We are sharing our expertise, leadership and resources to support the economic vitality and health of our cities and country overall. Examples in 2003 include producing research on critical urban policy issues such as affordable housing, helping Canadians deal with the devastating effects of crises and natural disasters like the forest fires in Western Canada, as well as fostering financial strength in all our communities through our lending activities.
As an Imagine Caring Company, we are one of the largest corporate contributors to Canadian charities and are committed to giving at least 1% of our annual domestic pre-tax profits on an operating cash basis. Our charitable giving program places a priority on three key areas closest to our hearts: children’s education and literacy, children’s health and the environment. The boundless community spirit of TDBFG employees was in full force as usual last year as thousands of staff actively volunteered their time and talents to charitable causes.
We are trying to do our part to address one of today’s most serious issues – environmental sustainability. Through the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, we sponsored and promoted over 1,000 initiatives in 2003 that helped protect and preserve the Canadian environment. Our commitment to the environment is also an integral part of how we operate within TD Bank Financial Group. As both a consumer of finished products, supplies and energy resources, and as a major lender, we’ve taken steps to incorporate environmental considerations in our business activities.
We are dedicated to making financial services a truly comfortable experience for our more than 13 million customers. Creating a more comfortable experience for our customers continued to be a priority in 2003, achieved in part through industry-leading hours of branch service, a company-wide emphasis on process improvements, and continuous monitoring of customer service issues through our Customer Satisfaction Index research. Specialized services have also been developed for customers with diverse needs such as small business, those with disabilities, and our multi-cultural and aboriginal communities.
We are committed to offering our employees a positive, supportive, healthy and rewarding workplace. To do so, we have developed a range of benefits and services that give employees flexibility in their work options, the ability to manage their changing work/life obligations, and access to development opportunities so they can achieve career satisfaction. We are focused on continually improving the work environment through workplace process improvements, plans to enhance diversity across our organization and by listening and responding to employee preferences through channels such as our organization-wide TD Pulse Survey.
We have a strong and independent Board of Directors committed to long-term shareholder value. The Board is led by a Chairman who is not an executive or former executive of TDBFG. While proud of our leadership position in corporate governance, we work constantly to meet new requirements and evolving best practices while ensuring our activities are clearly communicated to shareholders. Steps were taken in 2003 to further enhance our governance practices, including separating the role of Chairman and CEO and creating a new board-level committee focused on risk management.