Fostering diversity, equity and inclusion

It’s about all of us

We can’t be bystanders and hope that inclusion happens. Through our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Strategy 2025, we are working harder to be a more inclusive business and drive meaningful change. We believe in the importance of an inclusive and caring culture where everybody belongs. That’s what attracts great talent and makes our teams stronger. These values also help serve the diverse needs of our Clients and communities around the world.  

Our approach

Sun Life welcomes diversity of all kinds – gender, race, religion, age, country of origin, sexual orientation, neurodiversity and physical ability. We encourage and support diverse perspectives and beliefs. We continue to innovate and evolve when it comes to DE&I. While we have already taken important steps and earned external recognition for having diverse and inclusive practices, we’re advancing in our journey to becoming a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategy 2025 sets three pillars to enhance and evolve our efforts:

1. Learning: The foundation of our strategy is research. We’re using data-driven insights and employee feedback to learn where barriers exist and where to focus our efforts. And we’re using advanced metrics to measure our progress along the way.

2. Building: We’re continuing to foster a respectful culture with inclusive policies, programs and education. Sun Life is developing new practices and finding opportunities to improve existing ones so they work for everyone.

3. Leading: We’re creating tools and practices that empower leaders to lead by example and raise awareness of DE&I opportunities and challenges. We’re focused on ownership and accountability.

We set 2025 as a milestone year, with specific targets and outcomes we need to achieve. But improving on DE&I isn’t work that ever gets finished. It’s an ongoing process that we will continue to adapt and grow as needed.

Our DE&I activities are interconnected. They focus on our Clients, colleagues and the communities we serve. From our policies, programs and training to our marketing and philanthropic activities, we embed DE&I across our operations. Refer to our recent summary of our practices.

Sun Life is a signatory to the BlackNorth Initiative, led by the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism. BlackNorth aims to help remove systemic barriers that negatively affect the lives of Black Canadians. We are a member of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and are working towards its Progressive Aboriginal Relations certification. Refer to Sun Life’s Commitment to Indigenous Relations.

In the U.S., we are a sponsor of the National African-American Insurance Association (NAAIA). NAAIA provides insights on industry trends and opportunities for professional development, recruiting and networking. We continue to support the Legal Defense Fund to promote racial justice and equality through their economic justice platform. Sun Life has also engaged with the Human Rights Campaign and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) in their efforts to expand protections and opportunities based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Employees are an important driver of our progress. DE&I is very much a topic of conversation across our company, from the executive level to our front-line colleagues. Through collaboration and learning platforms like Inclusion Works by Hive Learning, our teams share personal stories, tips and insights on how to build a more inclusive culture.   

In North America and Asia, we have more than 5,400 members across our internal inclusion networks. The networks are voluntary, employee-led communities. Each network supports and advocates for one of the many diverse populations at Sun Life. These networks play an important role in fostering our culture of inclusion. 

As a company that operates around the globe, upholding human rights is fundamental to being a trusted and responsible business. It’s vital to our ability to make all employees feel safe. It helps us mitigate risks in our supply chain. And it’s essential to advancing a more inclusive society.

We integrate human rights protections throughout our business. It starts with our global Code of Conduct. Our commitment is supported by policies on employment equity, health and safety, harassment and discrimination, and procurement in various regions. These policies help guide our people, as well as suppliers, in respecting human rights and applicable laws. We enforce zero tolerance for any forms of violence, harassment, discrimination and human trafficking, in both our workplace and supply chain.

Sun Life also has programs such as:

  • mandatory and refresher employee training on various aspects of human rights
  • critical supplier screening procedures that assess policies and standards on human rights criteria such as labour practices 
  • an Ethics Hotline for reporting human rights violations 

We continue to assess our practices in this area. Learn more in Governance and Ethics.

We hold ourselves accountable for delivering real change. We track our progress over time. And we identify areas for improvement by benchmarking against external best practices and monitoring various indicators of DE&I. 

