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Best Workplaces 2012: Best Workplace for Diversity


May 1, 2012

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Illustration Michael Byers

KPMG KNOWS that fostering a diverse workforce requires an active approach. It means training workers, reaching out to the community and constantly striving towards inclusiveness. And KPMG, an auditing and tax services company, will certainly go out of its way for employees. When the Conservative government made amendments to the Accounting Professions Act in 2009, KPMG’s national director of diversity, Michael Bach, spoke to a standing committee about the bill. He voiced concerns that it inadvertently created hurdles for new Canadians in the accounting profession.

It’s no big surprise Bach made the speech, considering that 24 per cent of KPMG’s hires in 2011 were new Canadians. Few companies make such a comprehensive effort to include people not just of all ethnicities but also of all sexual orientations, religions and genders. “It works for everybody,” says Don Matthew, KPMG’s managing partner in Edmonton. “What I like about our diversity program is that it’s all-encompassing.”

The firm also donates to a number of clubs, associations and networking events so that new employees can integrate easily into the company. That will be the key to retaining employees in Alberta’s upcoming labour crunch, Matthew says. “The door on the opportunity is closed if we don’t have a robust diversity culture.”

Workplace Reflection Rooms
KPMG’s Alberta offices are equipped with a discreet, windowless room where employees of any religious inclination can meditate or pray.

LGBT Giving Network
KPMG sponsored the Giving Network in 2011, a Toronto conference for people of various sexual orientations. Employees can attend the conference for free.

National Onboarding Program
The program was put in place to give new Canadians a smooth transition into the workforce. It provides immigrants with a series of cultural networking events to encourage kinship among people of similar ethnic backgrounds.

International Clubs
KPMG is involved with numerous international support groups, including the East Asian Network (EAN), the Chinese Culture Centre and the Jewish Network, which is widely attended around Hanukkah.

Diversity Training Program
This program is meant to kick-start an “entire cultural shift.” All employees take the program before they start working for KPMG. It teaches participants about various cultural sensitivities while they answer a series of ongoing questions.

Women in Capital Markets
KPMG is an avid supporter of women in the workplace. Through its joint membership with the WIN program in Toronto, KPMG takes part in all Women in Capital Market events and sits on the CEO roundtable.


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