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Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

An illustration of six people interacting underneath a green banner. One person is standing with their arm up like they’re cheering, next to someone holding a laptop, with a person wearing a hijab taking a photo of them. A woman in a wheelchair holding a laptop on her lap is talking with a woman standing, while a man holding the leash of a black dog looks on.

Proof Strategies supports equity, diversity and inclusion in our business and community. This commitment means that we must continuously listen, learn, adapt and advocate. It has led to us formalizing and embedding policies and process that bring about real, meaningful change.

Our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion commitment is focused on six pillars:

We are committed to researching and adopting best practices in the workplace by engaging expert advice, supporting employees and involving senior management.

  • In 2021, we implemented recommendations from an audit of company policies and processes by Race Equity Advisory Consulting & Training (REACT) Consulting Inc.
  • Our Employee Resource Group provides ongoing EDI programming support and meets regularly with a member of the firm’s senior leadership team to discuss progress.
  • Performance reviews for all employee levels include a metric related to advancing EDI at Proof.
  • In 2023, Proof Strategies’ main office in Toronto was awarded a Certificate of Accessibility from the Rick Hansen Foundation.

We are taking active and deliberate steps to increase team diversity, and leading and supporting industry efforts to attract more diversity to our profession via training and recruitment.

  • Managers have completed training on unconscious bias in recruiting and managing people led by HRx Consulting.
  • Proof hosts Black high school interns from the Toronto District School Board’s Black Summer Student Internship Program and participates in the Pathways to PR program as part of our efforts to expose our profession to underrepresented groups.

We are providing training and education and increasing the diversity of guest speakers; encouraging peer-to-peer sharing; and providing financial support and time for employees for independent learning.

  • Numerous all-staff educational sessions have been held on topics including Antisemitism, Anti-Asian Hate, Anti-Muslim Hate, violence towards LGBTQ2S+ communities, Indian Residential School Reconciliation, Body Image and more.
  • 63% of all guest speakers hosted by Proof Strategies in 2023 self-identified as members of diverse or underrepresented groups, up from 45% in 2022.
  • In June 2023, our EDI Book Club hosted Tucker Shaw author of the bestselling book When You Call My Name, following two gay teenagers during the height of the AIDS crisis in New York City.

We provide financial support and social media amplification to organizations that advance EDI and are donating to foundations and educational institutions for scholarships targeting BIPOC students and those in financial need who aspire to public relations careers.

  • In 2023, Proof donated over $190,000 in funds or pro bono work to charities, including monthly donations to 12 EDI-related charities and causes nominated by employees and annual scholarship programs for Black and Indigenous students.
  • In June 2023, Proof team members joined clients in marching at in the annual PRIDE parade to show our support for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

We participate in surveys to establish benchmarks for employee diversity and workplace experience, setting goals for improvement and tracking and reporting progress through our EDI journey.

  • In 2023/2024, Proof was named among the Best Workplaces™ in Canada for Inclusion, for Women, and for Mental Wellness by Great Place to Work®. Team members reported fair treatment regardless of gender (98%), race or ethnicity (98%), age (99%) and sexual orientation (99%).
  • Based on survey participation in 2023, approximately 28% of all current Proof Strategies team members in Canada self-identify as members of a visible minority or Indigenous or First Nations, up from 21% in 2022. This is expected to grow in 2024.

We are advancing EDI within the PR profession through philanthropy, advocacy, thought leadership, and tangible EDI commitments and pledges.

  • Proof Strategies SVP and Code Black Communicators Network co-founder Bunmi Adeoye is a regular guest author and speaker on anti-Black racism in the marketing industry, and what must be done to halt complacency.
  • Proof Strategies tracks and meets the obligations of its BlackNorth Initiative pledge annually, and in 2023 EVP Josh Cobden was a member of a BNI peer-to-peer working group.
  • Proof Strategies Chair Bruce MacLellan has led the PR industry in advocating for the end of unpaid internships, an immoral practice that unfairly hurts racialized and/or economically disadvantaged students. In 2023, he co-authored a byline in the Toronto Star on the topic.
  • Proof has led high-impact work to advance EDI and Truth & Reconciliation as well as reach underrepresented communities in numerous sectors for clients including Audible, TikTok, LCBO, Nieuport Aviation, Ontario Heritage Trust, KraftHeinz Canada, Gilead Sciences and Foundation for Black Communities, among others. Proof is an Ontario Government vendor-of-record for Indigenous and Multicultural Communication Services.

Definitions and Resources

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion terms are open to different meanings and interpretations. Common definitions at, and for, Proof Strategies strive to create a culture that is driven by a shared purpose, understanding, and openness to the active sharing of ideas and diverse perspectives.


The ongoing intentional and systemic approach to remove historic and current barriers for equity-seeking groups. It requires our organization to apply specific programs, policies and practices to support fair and just access to opportunities and outcomes for all.


The different social, cultural and political identities of individuals (e.g., race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, nationality, religion, language, age, body size, socioeconomic status) and their worldviews, practices, experiences and knowledge.


The active and intentional engagement of people in all their identities that fosters a sense of belonging. This engagement is grounded in respect, and all members of the organization are recognized as valued contributors. (Adapted from Humber College EDI Definitions).


The sentiments of welcoming and acceptance within an organization. Our interests, motivation, mental health, safety and satisfaction are inextricably tied to the feeling that we belong to a greater community that may share common interests and aspirations.


The degree to which our physical structures and organizational culture are (re)designed to enable the full, meaningful, and equitable engagement of all members of the workforce and the communities the organization serves. It includes and accounts for physical, financial, sensory, social, and language-level access. (Source: University of Alberta Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan).


The understanding that individuals encompass many identities (race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, nationality, religion, language, age, body size, socioeconomic status) and that these identities do not exist separately or in isolation from each other. Intersectionality focuses on how multiple, interwoven identities shape experiences of social belonging in our work environments. (Source: University of Alberta Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan).

The definitions were created by senior management and our EDI Employee Resource Group, with support from Jodie Glean of REACT Consulting. These terms will be collaboratively revisited and revised, and more terms may be added.

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