RBC’s CEO apologizes in wake of foreign worker scandal

Debate has raised ‘important questions’ about doing what employees, clients, shareholders expect, says Nixon
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 04/11/2013

RBC has issued an apology in the wake of public outrage over a decision to eliminate about 45 jobs and transfer the work to iGate, a company using foreign workers brought into Canada under the federal government’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

The letter, which RBC is publishing in national papers on Friday, is signed by Gord Nixon, president and CEO of the Toronto-based bank.

The full text of the letter is below, along with an embedded video from CBC featuring an interview with Zabeen Hirji, RBC’s chief human resources officer.

Nixon said the debate around the outsourcing arrangement “has raised some important questions.”

“While we are compliant with the regulations, the debate has been about something else,” he said. “The question for many people is not about doing only what the rules require — it’s about doing what employees, clients, shareholders and Canadians expect of RBC.”

In the letter Nixon apologized to the employees affected by the outsourcing arrangement, saying the bank “should have been more sensitive and helpful to them.” He said all of them will be offered comparable job opportunities at RBC.

He also said the company is reviewing its suppler arrangements and policies, “balancing our desire to be both a successful business and a leading corporate citizen.”

Nixon also said the bank is working on a new initiative to help young people gain work experience at RBC. Details will be unveiled in the coming weeks, he said.

Full text of letter

An Open Letter to Canadians

RBC has been in the news this week in a way no company ever wants to be.

The recent debate about an outsourcing arrangement for some technology services has raised important questions.

While we are compliant with the regulations, the debate has been about something else. The question for many people is not about doing only what the rules require - it’s about doing what employees, clients, shareholders and Canadians expect of RBC. And that’s something we take very much to heart.

Despite our best efforts, we don’t always meet everyone’s expectations, and when we get it wrong you are quick to tell us. You have my assurance that I’m listening and we are making the following commitments.

First, I want to apologize to the employees affected by this outsourcing arrangement as we should have been more sensitive and helpful to them. All will be offered comparable job opportunities within the bank.

Second, we are reviewing our supplier arrangements and policies with a continued focus on Canadian jobs and prosperity, balancing our desire to be both a successful business and a leading corporate citizen.

Third, our Canadian client call centres are located in Canada and support our domestic and our U.S. business, and they will remain in Canada.

Fourth, we are preparing a new initiative aimed at helping young people gain an important first work experience in our company, which we will announce in the weeks ahead.

RBC proudly employs over 57,000 people in Canada. Over the last four years, despite a challenging global economy, we added almost 3,000 full-time jobs in Canada. We also hire over 2,000 youth in Canada each year and we support thousands more jobs through the purchases we make from Canadian suppliers. As we continue to grow, so will the number of jobs for Canadians.

RBC opened for business in 1864 and we have worked hard since then to earn the confidence and support of the community. Today, we remain every bit as committed to earning the right to be our clients’ first choice, providing rewarding careers for our employees, delivering returns to shareholders who invest with us, and supporting the communities in which we are privileged to operate.

I’d like to close by thanking our employees, clients, shareholders and community partners for your input and continued support.

Sincerely,

Gord Nixon
President and Chief Executive Officer,
Royal Bank of Canada

CBC interview with Zabeen Hirji, RBC's chief human resources officer (CHRO)

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