April, 2014 / Author:

Manitoba company hopes to be a role model for others 

Provincial telecommunications giant MTS recently introduced a series of internal changes with the aim of creating a more GLBTQ*-inclusive workplace.

In a memo to all employees,

Paul Beauregard, MTS chief corporate and strategy officer and corporate secretary
Paul Beauregard has outlined several steps the company has taken towards this goal. Firstly, MTS joined Pride at Work Canada, a national organization that works towards fostering good relationships between GLBTQ* community members and their respective workplaces. They also trained recruiters to be more sensitive to GLBTQ* issues, added a new diversity category to its existing employee census, and improved the company workplace policy. As the internal memo stated, “We are strengthening our

Respectful Workplace Policy to provide a better understanding of what constitutes harassment, as well  as explicitly stating the obvious – that discrimination against our LGBT employees is unacceptable and contrary to our values.”

Beauregard was more than happy to be interviewed about his company’s new policy, so I made the arrangements to come by his Main Street office (full disclosure – I’m an MTS employee). When asked about MTS’ overall strategy to approaching GLBTQ* inclusiveness in the workplace, Beauregard said it’s a multistep approach. “I think you have to learn to walk before you run. We were very proud of the steps we took. We’ve joined pride at work, we changed our hiring process. We’re changing how we collect information on representation of the LGBT community within our own company, so that we ourselves can get a barometer of where we’re at and change our workplace,” he said. “In my mind, what this does is open the door for further discussion, it creates an environment where people are happy to be who they are and to come up with more ideas and that’s how you build the culture of inclusiveness.”

I then inquired how MTS planned on targeting the community for recruitment. Beauregard said he hopes that word of mouth will help let GLBTQ* members know that MTS is an inclusive workplace. “I think it’s critical that we represent our communities, that we serve [them]. And these first steps that we took, hopefully they’re going to be an example to other companies across Canada and in particular, within Manitoba,” said Beauregard. “We’ve done a lot of training with our recruiters to make them sensitive to the issues. We’ve got their firm commitment that we’re going to be a very respectful workplace.”

Before the interview ended, Beauregard was adamant about adding these steps weren’t taken for recognition. “We did this for our employees and for our community. I would hope that others could see what we’re doing, others in the business community, other employers… and take these same kinds of steps because they’re the right steps to be taking. It’s one of those issues where the more people stand up, it creates its own momentum.”

As an MTS employee, I may be risking being accused of a conflict of interest in writing this article. But listening to Beauregard’s words, I realize that if this is not worth being accused of a conflict of interest for, I don’t know what is.

– Miles McEnery is an employee at MTS Allstream and the social media editor for OutWords.

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