Canadian Heritage
Letter on Implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion

Summer 2021 update

Dear Ms. Charette:

We are pleased to provide you with an update on our journey towards becoming a more inclusive, diverse and accessible organization. The Department of Canadian Heritage (PCH) is in a unique situation because a foundational component of our mandate is to promote diversity and inclusion through various policies and programs. Even though it may give us an advantage when it comes to reporting on our efforts in this area, we also acknowledge that we should, therefore, be held to the highest standards.

In the guidance you provided for preparing these open letters, you emphasized the importance of highlighting how our approach to advancing anti-racism, equity, and inclusion has changed over the past year. At a high level, the fundamental shift on which we have embarked is to move from a purely human resources perspective to making diversity and inclusion a pillar of our broader organizational culture.

New initiatives in priority areas

In our March 2021 response to Clerk Shugart, PCH identified three priority commitments on which to first focus our efforts:

Progress was made on these three commitments and we wish to highlight the key overarching initiatives that illustrate how we started doing things differently:

Learning and development

Learning opportunities are essential to changing our organizational culture, this is why we dedicated efforts to increasing awareness amongst PCH employees, but also contributed to learning for employees in other federal departments, with a specific focus on members of the management community. Here are some featured examples.


For the federal family

The Knowledge Circle for Indigenous Inclusion (KCII), which is also housed at PCH, launched three new initiatives in July 2021: a creation of a Career Roadmap and Learning Chart for Indigenous employees; establishment of an Indigenous Ambassadors and Speakers Circle; and delivery of Wellness Talking and Sharing Circles and guidance to support access to safe spaces grounded in culturally relevant and respectful guiding principles. These brought an important contribution on significant matters related to Every Child Matters and the unmarked graves tragedy, National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Measurement and results

We strongly believe that we must measure the progress we are making by going beyond merely tracking and reporting diversity and inclusion metrics. To be truly relevant, resulting data must produce useful findings to help guide the department in its growth, in its hiring practices and in its policy and program development and delivery. This work has started through our EDI Program Review and the EEDI Strategy.

Data, language and intersectionality will be important to consider when identifying barriers and in communications. We need to continue the discussion as a department and as a public service on how we collect data, who is identified, how they are identified (e.g., inclusive of gender diversity) and how they are engaged so their voices are heard.

Between Summer 2020 and Spring 2021, Canadian Heritage collaborated with a number of stakeholder organisations and all provinces and territories to develop and deliver a survey that would determine the impacts of the Emergency Support Fund (ESF). Survey results measured differing vulnerabilities and needs for emergency funding from over 5,000 ESF respondents across 16 diverse communities with questions to make intersectional analysis possible. Qualitative data provided us with an understanding of the impact of funds on diverse communities’ ability to develop and create programming and content, engage and support talent, maintain jobs and wages and improve accessibility to programming and activities.

Key challenges

While we are making incremental progress, our journey continues and it is not without bumps in the road. However, we are committed to drawing lessons at every step, to increase awareness and understanding and take the actions necessary to tear down barriers.

Access to disaggregated and current data would make it easier to have a more accurate portrait of our workforce and workforce availability. It is essential to recognize that data, language and intersectionality are important considerations when identifying barriers. We need to think of how we collect data to ensure that groups that are not adequately reflected are also engaged so their voices are heard.

We will need to continue to improve our outreach efforts when staffing positions, to ensure that job postings can reach and attract the best candidates and provide us with a diverse workforce that fully reflects the Canadian society that we serve.

Positive change requires a personal and professional commitment. The environment for equality requires deep engagement through learning (personal reflection through reading and training), intentional preparation for meaningful and respectful conversation followed by sustained, measurable actions and clear results. We recognize that we have more work to do, and we look forward to following up on these commitments.

Momentum and next steps

A key priority over the next year will be to implement and deliver our recently launched initiatives, such as the previously mentioned EEDI Strategy and the EDI Program Review.

We will continue to prioritize embedding reconciliation into the department, ensuring we take the lead in areas such as culture and language with Indigenous voices leading the way. This includes strengthening our relationship with the KCII.
In addition, we are developing a new Talent Management and Professional Development Framework aimed at giving everyone an equal chance to grow professionally. Consultations are underway with the following PCH employee-led committees prior to implementation: Committee on Employment Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Advisory Committee on (Dis) ability, Committee for Racialized Communities, Indigenous Working Group, LGBTQ2+ Committee.
We look forward to our ongoing discussion on this important issue. We thank you and Clerk Shugart for the leadership you both are demonstrating in making the Canadian public service more representative of Canadian diversity and more responsive to all Canadians.

Yours sincerely,

Isabelle Mondou
Deputy Minister
Canadian Heritage

Gina Wilson
Deputy Minister, Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, and Senior Associate Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage

Data annex

Hires and departures in 2020–2021



People with (dis) abilities


Racialized groups



























Hires—EX positions









Note: The analysis of our data is based on the 4 designated groups (people with disabilities, women, Indigenous people and racialized groups).
[1] Some data are less than 5; these data have been masked to maintain confidentiality.
Hires is defined by the number of employees added to the workforce during the fiscal year which may be more than one staffing action per person per year. It includes:

  • executives
  • indeterminate employees
  • term employees – 3 months or more
  • internal and external movements through advertised/non-advertised process
  • deployment
  • priority appointment
  • bridging
  • promotion.

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