Loblaw named one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers for 2012 by MediaCorp Canada for second straight year

BRAMPTON, Ontario , February 22, 2012 () – Once again, Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaw) has been named one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers for 2012 by Mediacorp Canada Inc. The award commends Loblaw for its commitment to creating an inclusive work environment that reflects the diversity of colleagues, customers and the communities around them. Reflect our Nation's Diversity is one of five principles of Loblaw's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitment.

"Loblaw is honoured to be recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers. We are proud of the progress we have made in reflecting diversity in the products we sell, the people we attract and the workplace culture we create. We are committed to focusing on improving our efforts to better reflect our nation's diversity," said Judy McCrie, executive vice president, Human Resources and Labour Relations, Loblaw Companies Limited.

Loblaw's diversity efforts are spearheaded by its Inclusion Council, made up of senior leaders from across the organization. The role of the Inclusion Council is to identify goals and opportunities, and monitor progress. On a quarterly basis, the Council prepares an Inclusion Scorecard that is shared with the Company's Management Board. Some key highlights of the Council's 2011 action plan included setting goals for an inclusive workplace that reflects the ethnicities of communities, hiring persons with disabilities within stores and store support offices and increasing the percentage of women store managers.

Following are some of the initiatives that helped Loblaw earn its place on Canada's Best Diversity Employers list:

Women: Women@Loblaw is aimed at increasing the number of women in senior and executive positions across the organization through networking and professional development. In 2011, Loblaw conducted its first Women@Loblaw National Event that served as a forum for women from different levels within the organization to meet and learn from one another. Loblaw continues to drive for improvements in the proportion of women holding senior positions as store managers and in executive officer roles.

Ethnic Diversity: Loblaw continues to strive to reflect the communities that it serves by working with external organizations to attract diverse candidates. Once on-board, Loblaw has implemented diversity initiatives ensuring a multi-cultural and multi-faith workplace. Some examples of these include access to Reflection / Quiet rooms, diverse food options in cafeterias, and special opportunities to educate colleagues about religious observances and their importance. As of 2010, 74 per cent of Loblaw corporate and franchised stores have dedicated space for culturally diverse goods and Loblaw's dedicated ethnic business units continues to expand its offerings by sourcing authentic products from first generation manufacturers.

Recruitment: In order to give recruitment managers more exposure to a broad range of candidates, Loblaw has broadened its recruitment avenues beyond traditional channels by partnering with a number of not-for-profit organization, including the Ability Edge paid internship program, supported by Career Edge Organization and ACCES Employment. Loblaw continues to strengthen its relationship with Diversity Careers by reaching out to Canadians through the Diversity Careers job board that serve as one of five major job boards that Loblaw job opportunities are posted. Loblaw has also partnered with Equitek to have its job postings go out to 850 diverse organizations across the country to attract and hire candidates from local communities. Loblaw's diversity recruitment strategy includes newcomers to Canada, visible minorities, women, Aboriginal Canadians, persons with disabilities, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community, and youth and mature workers.

Launched in 2008, Canada's Best Diversity Employers competition recognizes employers across Canada with exceptional workplace diversity and inclusiveness programs. Employers are examined based on a range of diversity initiatives covering five major employee groups: (a) Women; (b) Members of visible minorities; (c) Persons with disabilities; (d) Aboriginal peoples; and (e) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered/Transsexual (LGBT) peoples.

About Loblaw Companies Limited
Loblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is Canada's largest food retailer and a leading provider of drugstore, general merchandise and financial products and services. Loblaw is one of the largest private sector employers in Canada. With more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores from coast to coast, Loblaw and its franchisees employ more than 136,000 full-time and part-time employees. Through its portfolio of store formats, Loblaw is committed to providing Canadians with a wide, growing and successful range of products and services to meet the everyday household demands of Canadian consumers. Loblaw is known for the quality, innovation and value of its food offering. It offers Canada's strongest control (private) label program, including the unique President's Choice®, no name® and Joe Fresh® brands. In addition, the Company makes available to consumers President's Choice Financial® services and offers the PC® points loyalty program.

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