Shawn Bolshin

“Our bank has taken bold and concrete steps to remove barriers for both employees and clients helping them turn their ambition into a reality.”

Lee’s job requires him to review documents with clients and to travel for meetings in different locations. “The bank is such a big organization, it’s like a city within itself,” says Lee, who has 5 percent vision in each eye.

For most of his career, Lee has relied on his white cane, a good memory and his team members. As part of a pilot program run by CIBC in 2019, he was able to help test a new technology called eSight glasses. Made in Canada, the eSight glasses have micro-cameras embedded in the frames which display on screens within the device, magnifying a user’s field of view. “The glasses are extremely helpful and have given me more confidence because I can now perform my job at the best of my ability,” says Lee.

Working to remove barriers for employees is an integral part of the bank’s broader commitment to inclusion and diversity. Since 2017, CIBC has exceeded its annual goal of hiring 500 persons with disabilities and has invested in a range of programs that support team members living with disabilities, empowering them to thrive. “We want a workforce that reflects the diversity of our clients because that allows us to create more inclusive products and services that support a wide range of experiences and abilities,” says Catherine Tunney Braeken, CIBC director of client accessibility.

In 2019, CIBC also updated its employee and client forms to include a “non-binary” gender option. This was paired with new training for employees to help them spot unconscious bias in client interactions. “We’re creating an environment where we understand and celebrate our clients’ uniqueness,” says Braeken. Reflecting and understanding clients through employee initiatives is key to CIBC’s business strategy.

“Whether it’s getting advice at a banking centre, using an ATM or connecting through a mobile device, every touchpoint is an opportunity to create an experience that is welcoming and inclusive of all people,” says John Strevel, CIBC senior vice-president, client experience.