One indicator we monitor relating to gender diversity is pay. 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 pay equity for all employees and ensuring managers make unbiased, performance-driven pay decisions. Supporting that commitment, we regularly review pay by gender and other diverse groups. We disclose the results annually in our Sustainability Report

We also provide workforce diversity data to leaders across Sun Life to help them analyze performance and keep us on track for commitments. This data includes how we are progressing on representation and engagement survey results related to inclusive behaviours that contribute most to company culture. Refer to our ESG Performance Tables

Goals (by 2025)1

  • Gender parity in Vice-President (VP)+ roles (Global)

    On track – 36% women (FY22)

  • 25% underrepresented ethnicities2 in VP+ roles (North America)

    On track – 19% (FY22)

  • 3.5% Black employees in VP+ roles (Canada)

    On track – 3.3% (FY22)

  • 5% Black employees within student workforce (Canada)

    Achieved – 8% (FY22)

  • 13% Black/African American employees at each level (U.S.)2

    On track – 10% in VP+ roles; 3% in AVP and Director roles; 11% in staff roles (FY22)

  • Balanced gender representation on the Board of Directors

    Achieved – 50% women (Q1’23)

  • 20% to 25% representation by underrepresented groups1 on our Board of Directors

    Achieved – 25% of Board members self-identify as members of underrepresented groups (Q1’23)

  • Progressive Aboriginal Relations certification (Canada)

    On track – Phase 2 complete (Q1’23) 

  • 5% diverse supplier direct spend target in North America

    Off track – 1% (FY22)

    We are in the process of appointing supplier diversity champions and working groups to identify more opportunities for diverse suppliers. There is a lot of work and opportunity as we progress on our supplier diversity journey. 

2022 highlights

  • 95% of employees said that Sun Life supports diversity in the workplace3
  • Continued to deliver and expand DE&I education in all our learning channels
  • Defined DE&I performance goals for all Senior VPs across Sun Life. The goals are tied to actions that can help achieve our 2025 commitments.

Learn more about our progress and performance in our 2022 Sustainability Report and ESG Performance Tables.

Sun Life Indigenous Commitments

It is important to recognize Canada’s history and work towards Indigenous reconciliation as outlined in the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #92. Read more about Sun Life commitments to Indigenous clients, colleagues, and communities. 

Learn more

Commitments and memberships

 BlackNorth Logo
Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council logo
 Club des 30 % logo
Women Business Enterprises Canada logo


Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index 2022 logo Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index 2022 logo

Named among the Best Workplaces™ for Inclusion in Canada. This recognition is especially significant since the results are based on employee responses to inclusion-related statements.

2023 Report on business women lead here 2023 Report on business women lead here

Recognized by Women Lead Here for the fourth year in a row. Published by the Globe and Mail, Report on Business magazine, Women Lead Here is an annual list that sets the benchmark for gender diversity in Canada.


Named among the Best Workplaces™ for Women in Canada and India’s Best Workplaces for Women™ (Sun Life Asia Service Centre), by Great Place to Work®.

Brandon Hall Group Excellence in Tecnology Awards Gold 2021 logo Brandon Hall Group Excellence in Tecnology Awards Gold 2021 logo

For the 14th consecutive year, Sun Life U.S. has earned a 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Corporate Equity Index. 

Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index 2023 logo Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index 2023 logo

For the 6th consecutive year, Sun Life was named to the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index.

Women of Influence (WoI) Awards logo Women of Influence (WoI) Awards logo

Sun Life Asia Service Centre India was recognized as one of the 100 Best Companies for Women in India by Avtar and Seramount.  

1 Underrepresented ethnicity data is based on employee voluntary self-identification. 91% of employees surveyed have provided self-identification data. Board representation data based on self-identification.

2 Canada: those who voluntarily self-identify as Visible Minorities per the Employment Equity Act; U.S.: those who voluntarily self-identify as People of Color per the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

3 U.S. refers to the U.S. Group Benefits, Dental (excluding DentaQuest) and In-Force management businesses of Sun Life U.S. as reported by Sun Life Financial Group Inc. Data based on voluntary self-identification.

Based on global employee engagement survey. 68% of employees surveyed participated. Refer to Sustainability Data Scope - Note 2

Refer to Sustainability Data Scope.