We’re taking action to make the Canadian wine industry more inclusive and accessible



In March 2021, we released our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Framework – aiming to support and encourage diversity within our workplace, organizational structures, and the Canadian wine industry.


Our Commitment

To provide authentic leadership in the promotion of diversity, equity and inclusion, Wine Growers Canada is committed to several key items, including:

  • Diversity, equity and inclusion being integral to our mission
  • Ensuring equitable and inclusive policies, practices, programs and systems are in place and regularly reviewed
  • Treating everyone with dignity and respect. This includes employees, prospective employees, contractors, consultants, suppliers, members and third parties
  • A permanent DE&I Advisory Committee, to advise on and recommend on-going diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives

…and so much more.

Read the full DE&I Framework
Cadre sur la diversité, l’équité et l’inclusion
Inter-racial couple holding wine glasses close together

A call to action

Our consultation to inform the DE&I Framework – and via the DE&I Advisory Committee – has highlighted a real desire to ensure the Canadian wine industry is one in which all employees feel welcomed. It also underscored the many benefits that incorporating more equitable & inclusive practices can have within the business context – from heightened employee engagement and diverse staff perspectives, to supporting business decisions that connect with a more diverse group of customers.

Wine Growers Canada DE&I Advisory Committee has outlined four areas of focus:  

  • Workforce/ labour – attracting a more diverse pool of talent to the wine industry
  • Workplace – promote diversity across workplaces, from the vineyards, to cellars, to tasting rooms
  • Industry leadership – providing resources to members to continue their DE&I learnings
  • Consumers – represent and be accessible to the communities we serve

While the focus area on consumers is being implemented through our online and social media communications efforts, below is an information hub to support hiring practices and the promotion of diversity and inclusion within the workplace.

Diversity in the Workplace 

The Hiring Process

There are numerous tested approaches to encourage a diverse pool of applicants for upcoming employment opportunities.

Click here to learn more

Review your job description

  • Consider your ‘must haves’ (essential requirements) versus ‘nice to haves’ (desired skills/ experience). Women and people of colour are often less likely to apply for positions where they cannot check all items on the list of essential requirements. Instead, only list the requirements that you really need. Many organizations now insert a short statement under the ‘must have’/ ‘nice to have’ section of the job advertisement, encouraging applicants to apply even if they don’t meet every qualification/ skill listed in the job description.
  • Research has shown that minor revisions to the vocabulary used in job advertisements will encourage a more diverse group of applicants. Use of language such as ‘aggressive’, ‘assertive’ or ‘ambitious’ can often discourage female applicants and reduce the job’s appeal. Simply removing these words, or using alternative phrases like ‘intellectually curious with a keen desire to learn’ as a descriptor for ‘ambitious’ could boost levels of female applicants.

Outline your commitment as an equal opportunity employer in the job advertisement

If you have policies in place to appeal to a wider pool of candidates, make mention of them. These could include:

  • Flexible or buy or sell holidays (that enable employees to take a day off to fit with their specific cultural observance or holiday);
  • Flexible hours or hybrid working (which may allow more parents – often mothers – to work around daycare/ school drop-off or pick-up times);
  • Family-friendly benefits such as enhanced parental leave or top-up parental leave benefits;
  • Transit pass benefits or monthly season ticket loans (that could encourage those without access to a car to apply).

If you are involved in any DE&I initiatives, making mention of these commitments in a job advertisement can help potential applicants see that you are serious about your DE&I commitments. These may include:

  • Mentorship to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) or female youth interested in, or studying in, the wine industry;
  • Participating in scholarship programs that aim to increase access to vineyard/ wine certifications or diplomas for women or the BIPOC community.

State the salary scale in the job advertisement

Transparency helps reduce the gender pay gap. In Canada, women earn 11% less than men. By stating the salary scale, you indicate that regardless of gender, the job offers the same salary band.

Corporate policies 

There are policies or initiatives that wineries – small, medium or large – can implement to help reduce the gender employment and salary gap, while attracting a higher level of employee diversity across the Canadian wine industry.

Click here to learn more

Integrating any of the following workplace practices should be considered:

  • Flexi-work (including flexible hours, compressed hours, part-time or job share options);
  • Buy or sell holidays, and/or or flexible statutory holidays;
  • A recruitment and talent policy (which includes your commitments to increase equity in the hiring process);
  • Top-up parental leave benefits or enhanced leave;
  • Transit pass benefits;
  • Company communications that highlight women or BIPOC individuals in your organization (via the images or the stories you share in your company newsletter or on your website), to serve as role models for others.

These policies can improve employee loyalty, boost productivity and help with recruitment. They can also help to support older workers to continue working, labour market participation among parents, and access to work for newcomers.

You may consider joining a mentorship program for young BIPOC wine professionals or donating to a BIPOC wine professionals scholarship fund (both can be done through VinEquity or Drinkclusion, for example). Some companies are setting up DE&I committees or holding ad-hoc cultural awareness events (e.g., communal lunches where food from a certain culture/region is enjoyed).

DE&I Awareness & Learning

There are a number of resources for those not only in HR functions, but for all employees, to learn a little more about equity and inclusion. A first step could be exploring one’s own ‘unconscious bias’, for example, or taking an unconscious/implicit bias quiz (e.g., this test by Harvard University).

There are a number of books that members may consider reading, such as those by Laura Liswood on embracing differences to achieve success at work, and by Ibram Kendi on increasing our actions to help individuals of diverse backgrounds to succeed and advance.

These steps would help ensure that a new hire from a diverse background is treated with respect.

Some other sources of DE&I learning are as follows:

Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Canadian Human Rights Act
Accessibility Best Practices


Father and two children walking through a vineyard

Add your voice to ours and help Canadian wine making thrive.