Top Canadian lenders plan to fill 3.5% of senior roles with Black employees

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(Reuters) - Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM.TO said they plan to fill at least 3.5% of their top roles with Black employees as part of an initiative that aims to fight racism and improve the representation of Black people in boardrooms.

The initiative, labeled "BlackNorth," was launched by Wes Hall, a prominent Canadian businessman and the chairman of proxy advisory firm Kingsdale Advisors. It urged executives to fill at least 3.5% of senior executive and board positions in Canada with Black leaders by 2025. (

Companies across the globe have announced donations to nonprofit organizations and pledged money for internal company programs for racial and social justice causes amid worldwide protests over the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died under the knee of a white police officer in May.

Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO, the country's biggest lender, said on Monday it was committing C$150 million ($111 million) to racial diversity initiatives and aims to increase the proportion of non-white executive hires to 30% from 20%.

Last month, Manulife Financial Corp MFC.TO and Scotiabank pledged C$3.5 million and C$500,000, respectively, for diversity initiatives.

Reporting by Shanti S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni