultivates and nurtures commercialization of life sciences innovations: a proven destination where diverse companies and exceptional talent grow, succeed and prosper. Mississauga is a leading Canadian life sciences hub with over 470 life sciences companies employing over 25,000 people. Guided by the Mississauga Life Sciences Cluster Strategy and in collaboration with the industry, Mississauga champions the life sciences sector through strong advocacy, a focus on talent and workforce development, and facilitation of business connections that lead to better business opportunities and results for its companies. For more information, please visit Mississauga Life Sciences.

About the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) Canada:

The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) Canada is affiliated with the global not-for-profit Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association organization, dedicated to furthering the advancement and impact of women in the business of healthcare. With over 70 locations throughout the world, the HBA serves a community of more than 70,000 individuals and 175 corporate partners. The organization provides networking forums to build relationships; access to industry thought leaders to broaden perspective; and educational programs to develop leadership skills. In 2018, the HBA founded the Gender Parity Collaborative. This award-winning consortium of 15 global leading healthcare and life-sciences companies is accelerating gender equality and diversity by fostering and adopting systemic changes in the industry workplace.  For more information, please visit HBA Canada.

Cover of the Equity and Diversity Collaborative Annual 2021 Annual Report


Media Contact:
City of Mississauga Media Relations
905-615-3200, ext. 5232
TTY: 905-896-5151