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Supplier Diversity at RBC

“Diversity and Inclusion” is a core value at RBC and this commitment extends to the supplier community. As a major purchaser of goods and services, RBC recognizes the tremendous impact it has on the supplier community where it operates and conversely – the supplier community's impact on the products and services that RBC delivers.

Our Commitment to Supplier Diversity

At RBC, we strive to have an inclusive supply chain. Our goal is to advance equality of opportunity globally to businesses owned by women, Aboriginal people, minorities/visible minorities, LGBT, people with disabilities, veterans and service disabled veterans. In the US, qualifying small businesses are also included. By providing equal access to procurement opportunities to qualified suppliers, we enhance the levels of quality, service and overall value to the organization. We encourage submissions, bids and proposals from all diverse suppliers.

RBC also participates in supplier diversity events and conferences that include speaking engagements, panel discussions, webinars, match-maker sessions and workshops. We lead various mentorship activities which includes formal mentoring of certified suppliers and an annual workshop. Furthermore, we have embedded supplier diversity processes into day-to-day procurement activities and continue to incorporate supplier diversity goals into Procurement staff annual performance objectives.


Rationale for a Supplier Diversity Program

Supplier diversity at RBC is not only about “doing the right thing” and being a responsible corporate citizen. We believe supplier diversity helps RBC drive business value and by including diverse suppliers in sourcing processes, RBC gains access to competitive offerings, greater innovation, and culturally diverse business interactions. This, in turn, positions RBC well to meet the requirements of our diverse customer base.

Based on many years of US experience tracking diverse supplier ownership through the US Census Bureau's Survey of Business Owners and comparing to diverse supplier representation in corporate supply chains, diverse suppliers have operated at a disadvantage due to various factors including their size, scale and access to business networks, and therefore may have fallen below many organizations' radar.

Canada currently lacks comprehensive data on business ownership characteristics. However, some data demonstrates the exclusion of Aboriginal and visible minorities from economic activity and other reports indicate that female-owned businesses have operated at a relative disadvantage to male-owned enterprises:

  • Canadian unemployment rates and income comparisons from the 2006 census show distinct disparities for Aboriginal peoples and visible minorities. Income disparities have actually increased over time, pointing to potential systemic barriers to Aboriginal and minority workforce inclusion and success. (Source: 2006 Census data)
  • Although supply chain inclusion includes other factors than workforce inclusion, the opportunity to be invited to bid on RFXs includes the ability to build relationships and demonstrate capabilities, similar to workforce inclusion. Thus it is believed these barriers for Aboriginal peoples and visible minorities demonstrated in unemployment and income data may also apply to supply chain activities. (Source: 2006 Census data, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives)
  • According to Industry Canada`s SME Data Financing Initiative, companies owned by visible minorities are slightly larger than the Canadian average (23% of SMEs with more than 5 staff, versus the Canadian average 21%). However, these same visible minority-owned companies have revenues that are almost 25% less than the average SME firm, pointing to lower returns that may in part be attributable to lack of access to business opportunities. (Source: SME Financing Data Initiative, Industry Canada)
  • The average revenue of majority female-owned firms is $563,000 compared to $1,126,000 for majority male-owned firms. (Source: Jung, Owen. (2010). Women Entrepreneurs. Small Business Financing Profile. Ottawa: Industry Canada Small Business and Tourism Branch, October 2010)

To address this, RBC has developed a Supplier Diversity Program and will continue to look at emerging data to confirm the rationale for this Program.


How the Program Works

Should a supplier choose to self-identify, RBC will connect them with the appropriate certifying organization in order for their company to take advantage of the benefits of certification. Although certification is not a necessary requirement for participation in the Supplier Diversity Program, it offers additional benefits that suppliers might enjoy.

RBC is a founding member of Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC) (opens external website in new window), an inaugural member of WBE Canada (opens external website in new window) (a non-profit organization committed to advancing women-owned businesses as suppliers) and founding program partner of Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce(opens external website in new window) CGLCC), patron member of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB)(opens external website in new window) and founding member of Inclusive Workplace and Supply Council of Canada (IWSCC) (opens external website in new window). By supporting these and other similar organizations in Canada, as well as the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) (opens external website in new window), Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) (opens external website in new window) and National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) (opens external website in new window) in the US, RBC helps to promote supplier diversity and also gains access to a wide base of registered diverse suppliers to source from.

As members of WBE Canada, CAMSC, CGLCC, CCAB, IWSCC and NGLCC, RBC has access to their certified supplier databases. Additionally, diverse suppliers are encouraged to self-identify themselves in RBC's supplier onboarding database. Our Procurement team consults with these databases when compiling supplier lists for RFXs, giving more opportunities for diverse suppliers to respond to more RFXs and potentially leading them to more business awards.

To improve the success rate of diverse suppliers in securing business, the Program will also include instruction on how suppliers can effectively demonstrate their capabilities and be ready to compete for business with large organizations.



Only diverse suppliers are considered eligible to participate in the Supplier Diversity Program. A diverse supplier is defined as a for-profit enterprise that is 51 percent or more owned, controlled, and managed by person(s) who belong to one of the following groups: Aboriginal people, minority/visible minority, LGBT, persons with disabilities, verterans, service disabled veterans and women. Any US-based enterprise that is considered a qualifying small business is also eligible. If an organization is certified by one of the certifying entities above, it meets the requirements of a diverse supplier and is therefore considered eligible to participate in the Program. Otherwise, suppliers will need to demonstrate to RBC that they meet the eligibility requirements specified above.


What Diverse Suppliers can do!

Whether an existing RBC supplier or an organization interested in doing business with us, diverse suppliers can connect with us at for further information about our Program.


Determining the Success of the Supplier Diversity Program

RBC measures the success of our Program through a variety of metrics, including but not limited to the following:

  • Year over year absolute increase in diverse suppliers
  • Year over year increase in diverse supplier spend
  • RBC suppliers become corporate sponsors and/or certified members with certifying organizations

We track such information in Canada and in the United States of America.


Impact of being a Diverse Supplier

Participation in RBC's Supplier Diversity Program does not guarantee organizations will secure or have secured our business. Participation, however, provides the opportunity to demonstrate their company's service and product quality to us.


Program Term

The Program is a three year program effective as November 1, 2016 and will be reviewed annually to determine the Program's strengths and deficiencies. Adjustments will be made to the Program as necessary.