Sustainability stories

Opportunity knocks for Sun Life and our employees through in-house talent marketplace 

Providing ways for employees to achieve their full potential is key to talent sustainability. Our internal “gig” marketplace offers an easy way for our employees to try out new roles and grow their skills at Sun Life.  

The gig marketplace gives employees the opportunity to work with teams across Sun Life on short-term projects, regardless of their location or employee level. This provides them with an opportunity to gain new skills and experience – putting employees in the driver’s seat of their own career. These projects are completed alongside their day to day role, capitalizing on the normal ebb and flow of work. The system also proactively recommends new opportunities for employees to look through that match their skill set. By offering diverse, experiential opportunities outside of an employee’s day-to-day role, we believe they will stay motivated and engaged – ultimately helping us retain our talent.

Since launch in October 2020, we have rolled out the initiative to over 6,000 employees. That includes our most recent launches to groups in Sun Life Canada and the U.S. This online talent marketplace has enabled teams to cut the time it takes to search for talent. Instead of months, it now takes mere days. Leaders and employees are now able to expand their internal talent networks in areas they might not have thought of before. 

Feedback from employee participant: 

“So far I’ve been able to gain skills outside of my regular role. I have a better understanding of the work that is done in my gig host’s world. My gig host has been able to provide me with some real-time feedback on my performance. That has been tremendously helpful in my development.” 

Feedback from leader (gig host): 

“My team needed extra hands on deck to help organize a large leadership event. We quickly found someone through Sun Life’s new internal talent marketplace. Our gig participant went above-and-beyond, managing the required tasks to ensure our event was a resounding success. I'd highly recommend that leaders take advantage of this valuable talent hub. It’s a win-win.” 

New residential community for affordable housing

Sun Life and The Daniels Corporation signed a public-private partnership agreement with WoodGreen Community Services and the City of Toronto to integrate long-term, affordable, rental living for single mothers in their newest multi-family residential development. This innovative model helps to address Toronto’s high need for affordable housing and improve the wellbeing of people and communities where we live and work. 

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Learn more about sustainable investing at Sun Life

Making sustainable investing easier for group retirement Clients

Sun Life’s Group Retirement Services (GRS) launched its proprietary Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) evaluation framework for its core investment platform of 23 investment managers and over 140 investment options. This new framework will be instrumental in helping plan sponsors and members make informed decisions when it comes to sustainable investing. Sustainable investing is one of three core pillars of Sun Life’s new sustainability plan.

While a variety of ESG scoring providers are available, at both a fund and security level, no single provider covers all GRS investment platform options. In isolation, an ESG score for a fund can create confusion and lack relevance for Clients. GRS’ approach for Clients has two objectives:

  • Identify ESG leaders (managers and funds), in every major asset category offered on the GRS core investment platform using proprietary criteria, and
  • Make it easy for plan sponsors to understand the level of ESG integration for the investment options they offer in their retirement savings plans.

The new evaluation framework is an expansion of the strong governance process GRS has in place today for its investment platform. Having a resilient and sustainable workplace plan is more important than ever. This added guidance will help Clients make more informed decisions about the investment choices in their savings plans.

Read the press release

Equal pay – A guiding principle 

Achieving gender parity is an important part of being a truly inclusive and equitable organization. One of Sun Life’s five guiding principles for compensation is to support fairness for all employees and reward top performance. We’re committed to ensuring managers make unbiased, performance-driven pay decisions and regularly review pay by gender.

In 2020, we expanded our analysis of total average pay by gender for roles within the same levels to include U.S. as well as Canadian employees.  

In Canada, the results from the previous year were sustained (women earn 98-99 cents for every $1 earned by men), except at the executive level, where the gap increased to 5 cents. This gap was driven by a change in population – the departure of some lower-paid men and the promotion of women, with corresponding “developing” pay packages. 

In the U.S., our analysis showed women earn between 95 and 97 cents for every $1 earned by men depending on level. Demographic factors such as geographic location contribute to these differences as the cost of talent varies across the U.S. 

To monitor and address even small pay gaps, every year we review by gender:

  • base salary increases
  • individual performance incentive awards 
  • long-term incentive grants

We found no systemic gender bias in the proportion of women and men who received annual and long-term incentives, or in the performance-based values of those incentives.

As data becomes available, we are expanding this pay analyses for other diverse groups.

We continue to heighten awareness of potential pay gaps through a tool that shows managers and HR how annual pay decisions (i.e., performance distribution, salary adjustments, annual incentive awards and long-term incentive grants) compare across women and men, as well as other diverse groups.

Average total compensation for women as a percentage of men1







Management – Seasoned Professional



Professional, Administrative and Operational 



Calculated for full-time employees only, excluding those participating in specialized incentive plans; includes base salary, annual incentives and long-term incentive grants.