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Steps Forward: CCBA Diversity Survey

By: Heather

Editor’s Note:

One of Diversity In Brewing’s key goals is to further conversations about inclusivity in the craft beer industry. We view our role to be facilitators of dialogue and not an authority with the purpose to provide endorsements or approvals of breweries or organizations. It is our hope that the discourse shared in “Steps Forward” pieces is encouraging to industry leaders ready to take their next steps, and provides further transparency to the wider craft beer community.

“We all have a sphere of influence...there are many problems to address, and we cannot avoid them indefinitely. We cannot continue to be silent. We must begin to speak knowing that words alone are insufficient.” - Beverly Daniel Tatum


Back in July, 2020, Bruce and I (along with other industry folks across the country) participated in a virtual discussion session with the Canadian Craft Brewers Association regarding the state of our industry culture. Just under a year later, on June 22nd, 2021, the CCBA released an ambitious industry-wide employee survey to better understand "the state of diversity, inclusivity, and equity in craft beer and serve as a baseline for further action".

I recently caught up with Rick and asked him to share a bit more about the CCBA and specifically this survey...

Who are you and what is your role with the Canadian Craft Brewers Association?

I'm Rick Dalmazzi and I stumbled into the craft beer business accidentally in 2014. I was given the opportunity to manage a craft brewery in Muskoka, Ontario called Sawdust City Brewing and did that for 5 years. At one point my two adult kids and my wife were working at the brewery as well. Working at a craft brewery is not a job, it's a lifestyle.

In early 2018 I was asked to lead a study on the formation of a national industry association. The CCBA was incorporated in October 2018, and I became its first Executive Director. I report to the board of directors, and it's my job to take action on the priorities that the board lays out.

The CCBA is relatively new. How did it get started and why?

The primary role of the CCBA is to lobby the federal government in support of its members. There are approximately 1,200 craft breweries and brewpubs in Canada, and until the CCBA was formed they didn't have a voice in Ottawa. Now they do. The CCBA educates government decision-makers on the important role that craft breweries play in creating jobs and contributing to their local economies. We lobby for financial and legislative support for our industry.

An important secondary role of the CCBA is to create and deliver programs that help our members be better businesses. Many craft breweries are very young companies led by passionate but often inexperienced management teams. So we try to help them.

Finally, we promote Canadian craft beer nationally and internationally.

I know the CCBA Anti-Discrimination and Inclusion Committee has been working on a benchmarking survey which is being sent to 1200 craft breweries across Canada. How did this project come together and who was involved?

Our board had been discussing the subject of inclusiveness in the context of what we could be doing in craft beer to make everyone feel welcome in our industry. Recent world events including those inside our own industry convinced us to examine ourselves more closely. We decided to focus on our workplaces to really understand the cultural climate there. Working with consultants we developed the survey that we're rolling out now. It’s the first step in a long process of discovery and education and change.

How do folks who aren't in ownership and managerial roles access this?

Every member brewery in Canada will be invited and encouraged to participate. The participating brewery will make the survey available to all employees. It will be a safe and confidential platform for everyone, from senior managers to individual contributors, to share their experiences and opinions.

How will this survey help create a safer and more inclusive industry?

One brewery at a time. The best way to achieve a safer and more inclusive industry is to start by understanding existing culture at its workplaces, and the best way to do that is to ask the people who work there. Our survey is designed to build awareness and understanding of DNI at the workplace level.

The CCBA is working with Jalapeño Employee Engagement in Vancouver. Their sophisticated survey platform uses technology and the science of psychology to interpret results and help brewery management determine next steps for their company.

What are the next steps after the surveys are completed?

Survey results at the workplace level will be shared in summary form to ensure that anonymity is protected. The data will be presented in a visually appealing and easy-to-understand format. It will allow each brewery to gain insights into their own cultural climate, and work toward maintaining their strengths while addressing any areas of concern. To assist our members the CCBA and its partners will identify resources or develop them if necessary, so breweries can start taking action immediately.

The CCBA will aggregate country-wide survey results for the purpose of prioritizing next steps for our initiative. These initial results will serve as a benchmark against which future results can be compared to determine rates of change and hopefully, progress. It’s a big initiative but an important one. Truly inclusive and equitable workplaces are critical not only for the positive impact on employees, but on the health of the business itself, and ultimately the entire industry.

Finally, craft beer has a high social profile, and we believe our efforts can serve as inspiration to other industries to help bring about positive change in Canadian society.

For more on the CCBA, click here.


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