Categories: Global CSRTags:

Author: Carmen Adamson

In 2014 the Canadian government made clear the expectation for companies to strengthen their CSR practices with their enhanced Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy “Doing Business the Canadian Way”. This strategy builds on the best practices first launched in 2009. Although this strategy focused on certain industries, the CSR implementation guides, toolkits, and other resources for Canadian businesses are publicly available. Many companies in Canada have already implemented CSR programs with a recent survey indicating that

77% of companies have a CSR policy.

CSR initiatives among companies can vary greatly, as do their missions, but executives across Canada agree that investing in sustainability and social responsibility has provided many benefits including: cost savings, increased internal morale, positive change in brand reputation, higher customer retention, and new customers reached.1

Year after year the Edelman Trust Barometer shows that people want more business leadership, not less, and that includes demonstrating tangible progress towards a better future for all. In this recent Forbes article, Paul Klein, CEO of impakt, discusses that the shift for businesses towards social change began prior even to COVID-19, with the pandemic accelerating many pre-existing issues. This increased attention on businesses demonstrating value to all stakeholders is not going away and Canadians care about authenticity.

What is making a difference in Canada?

“Don’t fake it”2

The headlines are ringing loud and clear. As business trust and value are tied to how companies operate responsibly, the conversation about what makes a difference should start at the top with executives. This infusion of CSR with business strategy will help answer your company’s “Why?” and further activate employees to participate in giving, volunteering, and community initiatives by providing them with the reason their organization is choosing to care.1 Research conducted with organizational behaviorists that sought to understand the impact of CSR on employees found that when employees view their organization as engaging in CSR for a genuine reason, they feel work is compatible with their values and shared goals.2 That type of person-organization fit can go a long way in attracting and retaining top talent.

Another area that can make a difference in turning philanthropy into real social impact is partnerships. The annual Partnership Conference in Toronto, Ontario aims to find answers to the question, “What is making a difference in Canada?”, by bringing together leaders in purpose to discuss how brands and charities can work together to unlock driving social change. CSR Professionals in a Changing World is a session that will dive into what’s happening in the nonprofit and private sector in Canada, and provide perspectives from both charities and corporations. Each speaker on the panel will share insights on what a good partnership looks like, not companies just checking boxes and not nonprofits just looking for checks. The conversation will look to answer a few questions like:

  • What is the role of social responsibility?
  • How can companies create governance practices with measures that hold them accountable to making a commitment?
  • How can companies join others in the community to be better informed by people with lived experiences and then develop ESG and CSR strategies that serve a need?

Learn more about each speaker on the panel below and register to attend The Partnership Conference.


CSR Professionals in a Changing World | What is on their minds?

About the Speakers

Rachel Hutchisson

Vice President Global Social Responsibility at Blackbaud

Rachel Hutchisson is a respected executive experienced in building and leading social impact and CSR initiatives, forging strategic relationships and sharing expertise to further the field of social good. Her work puts her at the center of critical conversations driving social innovation. She is responsible for the company’s social impact investments and sustainability and helping the company’s 3,600+ associates be Agents of Good. Rachel couples her deep interest in good and mentoring with strong communication skills developed through collegiate and postgraduate study and with her passion for diversity, inclusion and equity. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Dickinson College and holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Rachel is a Past Chair of the Board of Directors of The Giving Institute, publishers of Giving USA, serves on the boards of the Blackbaud Giving Fund and Common Impact, and chairs Blackbaud’s Senior Women’s Leadership Council and ESG Steering Committee. She is a past board member of AFP International and the Coastal Community Foundation, is a Riley Fellow (having attended Furman’s Diversity Leadership Institute) and has participated in both phases of the Racial Equity Institute training, hosted by the YWCA. Her talk “The Era of Corporate Social Responsibility is Ending” is available on the TEDx YouTube channel.

Paul Klein
Founder and CEO, impakt 

Paul Klein is a global authority on helping businesses benefit from solving social problems. In 2001, Paul founded impakt, a B Corp that helps corporations improve their social impact on the world. In 2019, Paul founded the Impakt Foundation for Social Change, an organization that creates pathways to employment for newcomers and other vulnerable people. Paul is the author of  Change for Good: An Action-Oriented Approach for Businesses to Benefit from Solving the World’s Most Urgent Social Problems.

Krishan Mehta

Assistant Vice President, Engagement at Toronto Metropolitan University

Krishan Mehta is the Assistant Vice President, Engagement at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University). He leads alumni relations special fundraising campaigns, and other strategies to engage different communities in support of the university. Previously, he held a variety of senior fundraising, alumni relations and marketing roles at Seneca College and the University of Toronto. Krishan also leads the Fundraising Management Certificate Program at The Chang School and teaches in Carleton University’s Philanthropy and Non-Profit Leadership Graduate Program. Krishan completed his PhD at the University of Toronto, where he studied the philanthropy of immigrants in Canada. He was named 2020 Outstanding Fundraiser of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Greater Toronto Chapter, the largest AFP chapter in the world. Krishan is also honoured to have been named 2022 AFP Distinguished Fellow.


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