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Embracing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Pays Off!

Diversity is a reality. Inclusion is a choice and a management responsibility.

That’s why Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, a Quebec-based firm specializing in assurance, tax, consulting, business recovery and reorganization, is increasingly promoting an inclusive culture in its work environment to recognize all its employees as an important part of a diverse workforce, regardless of gender expression or identity, or sexual orientation.

We spoke with Christine Regimbal and Gautier Péchadre, two members of the LGBTQ community, to see how this is being put into practice at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton.

In 2019, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton undertook an important initiative to look at diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias. The exercise resulted in the appointment of Christine Regimbal, a firm partner for 20 years and member of the Partnership Board, as Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In her role, she promotes diversity and inclusion so that all employees can reach their full potential at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton.

“We had been discussing this for some time in the Partnership Board. On the one hand, we wanted to move towards greater gender parity among partners and, on the other, to include diversity in its broadest sense and also make room for inclusion in decision-making. This became a standing item that was discussed at each meeting to follow up on the actions to be taken.”

Christine’s first mandate was to set up a cross-disciplinary committee of partners and employees from all regions in Québec that reflects inclusion and diversity in its ranks (gender, cultural communities, LGBTQ community, people with physical limitations, etc.). “The goal was to set clear, achievable and measurable objectives that would have a positive impact on employees, the future and the firm’s sustainability.”

Christine herself states it in a short YouTube corporate video, where she is seen with her wife on their wedding day. “Over the years, the firm’s mentality, like society’s, has evolved significantly.” The video was part of a “Being Proud Together” series broadcast in 2020-2021 that features employees in the LGBTQ community and its allies.

Gautier Péchadre has been representing Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton with Pride at Work/Fierté au travail for two years. He is also involved in the GRIS-Montréal campaign committee. He is proud to have been able to raise donations from his colleagues totaling more than $10,000 for the organization.

“Since the firm will be supporting the upcoming 2022-2023 campaign, I’m confident that I’ll be able to exceed that amount next year. I wish there had been an organization like GRIS in my school when I was 12 years old and discovering my sexuality. The work that GRIS does is incredible. Thanks to GRIS, every year, thousands of young people benefit from workshops that demystify sexual and gender diversity. Also, thanks to GRIS, many dozens of young people finally don’t feel so ‘different’ and understand that they can be themselves!”

Until recently, only regular employees with one year of continuous service at the time of going on maternity leave of 15 to 18 weeks were eligible for the Supplementary Parental Insurance Benefit (SPIB). This has changed: the SPIB is now available to all new parents, regardless of who they are. Since June 1, 2022, parents who want to adopt or foster a child, use a surrogate mother or are not biological parents are now included in the SPIB and can take or share a parental leave. Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton offers up to 23 weeks to all employees who become parents, biological or not, regardless of the type of leave they wish to take.

Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s SPIB sets it apart from the competition and is a source of pride for both Christine and Gautier.

Gautier says, “I believe that the firm is increasingly embracing the values of diversity, equity and inclusion that are important to employees.” Christine adds, “At Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, we walk the talk, we’re leading the way. We have enviable working conditions and are among the industry leaders.”