Courts Administration Service
Letter on Implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion
Summer 2021 update
Dear Ms. Charette,
I would like to thank you and Mr. Ian Shugart for initiating this vital Call to Action on Anti- Racism, Equity and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service. As the recently appointed Chief Administrator of the Courts Administration Service (CAS), I confirm our commitment to taking decisive and concrete actions to advance anti-racism, equity and inclusion in the Federal Public Service.
You will find below detailed information on how CAS is implementing the Call to Action and, more specifically, what changes we have made to our management approaches in the past year to establish a solid foundation for us to continue to move forward in taking action.
In August 2020, CAS approved and implemented FACES: Anti-racism Strategy 2020-2025 (FACES). FACES establishes a vision where employees are provided with a work environment free of all forms of racism and discrimination, including systemic racism, unconscious biases, homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and xenophobia. The strategy centers on equitable treatment for all while supporting an environment where the mental health and well-being of all employees remain one of the top priorities. FACES also fosters a whole-of-organization collective approach and builds a foundation for long-term and lasting actions anchored on five guiding principles, which are:
- Community Collaboration;
- Accountability and Sustainability;
- Awareness, Education and Communication;
- Policy Research and Evaluation; and
Further, the following four of the nine Calls to Action were realized by CAS over the past year. The details of these achievements are outlined in the following pages.
- Committing to personally learning about racism, reconciliation, accessibility, equity and inclusion, and fostering a safe, positive environment where these conversations are encouraged throughout our workplaces.
- Combatting all forms of racism, discrimination and other barriers to inclusion in the workplace by taking action on what we have learned, empowering employees to speak up about bias and oppression, and better equipping managers to address these issues.
- Enabling and advancing the work of grassroots networks and communities within the Public Service by providing necessary resources and bringing them into discussions at senior executive tables.
- Including voices from diverse backgrounds in identifying systemic racism,
discrimination and barriers to inclusion and the design and implementation of actions to address them.
In the spirit of community collaboration, inclusion, and enabling and improving CAS's approach to addressing systemic and other racial inequities, CAS management and employees have worked with racialized and discriminated groups over the past year, including them as crucial partners with diverse perspectives in the implementation of FACES. In keeping with this principle of collaboration, CAS appointed an Anti-Racism Champion who has been responsible for leading the efforts to implement this strategy. To enable and advance the work of grassroots networks and communities, CAS also established its Chief Administrator Anti-Racism Consultation Group and Action Committee (CAARCAC), which acts as a diverse forum for employees to engage with the organization's leadership and help maintain ongoing discussions on combatting racism, while promoting diversity and inclusion. On October 21, 2020, the 26 members of CAARCAC were appointed, including two employee representatives for each racialized and discriminated group identified: Black, Aboriginal, Muslim, LGBTQ2S+, Asian, and Jewish. Membership also includes four regional representatives, three senior executives as well as a human resources representative. In the interest of fostering allyship, membership also includes two Canadian majority representatives. The committee is co-chaired by the Chief Administrator and the CAS Anti- Racism Champion.
The inaugural committee meeting of CAARCAC was held on November 10, 2020, and has been meeting quarterly. Since its inaugural meeting, the committee has realized a number of objectives that contribute to personal learning, combatting forms of racism and discrimination, enabling and advancing the work of the grassroots networks and committees and including voices from diverse backgrounds. More specifically, we have:
- Developed a Safe Space Policy. The policy ensures committee members and participants can engage in dialogue on racism, diversity, gender and other forms of discrimination and can express honest impressions, thoughts, and attitudes without fear of ridicule, judgment or reprisal. The policy will be tabled at the CAS Executive Committee for final approval in September 2021.
- Developed a Mandate Letter/Membership Participation Agreement, which outlines
members’ responsibilities as well as management’s commitment to allow employees time to carry out the work of the committee.
- Held discussions and put forward a number of proposals including:
- Increasing the number of racialized individuals in executive positions;
- Establishing and delivering compulsory training for management and employees on racism, gender and diversity and inclusion;
- Strengthening GBA+ analysis;
- Delivering presentations on Gender and Sexuality by a member of CAS’s LGBTQ2S+ community
- Establishing a “Policy on Inclusion and Diverse Identity” at CAS to facilitate employees bringing their “true identity” to work. For instance, such a policy would include the establishment of gender-neutral bathrooms;
- Addressing dress code concerns of Muslim employees wearing or wishing to wear Hijab; and
- Proposing a draft action plan to implement FACES which will include: reporting achievements in CAS’s Annual Report to Parliament; targeted mandatory training for managers and employees; increasing engagement of employees with senior management committees; increasing the multicultural nature of communications; and increasing our workforce representation via various means to better reflect the Canadian population.
Over the last year, the CAARCAC has been supported by several ad hoc focus groups, which provided essential advice on racism and discrimination, including anti-Black, anti-Indigenous, Antisemitism, and Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. As Chief Administrator, I believe that increasing awareness of the historical roots of racism and discrimination and their impact on racialized and discriminated communities is critical to the success of FACES. Through the committee’s Speaker Series, it has delivered a number of sessions, which were well attended. Below you will find an overview of these activities and objectives met.
Anti-Racism Awareness and Support for Racialized Employees:
- Support for Black Employees, July 8, 2020 – CAS Community Dialogue: Anti-Black Racism-in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Session facilitated by psychotherapist Richard Hansen;
- “CAS Community Dialogue: Anti-Racism and the CAS Community Check-In” (mandatory for employees) - delivered by psychotherapist, Richard Hansen, M.Ed.,R.P; and
- “CAS Community Dialogue: Anti-Racism and the CAS Community Check-In” (mandatory for managers and executives) - delivered by psychotherapist Richard Hansen, M.Ed.,R.P.
