Coming together and supporting our neighbours in challenging times is the Canadian way. And now more than ever, the entire KPMG in Canada team is committed to helping Canadians navigate this crisis and hopefully come out stronger on the other side. Here's how our people are working to make a difference.
The pandemic has changed so many lives. It’s brought about hardships and amplified challenges. But for me, it’s also brought about a change of mindset. I’ve realized there’s a much bigger world out there, with people who need kindness and support. Just like I once did.
When I first moved to Canada from China in ninth grade, I relied on after-school programs to help me find my way and adapt to the new culture. So, when COVID shuttered schools just two months after I started working with KPMG, I was inspired to hear about KPMG’s work with the Toronto Foundation for Student Success (TFSS). They had a program called Food for Kids to help students missing much-needed meals at school; I knew that’s where I wanted to help.
Working as part of a team, I helped create a digital solution to provide grocery cards to children in underserved communities, so that parents could supplement their budgets and buy meals for their kids who were now learning at home. When we piloted the program, TFSS thought that they would have enough funds to deliver about 3,500 grocery cards. The program quickly evolved into something bigger, and between spring and summer of 2020, $5.7 million in grocery cards were delivered to children in need.
When we hit the 4,000 card mark, I turned on the evening news and saw a student’s drawing with the message “Thank you, snack people.” That was the moment I realized the impact we were having on our communities. In a way, despite the isolation we’ve all faced, this experience has made me feel closer to the world and my community, more than ever before. I got involved to give back, but I came away with a new purpose - to focus my professional work on making an impact.
What started as a volunteer initiative at KPMG to help children who depended on meals at school quickly grew into something much bigger. Through the digital platform we developed with TFSS, we were able to help facilitate providing 3.3 million breakfasts to 110,000 students from 600 schools across Toronto. And we’re now expanding the use of the platform to similar programs in other provinces and continue our support. For us, this project highlights the power of technology and of people working together to build a better future.
It’s March. And I don’t know it yet, but this is the last time I’ll be sitting in my office for a long time. Our lead partner waves us into his office, and we all gather around. “We’re going to be working virtually for the next little while,” he announces, letting the news sink in. “But we’ll be busy launching a special COVID task force to support our clients, and we’ll be needing a few volunteers to help build it.” My hand immediately flew up.
That was the beginning of one of the most stressful, exhilarating and rewarding projects of my career.
I’ve always wanted to do work that really matters. Work that makes a difference. And this was my chance to be a part of something bigger, helping develop and implement a strategy to support our clients as they faced a real threat to their businesses.
I’ll never forget one of the first clients I collaborated with: a Quebec-based retailer with a strong regional presence. The COVID restrictions had forced them to close their doors, but they’d already made significant inventory commitments. So, we worked with them to help them tap into government relief programs when they needed it most. I felt so proud to play a role in helping them weather the storm—and hopefully come out stronger on the other side.
Our Montreal office launched a COVID task force in March 2020 to help small and medium businesses in Quebec. This taskforce was one of several across the country working tirelessly to support businesses across Canada navigate the crisis.
We have been there at every step to help businesses redesign operating models, adapt to remote working, secure government funding, and much more. We believe local businesses are foundational—and the future—of our communities. And we continue to do all we can to help them not only survive, but thrive.
There are people in life I’ll never forget. One of them was a woman I met right before the world shut down. She reminded me of a time when I needed help too.
I was born and raised in Nigeria and lived in Belize for a decade before moving to Canada with my family four years ago. When we landed, we only knew one person in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, so this is where we made our new home.
As a newcomer, I remember navigating a lot of new experiences as I embraced my new Canadian life, including filing my taxes for the first time.
Fast-forward to 2020, I’m a co-op student with KPMG and I hear about a Food Banks Canada initiative KPMG is taking part in, setting up volunteer tax preparation clinics to help food bank users file their tax returns. This was my chance to take what I had learned and the opportunities I was given to give back.
There was one woman I helped that I will never forget. As I did her intake, she told me about her approach to financial management; food for her kids comes first, always. But on this day, she had to sacrifice her meals to fill up her car with gas to make the 140-km trip to the tax clinic. I remember the feeling of those sacrifices. I remember worrying if my family and I would be ok when we first arrived here. But day by day, we made our way. Now this community is our extended family, and I want to give back. I want to use my skills and talents for the betterment of my community.
In 2019, KPMG in Canada and Food Banks Canada began piloting volunteer tax clinics. The initiative is part of the Canada Revenue Agency’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP). For many foodbank users, this is an important service as their access to government funding depends on them correctly filing their taxes.
The KPMG team is committed to continuing this work, helping build processes and develop technologies to speed up the tax filing process, improve financial literacy, and volunteer time to help food bank users file their tax returns—and we count on our team members like ‘Dele who make it happen.
In 2020, through this pilot program, volunteers from KPMG and the community filed tax returns supporting 1,964 people. Since then, KPMG and Food Banks Canada have continued to collaborate to build a virtual tax clinic solution to expand the support across the country. With plans to expand the program to other regions in 2021, we look forward to helping lift more Canadians out of poverty.
