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

Summer 2021 update

Dear Ms. Charette:

It is with great pleasure that I address this letter to you outlining the response of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to the Privy Council’s Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service.

We know that diversity and inclusion are fundamental to everything we do at the CNSC – strengthening safety culture, spurring innovation and collaboration, and supporting better decision making. We are all better when diverse voices are a part of the conversation. At the CNSC, greater diversity will ensure that we are equipped to achieve regulatory excellence and deliver on our mandate. As a result, we have taken a multifaceted approach in our efforts to foster and maintain an equitable, diverse and inclusive workplace. It is vital that we all play an active role and are allies to marginalized groups.

Reflecting on the past year, there have been many learning opportunities for us as an organization as we continue to navigate these unprecedented times. I could not be more proud of our organization and the work we are doing. Yet we know there is always more to do to ensure that our employees and leadership represent the broader Canadian population and we will not lose sight of this.

Our journey to create a safe, healthy and respectful organization has taken many paths. There have been many tangible changes across the organization that I am pleased to share with you. Below is a brief look at what we have achieved together, what we have learned and what is next for our organization.

What we have done

What we have learned

Our commitment to having an inclusive workplace means that we must ask questions respectfully, listen to responses without interrupting, and genuinely seek to understand the perspectives of others, recognizing that our own perspective is only one part of the story.

Last year, the 2020 PSES allowed us to seek feedback from our staff on a variety of topics, including diversity and inclusion. The survey featured 6 questions on diversity and inclusion, and 4 new questions on anti-racism. The addition of these new questions provided further insight as to how our staff perceive our culture and actions. The results were, for the most part, positive, demonstrating that our staff feel valued, respected, and empowered to speak about discrimination and racism in the workplace without fear of reprisal. The results also revealed that we need to improve how we support victims of discrimination, which is something our senior management team is actively addressing.

As we continue to combat racism in the workplace and champion equity and inclusion, we have identified the following challenges:

Where we are headed

As we continue to move our organization forward and prepare for the future, it is clear that we must put our people at the heart of our approach.

We have identified 5 key pillars to help drive our efforts:

With these pillars in mind, we are committed to:

In addition, we will continue all of the important work outlined earlier. Our ongoing support, engagement, and empowerment of staff to help our organization evolve will not stop.

As an organization, we remain committed to building on the momentum we have established towards creating a workplace that is inclusive and free from harassment and discrimination, one where all employees feel their best at work, can contribute using the full range of their talents, and are comfortable raising issues. 

For myself, I continue to listen and learn. As a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) female – especially in a male-dominated sector – I have had my own experiences with discrimination. I recognize that each perspective is different and only one part of the larger picture. I recently shared my thoughts with staff on the importance of education, noting that this is the best action we can take to combat racism and bigotry that is rooted in ignorance.

It feels to me as though the stars are aligning to effect real, sustainable change. While I believe we need to be realistic about the challenges that exist and those that lie ahead, we should still be bold in our aspirations. Now is the time to push forward and to bring a sense of urgency to our goals. We must continue to take concreteaction.

I thank the Privy Council Office for taking the initiative to challenge the Canadian public service in such an important way, a challenge that the CNSC is excited and ready to accept.

Rumina Velshi


What we have done, what we have learned, where we are headed

Our approach is rooted in the goals and objectives laid out in the CNSC Diversity and Inclusion Plan 2019–22. This plan was put in place to guide us in our response to the statutory requirements of the Employment Equity Act, as well as to help us reach higher with new commitments related to building an inclusive workplace that welcomes a diverse, representative and capable workforce. The plan was developed in consultation with CNSC staff and with the CNSC’s union representatives through the Nuclear Regulatory Group (NUREG) President, and was approved by our Executive Committee. It presents the following goals for our workplace:

Learning and ongoing communication

The launch of 3 employee-led networks – the Black Employees Network, the Indigenous Network and the Women in STEM Network – as well as our organizational learning activities and resources, have helped us move forward in our efforts to create a safe and inclusive work environment.

Initiatives and pledges



Public Service Employee Survey results

Employee systems review and gender-based analysis plus assessment

Because COVID-19 affects diverse groups of people differently, we undertook a gender-based analysis plus assessment in our efforts to support employees working from home and as part of our planning for the return to the workplace. The goal of the assessment was to ensure that we have policies and plans that are tailored to support everyone so that they are safe, healthy and comfortable during this period. This was the first gender-based analysis plus initiative of this magnitude for the CNSC. Through surveys, online forms and focus groups, CNSC staff had the opportunity to share their individual experiences anonymously.

The employment systems review (ESR) identified 4 areas in which we are doing well:

The results of the ESR and gender-based analysis plus survey on the return to the workplace identified areas in which we could improve:

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