Being an engaged corporate citizen has been central to our identity for over 140 years. Bell contributes to the creation of shared value
for the communities we serve, for the nation’s economy, and for society through our participation in many supply chains.
Bell strengthens communities across the country, through both the Bell Let’s Talk mental health initiative and a range of other community projects and sponsorships as well as the volunteer engagement of our team members. These initiatives not only support the communities involved, they also increase team engagement because they reflect the deeply held values of Bell team members. Our overall community investment was $41.7 million in 2020.
Bell Let’s TalkG R I 203-2
The theme of this year’s Bell Let’s Talk Day campaign was: When it comes to mental health, now more than ever, every action counts. Canadians and people around the world set all-new records for engagement in the mental health conversation on Bell Let’s Talk Day 2021, sharing 159,173,435 messages of support and driving $7,958,671.75 in new mental health funding by Bell. Bell’s total funding commitment now stands at $121,373,806.75, on track to our $155 million target.
As a part of the Bell Let’s Talk Day campaign in January 2021, Bell partnered with United Way/Centraide Canada to provide 11,000 mobile devices and SIM cards to charitable organizations to help those in the greatest need stay connected. This was in addition to more than 5,000 phones, tablets and SIM cards donated during the initial months of the COVID-19 crisis to hospitals, shelters and social service agencies on the frontlines providing support to Canadians.
For more information about how Bell Let’s Talk is making an impact for Canadian mental health, visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk
The 4 key pillars
In January 2021, more than 160 communities and organizations across Canada and around the world showed their support for mental health by raising the Bell Let’s Talk flag at city and town halls, military bases and schools. Students at 217 Canadian universities and colleges across the country also engaged in a variety of initiatives in their learning environments to promote student mental health. These activities and many more have helped change attitudes and fight the stigma around mental illness. Today, 82% of Canadians think attitudes about mental illness have changed for the better. Behaviours have also changed dramatically: In 2011, 42% of Canadians felt comfortable talking to a colleague, schoolmate or acquaintance about a mental health diagnosis. In 2021, 56% of Canadians indicated that they talk to friends, family members or colleagues about mental health. Additionally, 57% of Canadians reported having taken steps to take care of their own mental health.1Footnote: Nielsen Consumer Insights, telephone survey of 1,783 randomly selected Canadian adults conducted January 29 – February 16, 2021. Results are accurate to +/-2.3%, 19 times out of 20
CARE AND ACCESS
In July 2020, Bell announced the launch of a $5 million Bell Let’s Talk Diversity Fund to support the mental health and well-being of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour communities across Canada with inaugural donations totalling $500,000 to Black Youth Helpline and the National Association of Friendship Centres, and another $1 million to 8 organizations announced in January 2021. The new program is focused on supporting initiatives that increase access to culturally informed mental health services for racialized Canadians.
Announced in January 2021, a new $2.5 million Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Fund will support Canadian colleges and universities in implementing the National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students. A $500,000 investment will help expand the reach of Jack.org Chapters in hundreds of communities and equip Chapter leaders with training, mentorship and digital education tools to support the mental health of young people. A donation of $420,000 to the QEII Foundation will support the introduction of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation at the Nova Scotia Hospital and Valley Regional Hospital, enabling Nova Scotians to access life-changing treatment at no cost. A donation of $300,000 to the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation is supporting the launch of an unprecedented intensive ambulatory care pilot program for young patients across Québec who are being treated for an eating disorder.
The Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund has provided $13 million to 775 organizations nationwide since 2011, enabling them to improve access to mental health care, supports and services. Since 2013, the Bell True Patriot Love Fund has provided more than $2 million and over 100 grants to organizations across the country improving access to mental health care, including 5 programs in 2020 that are making a meaningful difference in the military and Veteran community during COVID-19.
Research holds the greatest promise to better understand treatments and solutions. Bell is investing in best-in-class research programs with the potential to have a transformative impact on the mental health and well-being of Canadians. In a new partnership announced in January 2021, the Bell Let’s Talk-Brain Canada Mental Health Research Program is accelerating Canadian brain research through a joint $4 million partnership with the federal government.
On average, mental health issues account for 30 to 40 percent of short-term disability claims and 30 percent of long-term disability claims in Canada2Footnote: Deloitte, The ROI in workplace mental health programs: Good for people, good for business, 2019 . Bell is committed to leading by example in our own workplace by implementing the voluntary Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace and is encouraging greater corporate engagement across Canada. For more details on workplace health initiatives, refer to the Mental health in the workplace in information sheet.
Team member giving
Bell supports our team members in a wide range of interests that go beyond the corporate focus on mental health. Through our Employee Giving Program, Bell matches donations that team members make to United Way/Centraide, the Canadian Mental Health Association and Canadian universities and colleges. Bell also provides grants to charities based on and in recognition of the volunteer time commitments of team members themselves. Through the Employee Giving Program, Bell team members and pensioners donated more than $2.2 million to charities in 2020.
Children and youth
Today’s young people face challenges that simply did not exist for earlier generations. Bell partners with a wide range of youth-oriented organizations such as Kids Help Phone, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (including Cybertip.ca), and MediaSmarts, as well as programs like Backpacks for Kids, RE*Generation, and Computers for Schools. Northwestel also creates lasting partnerships with youth initiatives in the North. For information on these partnerships, including needhelpnow.ca, the Cleanfeed Canada initiative and others, see the Helping and protecting children and youth information sheet in our Key documents section.
Arts and culture
Bell is proud to continue a long tradition of supporting Canadian arts and culture, working with a variety of partners to enrich the communities we serve through the encouragement of creative expression. This support ranges from a full roster of initiatives and festivals in the North to utility boxes being transformed into art. For information about supporting arts and culture, transforming Bell boxes into works of art, Bell Media’s support for cultural events, and tangible benefits funding projects, see the Supporting arts and culture information sheet in our Key documents section.
Supporting major festivalsG R I 203-2
Bell is proud to be a longstanding partner in many of Canada’s premier entertainment events – including the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival, Just For Laughs, the Festival d’été de Québec and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) – recognizing that these events build stronger communities, generate billions of dollars in consumer spending, and raise significant tax revenue for municipal, provincial and federal levels of government.
While COVID-19 resulted in many events being cancelled or postponed, organizations also worked closely with Bell to move forward with new online and virtual events in 2020. For example, TIFF and Bell Media launched the Stay-at-Home Cinema experience on Crave, and CTV also broadcast the TIFF Tribute Awards event for the first time to help Canadians share the experience of film from the comfort of their own homes in 2020. Crave also launched the SPRINT Gala Cinéma Movie series to showcase Québec-made films, and CTV Comedy Channel, along with Just For Laughs, broadcast a series of Crave original stand up specials to help raise funds for comedic performers struggling during the pandemic. Bell Media also continued working with other organizations and festivals – including Hot Docs, Cinemania, Inside Out and Reelworld – that pivoted during COVID-19 to present events online while also continuing to work with many of these same organizations on industry development programs important to all Canadians, including the LGBTQ and BIPOC communities.
Bell also partnered with Just For Laughs on a virtual festival in the fall and supported a range of other modified and drive-in events – including the Winnipeg Folk Fest at Home, the Festif de Baie-Saint-Paul, the Cavendish Beach Music Festival Drive-In and Ciné Parc Urbain in Vieux-Hull – as part of efforts to bring people and communities together in step with public health and safety requirements.