Six years ago, my life changed forever when both of my parents were tragically killed in a car accident. It was a shocking, traumatic experience and one that I don’t talk about much. But as emotionally difficult and painful as my time in the hospital was after their accident, I’ll never forget how kind and compassionate the doctors and nurses were to my family. I felt a deep gratitude towards all the healthcare workers for their support and compassion during the most trying time of my life.
In March 2020, just as my life had been so suddenly upended by my parents’ death, the pandemic struck, changing everything and everyone in an instant. Our KPMG team immediately sprang into action to support frontline healthcare workers in any way we could so they could focus on saving lives.
I have asked myself what it was about this particular work that felt so meaningful to me. I realized that my own experience with healthcare workers, and the deep respect and appreciation I have for them, stirred something in me. This vital work that we’re doing is the most meaningful I’ve been involved with in my 25 years at KPMG. It’s reaffirmed for me the importance of coming together in the community, for the community. It felt like a way to repay the doctors and nurses who helped me so much and has given me a sense that I’ve done right by my parents.
When COVID first hit Canada, our professionals came together to help healthcare workers, companies, communities and individuals to address the healthcare needs brought on by the pandemic. This evolved into a wide range of projects which have allowed our teams to put their skills and experience to use, supporting our frontline workers to saves lives during the pandemic.
When the pandemic hit, we all saw the strain our healthcare workers were facing. Not only were they working under impossible conditions, there were so many unknowns. So, when CPA Ontario asked if KPMG wanted to join their Accounting for Bravery program, our team didn’t hesitate to get involved.
The program’s mission was to rally professional services firms in Ontario to help give healthcare frontline workers one less thing to worry about by completing their 2019 tax returns… free of charge. My team and I quickly got to work on developing a software program that would allow for quick and easy information gathering from participants. This was a whirlwind project but has been some of the most meaningful and impactful work I have been part of. I am so proud to be amongst the 475 KPMG staff from across Ontario who volunteered for this initiative.
The culture at KPMG is rooted in performance but it’s about doing it in service of people, clients and communities. That’s what I witnessed while working on Accounting for Bravery. It felt so good to use my experience and skillset to give back to those who were giving so much of themselves. And I must give a shout out to all my teammates in this initiative and all the healthcare workers who’ve contributed to our community. Thank you—your kindness was an inspiration.
At the height of the crisis, KPMG in Canada was proud to support CPA Ontario’s Accounting for Bravery initiative. The program covered tax returns for healthcare workers including nurses, doctors, lab technicians, hospital cleaners and others, as well as their spouses and dependants. It was so heartening to see so many of our employees step up to help shoulder the load for our frontline heroes during such a hectic and challenging time in their lives.
Micaela, Prince George
Throughout my 14 years working as an accountant and advisor in KPMG’s Prince George office, I’ve built deep relationships within our close-knit northern BC community. Towards the end of 2020, several Indigenous communities I serve were hit hard by COVID-19. People I know and care about were losing loved ones — and the community leaders reached out to us for help.
My team and I immediately stepped up to do what we do best, helping take care of our client’s financial reporting obligations so they could focus on what matters: keeping their families safe and healthy. Here in the North, we know we can lean on each other. And we prioritize the wellbeing of every person and every community.
These challenging times have tested all of us, and they’ve confirmed our values and priorities. We live, play and work in the North, and our roots run deep.
Our KPMG professionals and teams are woven into the fabric of the communities they serve across Canada, from Victoria to St. John’s, and everywhere in between. With over 40 locations and 8,000 individuals making up our team across the country, we serve clients in 2,200 communities from coast to coast.
“Thank you. I was a Brown Bagging kid.”
I stared long and hard at the email I received from a co-worker at KPMG. This is someone I admire and look up to. It made me realize that hunger is everywhere. It affects kids and families from all different communities and backgrounds.
For several years, I have volunteered for Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids (BB4CK); an organization that feeds kids in need at schools. When the pandemic shuttered schools, these kids no longer had a place to go for a healthy lunch —maybe their only meal of the day. The decision was made to send grocery cards to those in need. I smile reflecting on the long evenings, three generations of women, my mother, my daughter and I, decorating and stuffing envelopes to help put smiles on faces and food in stomachs.
I am honoured to have been a recipient of a KPMG Impact award this year for my work with BB4CK. I feel fortunate to work for an organization that not only supports, but encourages and enables its people’s efforts in supporting local communities. I’ve always been a giver, and I am proud to work for an organization that shares my values.
Full stomachs, full hearts and whole communities are ongoing goals that I plan to pursue for the long haul. Because I believe students should only be hungry to learn—not for their next meal.
At KPMG, we believe in supporting our people, at and outside of work. We are passionate about supporting our local communities and encourage and recognize the employees that live these values every day. Amy’s ability to activate both her personal and professional network to source volunteers and donations is the type of ingenuity that makes us all proud. Amy’s dedication is inspiring to her team and KPMG as a whole.