Our commitment to anti-racism
Throughout our history and still today, far too many people and communities in Canada and around the world face systemic racism and racial discrimination. The murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, the tragic treatment of Joyce Echaquan on September 28, 2020, and the rise in anti-Asian attacks in Canada have highlighted the impacts of systemic racism on Black, Indigenous and racialized peoples. These incidents are not singular, and they are not limited to these racialized peoples.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recognizes the presence of racism in Canada and within our own organization. As part of the Government of Canada, we have a responsibility to take meaningful and lasting action for our employees, our clients and Canadians. That is why IRCC is actively working to achieve racial equity, reaffirming that diversity is our strength.
In addition to supporting the Call to action on anti-racism, equity, and inclusion in the Federal Public Service, the following Anti-Racism Value Statement is our pledge and commitment to significantly advance our efforts on anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion. It is our way of demonstrating our dedication to advancing racial equity for our employees and for our clients. It is just one step in a long series of steps to bring real and lasting change and ensure our actions speak louder than our words.
- That it is time to reinforce our efforts to put a stop to racism with a renewed sense of energy, conviction and courage.
- That diversity enriches Canada through a vast array of social and economic contributions.
- That our mandate is central to a strong and diverse Canada, so we must hold ourselves to the highest possible standards for programs, policies and client service being free from any racial bias.
- In a workplace culture that is inclusive, and a workforce that represents Canada’s diversity, at all levels of our organization.
- That addressing the legacy of racism requires sustained action, and is every employee’s responsibility.
- That racism against Indigenous Peoples, Black people and racialized groups has persisted over time; it exists to support, reinforce and build upon supremacy of one group over many. In our society, this is the elevation of (the) white people (or settler groups) above everyone else in many areas of Canadian life. The inertia continues to be upheld by access, privilege and indifference.
- That colonialism, through our immigration system, has had an impact on Indigenous Peoples.
- That global events, such as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Asian communities, fuel the rise of hate crimes in Canada. This has a profound effect on the safety and mental health of our racialized clients and employees.
- That the experiences of many Indigenous Peoples, Black people and racialized groups intersect with sexism, ethnocentrism, classism, homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and other forms of discrimination, such as those experienced by persons with visible and non-visible disabilities. These intersections exacerbate an already difficult and in some cases precarious existence.
- That, despite efforts and some progress made, IRCC has not yet achieved a fully diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace. Black employees remain in entry-level positions, and Indigenous employees, as well as employees from racialized groups, are not sufficiently represented at the executive level.
- That many of our staff, as expressed in town halls, focus groups, trust circles and surveys, experience racism in the workplace, feel it impacts their career advancement and lack trust in senior management to address this.
- That our fight against racism happens in solidarity with our fight against all forms of inequity.
- That our renewed focus on anti-racism today builds on the tireless efforts of many unsung heroes who have long contributed to the fight against racism and all forms of inequity.
- That racism spans beyond hate; it includes unconscious and unintended actions.
We resolve to
- Actively promote anti-racism and communicate expectations and outcomes to generate positive change in the culture of IRCC.
- Proactively engage in dialogue that normalizes discussions of racism and systemic barriers.
- Be accountable and transparent through the collection, use and dissemination of disaggregated and race-based data, and through reporting on progress and outcomes.
- Identify and address systemic discrimination and barriers within all policies, programs and initiatives.
- Ensure that Black, Indigenous and racialized employees have fair and equitable access to career advancement and opportunities.
- Ensure representation of Black, Indigenous and racialized employees in decision- and policy-making bodies to include diverse perspectives in decision-making (including executive tables, advisory councils, occupational health committees and other horizontal committees).
- Support and strengthen diverse employee networks to build a sense of belonging.
- Create safe workspaces for all Black, Indigenous and racialized employees, and other marginalized groups, including those with intersecting identities, where they can be their authentic selves and safely raise issues without fear of reprisal.
- Partner with external equity-seeking groups and organizations to enrich our approach.
- Celebrate positive actions and contributions that promote racial equity at IRCC, discourage actions that reflect or condone racist behaviour, and hold individuals accountable for harmful behaviour.
- Sustain our efforts to eliminate systemic racism to ensure long-lasting change.
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