Black History Month - February 1 to March 1, 2021:
- Black History Month Speaker Series:
- “Black History-From Past to Present” with Sean Foyn; and
- “Finding Our Identity as Black Montrealers” with Titi and Beck.
Indigenous Heritage Month June 1-30, 2021:
- Launch of the Indigenous Heritage Month;
- “Lessons from Nature” – Discussion with Elder Albert Dumont;
- “Reconciliation Starts When?” – A Discussion with the Honorable Justice Favel, Federal Court;
- “The Power of Storytelling” – A Discussion with author Waubgeshig Rice; and
- I sent letters of support to Indigenous employees on the heartbreaking discovery of unmarked graves of the Cowessess First Nation at sites of former residential schools in Saskatchewan, and following the discovery of remains at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia.
Asian Heritage Month May 1-31, 2021:
- Panel discussion “Staying Connected with my Asian Identity and Culture in Canada with Madam Justice Susan Wong, and Anil Kamal, Taina Wong, Sonya Chelliah, and Josie Chan (CAS employees);
- “A Seat at the Table”: Conversation with Denise Fong, co-curator of the Chinese Canadian Museum’s inaugural exhibit. “A Seat at the Table” explored historical and contemporary stories of Chinese Immigration and Chinese Canadians in British Columbia and their struggles for belonging – using food and restaurant culture as an entry point. Participants learnt about diversity and resilience of the immigrant experience; and
- I sent a message of support for Asian Employees in light of the recent and ongoing rise in anti-Asian violence and racism in Canada and around the world related to COVID-19.
International Women’s Day:
- “Choose to Challenge” – CIPO-CAS International Women’s Day virtual presentation. I spoke about the challenges women face in the workplace, including systemic discrimination, by sharing some of the challenges I faced in my career and the lessons learned.
Pride Celebration July 1-August 23, 2021:
- Pride Launch Celebration – Justice Simon Fothergill delivered the opening remarks at the launch and presented an overview of the progress made by the Canadian Courts on LGBTQ2S+;
- "Queens at CAS" - National Pride Day performances by and discussion with Naomi Leone and Jezebel Bardot – Drag Artists, educators and ambassadors for diversity, equity and inclusion;
- Stigma, Health, and Contemporary Issues Facing LGBTQ2S+ Community; and
- Panel discussion on "Navigating the Public Service" with Ottawa's Mayor Jim Watson.
The Diversity and Inclusion Plan
In addition to FACES CAS Anti-Racism Strategy, we have drafted a Diversity and Inclusion Plan that will be ready for broad consultation in the coming weeks. It is an integrated plan, and sets the foundation for the way forward on all aspects of diversity and inclusion. The plan includes clear objectives and indicators to measure progress.
Although funding was secured in Budget 2021for one senior employee to lead and implement FACES: Anti-Racism Strategy and the Diversity and Inclusion Plan, the resource has not yet been hired. Given that we are a small organization, we will strive to develop partnerships with other organizations, including central agencies, to leverage best practices and share lessons learned, as much as possible.
Call to Action
In summary, the initiatives undertaken thus far have been successful. They have helped develop leadership skills and establish a sense of belonging and trust for CAS employees, regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, disability, sexual orientation or gender expression. I am also pleased to report that feedback from employees, members of the courts and management has been extremely positive. However, I remain cognizant that there is still much more work to be done and I remain committed to the efforts aimed at eradicating systemic racism and discrimination in the public service.
Based on the most recent data on the Treasury Board Distribution of public service of Canada employees by designated sub-group and department / agency - Members of visible minorities, I am proud to say that 23.5% of our staff are racialized. This percentage reflects the depth of our diversity, which is above the workforce availability estimate of 16.4% and the public service representation of 17.8%. More specifically, 6.3% of our employees are members of the black community in comparison to 3.5% for the public service. However, more efforts are needed to increase the indigenous people representation, which is 0.2% lower than the workforce availability estimate. Although women's representation is 65.6%, which is almost 13% higher than the public service, we still have to overcome a 2% gap. In addition, we still have to increase the representation of persons with disabilities, which will also contribute to the public service efforts to overcome their representation gap.
Based on 2020-21 internal data, racialized employees represent 23.5% of the promotions given and 70.6% of the employees promoted were women. In terms of arrivals and departures, racialized employees represent 15.3% of arrivals and 18.3% of departures. The reason behind this trend is yet to be determined. As for executives, we had a very low number of promotions within the organization without change to our executive representation. Based on the latest available representation data for our executive category (22 Executives), we have no gaps: (Persons with Disabilities – 4.5%; Racialized Employees – 9.1%; Indigenous Peoples – 4.5%).
It is also worth noting that we have a high number of upcoming vacancies in our Executive positions and indigenous, black and other racialized employees, and employees with disabilities will be supported through career development and talent management programs and prioritized for appointment. In addition, high-potential indigenous, black and other racialized employees, and employees with disabilities will be sponsored via leadership development programs to prepare them for leadership roles.
In conclusion, I remain committed to taking practical actions to ensure a solid basis for systemic change. Meanwhile, we continue to establish the strong foundation necessary to accelerate further concrete actions while developing baseline data for performance measures against which CAS's progress will be measured in implementing our strategies on diversity and inclusion. Our main focus for this coming year will be finalizing consultations, approving and commencing implementation of our 5-year Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan.
Darlene H. Carreau
Annex - Mobility Data for CAS Response to the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion
|Courts Administration Service Mobility Data for 2020-21 OR as of March 2020||% of Employees who self-identified as a member of the employment equity groups:|
|Proportion of employees who joined versus Left||0.5||0.8||0.5||0.9|
* Data does not include employees who are awaiting their pay file transfer.
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