People & Communities


Our employees are the heart and soul of our organization. We engage them and challenge them to be their best selves because when they flourish, our company — and society — benefit too.

We can’t say enough about how our employees rose to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. While some employees had to adjust to working from their homes, those at the Ungava Spirits plant, Foreign Affair winery and Hiram Walker & Sons distillery continued to work onsite while maintaining and complying with the necessary safety precautions and social distancing measures. The situation called for new policies and practices, as well as tools and resources to help people manage stress.

Improving internal communication was a priority entering fiscal 2020, and it turned out to be all the more important during the pandemic. In addition to regular town hall meetings, we launched bi-monthly PODcasts hosted by CEO Patrick O’Driscoll (hence the name POD-cast) to make it easier for people to learn about our business while on the road. We also introduced the Distillers Digest monthly e-newsletter to recognize achievements, and help people stay in the know and get to know each other better.

Our leadership behaviours shape our culture and reinforce what's important to us.

In fiscal 2020, we launched a new set of leadership behaviours, which are aligned with those of Pernod Ricard and emphasize consumer- and customer-centricity, a growth mindset, openness and authenticity, boldness and agility, collaboration and the desire to make the most of diversity. To reinforce that how results are achieved is as important as what’s accomplished, we began including performance against the leadership behaviours in employees’ performance ratings for compensation purposes, along with results against their objectives.

Our employee-led Balance & Inclusiveness Committee continued to promote understanding of, and appreciation for, diversity and inclusion. In fiscal 2020, the committee conducted its second annual survey to better understand demographic trends within our company and introduce relevant programming.

In recognition of International Women’s Day, the committee ran an unconscious gender bias educational campaign, and during the COVID-19 crisis, the focus was on raising awareness of available mental health resources.

In addition, as part of our organization taking a stand against systemic racism and injustice, we joined our colleagues at Pernod Ricard USA to make a $1 million donation to support Black communities across the North American region, with funds going to the Black Health Alliance in Canada. An employee task force was also formed to action things quickly and explore ways to increase diversity and underrepresented people at all levels of our companies.