Embracing Diversity and Inclusion Spotlight on LINK Canada’s 2SLGBTQ+ Insurance Network

With Christopher Aloussis, Co-Chair, LINK Canada

Navigating the insurance industry as a 2SLGBTQ+ professional presents a unique set of challenges. People within this community must think about the daunting task of coming out in a professional setting, confront hiring and promotion biases that can hinder career growth, and can face microaggressions and isolation. 

LINK Canada’s 2SLGBTQ+ Insurance Network—a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the Canadian insurance market—recognizes these, and other challenges, and is committed to addressing them head-on. By championing allies and fostering understanding, the organization aims to make the industry a more inclusive and welcoming space.

“The biggest initiative for LINK Canada this year is to bring about a spotlight on these issues,” explained Christopher Aloussis, Co-Chair of LINK Canada. “Creating visibility and having sponsor organizations show support for 2SLGBTQ+ issues creates a sense of belonging and inclusion in the workplace. Overall, this will improve employee engagement, retention and diversity in the workplace.”

The organization’s journey began a year prior to its official launch in January 2023. The idea was conceived as a natural progression from the success of LINK UK. With a carefully selected team of passionate individuals with strong connections to the LINK UK leadership team, LINK Canada embarked on its mission to effect transformative change in the Canadian market.

“Canada was the first country selected by the LINK UK team for expansion,” explained Christopher. “A small group was selected to lead LINK Canada because of our close relationship to the LINK UK leadership team, and our group worked hard to develop a strategy to effect the change we want to bring to the Canadian market.”

LINK Canada has not only recognized the need for change but has also taken substantial steps to initiate it, and have been rolling out programs, resources and events over the last few months. Recently, they hosted the Pride 2023: Coming Out party, a landmark event that brought together 2SLGBTQ+ insurance professionals and allies for an inclusive networking experience. This event marked the beginning of a series of celebrations aimed at fostering a sense of unity and acceptance.

“This was an inclusive networking event where members of the 2SLGBTQ+ insurance community and allies could celebrate each other and help to promote ideas around community building and showcase the insurance industry as a place where acceptance and tolerance are part of the fabric of the workplace,” Aloussis explained. “We had an incredible turn out and are looking forward to promoting more of these types of events in the coming months and years.”

They also partnered with the Get Real movement, offering sponsors the chance to enroll their employees in DEI workshops. These workshops cover 2SLGBTQ+ issues and intersectionality, driving awareness and understanding within the industry.

One of LINK Canada’s proudest accomplishments is the launch of the industry’s first DEI education portal. This platform offers RIBO-accredited courses that provide insights into the issues faced by the 2SLGBTQ+ community. Education is the foundation for change, and LINK Canada is paving the way for a more informed and empathetic industry.

Through partnerships with influential organizations and industry leaders, LINK Canada is not only raising awareness but driving meaningful change. By embracing diversity and inclusion, the insurance industry is poised to become a more vibrant, innovative, and equitable space for everyone. 

How to Create a More Inclusive Environment for 2SLGBTQ+ Employees and Customers

  • Offer LGBTQ+ training and sensitivity workshops for all employees to increase awareness and understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, terminology and challenges. This helps create a more empathetic and supportive work environment.
  • Establish LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to provide a safe space for networking, support and advocacy within the company. Support these groups with resources and opportunities for leadership development.
  • Review and update benefits and services plans to ensure they’re inclusive of LGBTQ+ families and relationships. Offer benefits that cover same-sex partners and gender-affirming care.
  • Promote and celebrate 2SLGBTQ+ representation at all levels of the organization through hiring and promotional practices. Visible representation can help promote a sense of belonging and inspire others.
  • Engage with 2SLGBTQ+ Organizations or community groups to support local events, fundraisers and initiatives.
  • Cultivate allyship by encouraging employees to become allies and advocates for LGBTQ+ colleagues and customers. Allyship can be fostered through training and awareness campaigns.
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