In its 12th year supporting Toronto’s Pride week, TD took a very principled stand to break down barriers, embedding diversity and inclusion into its mission statement and advocating and advertising in ways that reflect its customers and communities. With these core principles in mind, TD plans to continue the fight for inclusion and acceptance for its customers, employees and communities every day of the year with its new Pride 365 initiative.

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This year during Pride Toronto (June 24th – July 3rd, 2016), as part of its #ForeverProud campaign, for every dollar that is spent using a TD Aeroplan Credit Card anywhere in Toronto during Pride week, TD will donate one Aeroplan Mile to Aeroplan’s national charitable program, Beyond Miles, that supports LGBT organizations across Canada and around the world.

In addition to this, Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area (Habitat GTA) and TD Bank Group, recently joined forces with members and supporters of the LGBT community for the third annual Pride Build fundraising event.  Due to popular demand, Pride Build was expanded for 2016, and ran for three days on June 23, 24 and 25.  More than 100 participants joined forces to help build nine homes at Habitat GTA’s Birchmount Road build site in Toronto’s east end (357 Birchmount Road).  Each Pride Build participant committed to fundraising a minimum of $250 toward achieving this year’s goal of raising $60,000. Funds raised through this event went directly to funding the completion of the Birchmount Road home build project.

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A leader in supporting LGBTA communities, TD’s ongoing dedication doesn’t end with annual Pride celebrations –it’s driving a larger movement to urge employees, customers and communities to celebrate and support Pride 365 days of the year.

theBUZZ caught up with TD’s Al Ramsay, Regional Manager of LGBTA Business Development, who explains the role that employees can play in driving a grassroots movement to change an organization’s culture.

al Ramsay

Do you sponsor other Pride festivals beyond Toronto?

Yes, indeed. TD sponsors 42 prides from Florida to Northwest Territories.

Would you please discuss with us some of the exciting events and activities TD is participating in for this year at Pride?

We see our Pride involvement in three lenses: employee, customer, and community. Last night we had a reception at The 519 for around 200+ employees and partners of TD Bank. It was a wonderful event, President and CEO Bharat Masrani was there, and he even rolled up his sleeves and did some cooking. We’re also the lead sponsor of Starry Night, which take place annually at The 519. This is a fundraiser for Pride, and the “unofficial” kickoff party, with lots of exciting things happening at that event.

Of course the infamous TD boys and girls will be in the market place and all over the festival, especially at the “TD village Stage” beside the TD branch on Wellesley , where you can enjoy TD music , TD dancers, and TD’s Pride Queen Sofonda Cox. For the Pride Parade, and I really believe we have the best float in the parade (laughs), Sofonda is back again on the float with all the sexy boys and girls, and at least a 100 TD employees who will be marching

Also to mention Union Station has now a summer festival and we are leveraging this event for Pride, as the event at Union happens this week and we have a lot of cool marketing and promotions to push the Pride brand and attendance.

Why support Pride?

We were the first major bank to sponsor Pride. Back in 2005 we launched our LGBT strategy, when we concluded then that we weren’t completely inclusive. This came about when we found out that one of our senior execs were out in life but not out at work, and that wasn’t the work culture we wanted to promote. We also were one of the first corporations to offer same spousal benefits, but not a lot of people were taking advantage of it, and we wanted everyone to be out and comfortable. So we had to be louder and more active about promoting inclusivity.

Why the LGBTQ community?

LGBT represents a very important and valuable part of our employees and customers and we want to recognize and support them.

We do see pride for the party and the pageantry but we also see it as in important occasion and a needed message. For example, TD and Aeroplan has partnered again this year to build on our success from last year with “Beyond the Miles” campaign. During pride week any customer who uses TD and Aeroplan card, for every dollar spent TD will donate one Aeroplan mile to three LGBT charities in Toronto: Egale, Rainbow Railroad, and the Steven Lewis Foundation. Last year we gave away 21 million miles, this year we are expanding the program to Montreal and Vancouver prides.

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Commitment to Diversity

Each and every day, all of the more than 81,000 employees who work at TD can feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work. That’s why TD attracts the best and the brightest in the industry and why all employees can reach their full potential.

Pride at Work Canada’s vision to realize fully inclusive workplaces for LGBT employees across Canada is one that TD supports. Positive change is reflected not only by establishing policies and practices relevant to LGBT employees, but by building an employee culture that fosters an inclusive, respectful and secure workplace – all of which TD has embraced and continues to advance.

Vision For The Future

At TD, the broad vision for the future is to create a place that everyone is proud to be a part of, a place where everyone feels comfortable each and every day, and a place where all employees can reach their full potential.

TD’s responsibilities extend well beyond creating real value in the economy. The company is also responsible in helping to make an inclusive society. That’s the big aim of TD’s diversity initiative.

This is not just a “feel good” initiative – it allows TD to attract and retain the best employees, as well as build stronger ties in the communities in which it operates. It’s ultimately about becoming the employer of choice in the financial sector by providing a comfortable and respectful working environment for all LGBT employees and their allies at TD.

Click here to learn more about TD’s commitment to diversity.


Follow TD at Pride on social via the following hashtags: #ForeverProud, #Pride365 #52WeeksofPride

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.