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Muskoka Brewery, one of Ontario’s largest craft breweries, has been recognized with a Gold certification for gender parity by Women in Governance, a not-for-profit organization that is working to close the gender gap in the workplace and achieve parity at every level and in every industry. This certification is no small feat, requiring a detailed evaluation and questionnaire conducted by Accenture, Mercer and Willis Towers Watson. The certifications offered are Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Muskoka Brewery has been awarded the Gold certification, the first to do so in the craft beer industry and in manufacturing in Ontario.

Craft Beer and Manufacturing are predominantly male-dominated industries and Muskoka Brewery is looking to lead the charge for a much-needed change. This is not the first time Muskoka Brewery has been at the forefront of shifting norms in the industry. In 2016, they were the first brewery in Canada to be Living Wage Certified. Different from the minimum wage, a living wage is based on the principle that full time work should provide families a basic level of economic security above the poverty line. The living wage calculation includes the cost of living in the local community and social inclusion resulting in a decent quality of life and the ability to live healthier lives.

Muskoka Brewery’s workforce is currently 42% female with representation across every department as well as every level of management, including 3 seats on the Senior Leadership Team. It has been proven that businesses with more diverse decision makers report better financial performance and have a greater ability to produce innovative ideas that better reflect our consumers. “We became aware of Women in Governance and the Gender Parity certification through our connection with Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing. Brendan Sweeney and his team are strong supporters of our Ontario craft brewing industry and encouraged us in the pursuit for the certification. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion has been a top priority for my team for years now. From implementing new policies, to inclusivity training to redefining our recruiting and hiring processes, we have tried to find a better way forward from multiple, different angles. We are humbled and grateful to receive this certification, especially during our 25th anniversary,” says Kelly Watson, Director of Culture & Community.

In 2020, a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion committee was formed, and they have contributed to developing a zero-tolerance policy with our customers and employees alike as well as leading a community initiative for local businesses to display inclusivity signs to welcome all. Gender equity has been one of Muskoka Brewery’s top priorities but now they have set their sights on equity across all underrepresented groups. “We are so proud of the work we have done to lead in the craft beer community and the Muskoka region and hope that we can drive change in this industry but the work is not done. We have long-term objectives focused on increasing representation of underrepresented communities. We have been an authentic brand for 25 years and we want to ensure the changing consumer feels they are reflected and seen, not only through our employees but in the types of products we launch and in our brand,” says Todd Lewin, President of Muskoka Brewery.