Report on Sustainability 2019

How is inclusivity and diversity enabled?

Suncor’s I&D strategy includes initiatives and actions in five focus areas:

  1. Leadership
  2. Processes
  3. Awareness and skill development
  4. Employee involvement
  5. Community and industry partnerships


We believe inclusive leadership is a core competency for people leaders at Suncor. Over the past few years, we have focused on building inclusive leadership awareness and skills for all leaders through Unconscious Bias training. Our goal is to help leaders understand the importance of respecting, valuing and leveraging diversity within their teams and have built elements of this into our leadership programs.

Our I&D Council consists of 10 senior leaders from across Suncor business and functional areas, and Suncor leaders across the enterprise are our I&D champions.


We are working to reduce systemic bias in our people processes, including equitable hiring, performance management and promotions, and career development opportunities.

Hiring leader training

Eliminating bias when we hire people is an important part of our commitment to improving diversity. To strengthen leaders’ abilities to select and hire qualified candidates with the skills, abilities and backgrounds to support Suncor’s success, we have held Hiring Leader Training sessions in Calgary, Edmonton and Mississauga. These sessions focused on helping leaders become aware of how unconscious bias can affect a leader’s review of applicants and hiring decisions.

To help us attract qualified, diverse candidates to roles at Suncor, we use a software tool to ensure language in our job postings is gender neutral.

Awareness and skill development

Unconscious bias training

We continue to provide learning opportunities to eliminate bias and increase cultural competency. In 2018, 64% of managers in our Upstream organization and 80% of front line leaders in our Downstream organization completed an unconscious bias training course.

Indigenous awareness web-based training (WBT) and classroom-based learning sessions

These programs are intended to increase knowledge and understanding of cultural differences and to build a corporate culture that supports Suncor's Indigenous Relations Policy. At the request of our employees and several organizations, Suncor’s Indigenous awareness WBT is publicly available in English and French. The training has been helpful in raising awareness about the history and experiences of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, as well as changing perceptions.

Indigenous cultural learning experiences

There are a variety of experiences for employees to choose including the KAIROS blanket exercise; each is intended to support further understanding and awareness of Indigenous Peoples, their unique history, rights and cultures. We partner with Elders and communities to make relevant and meaningful content.

Our HR group delivered I&D Moments – short presentations for employees and leaders – and workshops across our organization to help employees understand Suncor’s definition of diversity and the value and importance of inclusion and a sense of belonging.

Cultural awareness workshops

Suncor hosted nine workshops to build cross-cultural understanding and respect.

Employee involvement

Employees and employee networks play a critical role in fostering and improving inclusion and respect for diversity, equity, engagement and belonging in the workplace. We recognize the importance of listening to employees and stakeholders, to understand where opportunities lie to improve inclusion and diversity, and to celebrate our successes. Input and feedback from employees and our employee networks’ community of practice, provide valuable feedback. There are four employee-led networks currently at Suncor, with more networks forming.

In my career I have had the good fortune of working for, and with, a number of great female leaders and professionals. I cannot imagine how much poorer the world would be if it had been denied their talents and contributions. I know my professional world would be much poorer, without question.
Daniel Burt
Senior engineer GHG LCA

In 2019, our employee networks organized and participated in numerous internal and external inclusion and diversity events. Employees wrote I&D-related stories for newsletters, participated in panels, organized and attended learning sessions over the lunch hour, attended workshops and conferences, participated in focus groups and awareness days including International Women’s Day, National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada, Pink Shirt Day, Orange Shirt Day, and World Mental Health Day.

Employees at our Sarnia refinery in Ontario support 2019 International Women’s Day theme Balance for Better
Employees at our Sarnia refinery showing their support for International Women’s Day – hands up for the letter "W"

Activity highlights for these networks include:

  • Aboriginal Employee Network (AEN): The network has been operating since 2015, and currently has more than 700 members. It has:
    • distributed more than 3,000 Moose Hide pins across Suncor in support of the national Moose Hide Campaign, which encourages Indigenous and non-Indigenous men to stand up against violence toward women and children
    • developed and shared cultural insights, short presentations for employees and leaders to use, to help build awareness of Indigenous cultures and history
    • expanded participation in events across the country during National Indigenous Peoples Day and Awareness Week
  • Downstream Workplace Inclusion Network (WIN): Starting in 2017, WIN has grown to more than 630 members. It has hosted nine cross-cultural competency workshops and produced four newsletters with topics on inclusion, belonging and diverse backgrounds, perspectives, ethnicities, and life experiences.
  • Projects I&D Committee: has been active since 2018, and has hosted lunch ‘n learn sessions on cultural awareness, managing multicultural and multigenerational teams, and Indigenous awareness.
  • Oil Sands Women’s Network: organizes lunch ‘n learns and networking opportunities, and is expanding its mandate.

Community and industry partnerships

We explore and review opportunities to sponsor and support programs that improve the employability of identified groups. Examples include: Suncor’s support for Women Building Futures, sponsorship of Young Women in Energy, and an event hosted by our Supply Chain Management division, which provided immigrants with an understanding of the energy industry and how to look for employment opportunities in the industry.

With support from a dedicated Indigenous workforce development adviser, we are working across our business, and with communities and industry partners, to increase our workforce representation of Indigenous Peoples, as well as support the advancement and retention of Suncor’s Indigenous employees.

This includes providing meaningful work experiences to Indigenous post-secondary students through our Indigenous Student Program in Canada, and supporting career development for Indigenous employees through an Indigenous mentorship program.

We are corporate members of the following external organizations:

  • Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC)
  • 30% Club of Canada
  • Canadian Council on Diversity and Inclusion
  • Catalyst
  • Indigenous Works
  • Pride at Work Canada

In 2019, Suncor introduced Yammer – a company-wide internal social networking tool. Employees are using Yammer to share their thoughts on inclusion and respect for diversity. Yammer is a great way to listen to different perspectives and participate in honest and authentic conversations.

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Improving Indigenous workforce development