February is Black History Month, a good time to consider what we can do to build a more inclusive and equitable future for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC).

In 2020, GoodLife Fitness committed to become a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive company and to better support members of the BIPOC community. As a company, we have been taking steps to improve ever since.

When you’re in a GoodLife club, you see diversity -- there are members and staff from all backgrounds and walks of life. We want the company to reflect our members and the communities in which we serve, but that hasn’t always been the reality. Until recently, many BIPOC staff and members didn’t feel comfortable speaking up or getting involved in decisions about how we run our clubs. Our goal is to achieve better representation to ensure everyone feels like they belong, and can play a vital role in the company. We’re committed to doing whatever we can to make that happen.

To that end, GoodLife Fitness signed the BlackNorth Initiative as a step toward addressing and removing industry-wide anti-Black systemic racism. The BlackNorth Initiative is based on the idea that if organizations collectively declare policies, set specific targets, and hold themselves accountable, they can work to create better representation for Black people in Canada.

GoodLife Fitness joins close to 500 signatories, including well-known companies like Adidas Canada, Air Canada, Hudson Bay Co., RBC, Sobeys, Rogers, MLSE, WestJet and Best Buy. The BlackNorth Initiative encourages participating organizations to partner and combine efforts to achieve a more inclusive landscape.

As part of our pledge, GoodLife committed to implement a number of measures right away to the lay the groundwork for change including: bias awareness learning, listening forums for BIPOC Associates, and targets for hiring from under-represented groups. Over the longer term, we have set targets to achieve more balanced representation across the leadership and management teams and among our whole employee base.

This is a multi-year plan and we’re just getting started. In phase one of our action plan, some steps we have taken include:

  • Establishing a task group of diverse Associates across the country, at all levels of the company, to play a crucial role in shaping the company's future. This initiative is now in its second year and will continue to help direct and support future initiatives, including the delivery of learning sessions on inclusive leadership, anti-racism and inclusivity in fitness.
  • Delivering bias awareness and anti-racism learning for all employees with a link to performance measurement for all roles within the company.
  • Introducing tools to improve recruitment processes to increase the diversity of applicants and encourage greater engagement and accountability.
  • Surveying GoodLife employees across Canada to understand areas of opportunity and what steps are needed to create a more accepting and equitable workplace.

As part of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion survey in fall 2021, we heard from 1,000+ staff members from across Canada. Responses to the survey highlighted four key priorities:

  • Recruit, hire and promote with diversity in mind
  • Foster a sense of belonging among fellow Associates
  • Ensure senior leaders drive Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts
  • Create safety and build trust when dealing with discrimination or harassment

Black History Month is the perfect time to share these plans with you, our members, and to take note of the positive changes happening in Canada thanks to movements like the BlackNorth Initiative. The GoodLife team is proud to be part of such a strong movement to take action to support a more equitable and inclusive environment for employees, members and community partners. As we continue this crucial work, we intend to report on our progress semi-annually.