Focus on diversity and inclusion

Sep 20, 2021

I was born and raised in London, Ontario. Two of my cousins are Indigenous, adopted by my aunt and uncle. I was a Big Brother to a young and brilliant Indigenous boy. Today, I serve on the board of an organization that partners with First Nations to improve literacy within their communities. 

My interactions with Indigenous people are probably similar to other Canadians. And like other Canadians, when I learned this year about the unmarked graves of more than 1,000 Indigenous children – and the prospect of many more – I was dumbfounded. And appalled. This discovery has left me with many unanswered questions.

The CMA and our board have taken the important step of prioritising our DEI activities for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour. We are making good initial progress on a long-term initiative. We’ve partnered with groups like the Black Talent Initiative and the Pinball Clemons Foundation. We’ve engaged like-minded brands to work with us on these initiatives. We’re heading into our second year of research to track progress on DEI in the marketing profession. We are looking throughout our value proposition to identify and address unconscious bias. 

I remain in a state of great discomfort about the plight of our Indigenous peoples. On September 30 – National Truth and Reconciliation Day – CMA staff will spend time together to better educate ourselves on the history of the Indigenous population and to understand what we can do moving forward. To further mark the day, we are encouraging staff to support an Indigenous-owned business.  

All of these activities are just the beginning. We know that we need to do more, and we will.

We are determined to make progress without platitudes. If you have ideas to help us make an impact, please connect with me for a conversation. 

Learning happens on the edge of our comfort zones.


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John Wiltshire

President & CEO Canadian Marketing Association




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