Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
Letter on Implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion

Summer 2021 update

Dear Madame Charette,

It is my pleasure to respond to the former Clerk’s Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service. I have often reflected on his timely message to public service leaders and how well it reinforces our efforts—as an Agency and executive team—to promote an inclusive work environment at the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC). We recognize the long-term commitment that is needed to make progress. We also recognize the importance of visible leadership and the need to take concrete actions. We welcome this opportunity to report on our efforts and progress to date.

In May 2020, I became the first FCAC Champion for Diversity, Inclusion and Bilingualism. Over the past 18 months, we have explored how to engage FCAC employees on these issues, and have taken steps to increase the awareness, understanding and knowledge of diversity and inclusion at all levels of our organization. It has been rewarding for me to work closely with my colleagues to foster a diverse, accepting workplace culture. Demonstrating personal commitment to these values has been a critical part of our plan. It has helped us move beyond good intentions and find ways to make a real difference.


Of the 9 actions outlined in the Call to Action, we have focused on the following 3.

1. Committing to personally learning about racism, reconciliation, accessibility, equity and inclusion, and fostering a safe, positive environment where these conversations are encouraged throughout our workplace

We have explored opportunities to bring different perspectives to our Agency and use them to spark engagement and discussion. We pursued the activities described below in recognition of the fact that learning and dialogue are foundational to effective action and change.

In November 2020, about half of FCAC employees attended a learning session delivered by Simon Brascoupé, Anishinabeg/Haudenausanee – Bear Clan. The session focused on Indigenous cultural safety, healing and reconciliation and the role that organizations like ours can play. He emphasized that the best first step is to learn the history and issues of those who face systemic discrimination. This was a key point that resonated with me.

Taking inspiration from Mr. Brascoupé’s talk, in February 2021, I launched the FCAC Diversity, Inclusion and Bilingualism Book Club. The idea is simple: each quarter, we choose a topic and encourage employees to read a book that relates to it. We provide a list of potential titles available in both French and English.

Our first book club meeting took place during Black History Month—an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of Black history in Canada. I kicked off the discussion by sharing my thoughts about Desmond Cole’s The Skin We’re in: A Year of Black Resistance and Power and posing questions for reflection. This led to an interesting discussion on ways to advance anti-racism, equity and inclusion. Employees shared their own reviews of books they had read.

Our second book club event took place in June 2021. FCAC employees read passages from books by Canadian Indigenous authors and shared their personal reflections. I read an excerpt from Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian. Our third and most recent meeting focused on the pride community, and featured guest author Michael Smith. He read from his memoir, My Body Is Yours, and led an engaging discussion. The conversation was personal and included candid sharing of lived experiences.

Our Diversity, Inclusion and Bilingualism Book Club provides an excellent opportunity to have open discussions in a safe and welcoming environment. We emphasize the importance of learning from each other. All participants have equal opportunities to speak and are encouraged to share their opinions freely.

In addition to these efforts, we have taken steps to recognize our diverse communities through internal communications, specific events and fun activities. For example, for Asian Heritage Month in May, we invited Senator Thanh Hai Ngo, the first Vietnamese-Canadian appointed to the Senate, to join us at our employee town hall. He gave an inspiring talk about his experiences with discrimination and bias as a refugee in the 1970s.

2. 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

While our book club meetings are chances for informal learning, we also recognize the importance of formal training to support our employees and equip our managers to address barriers to inclusion. To that end, during the first quarter of fiscal year 2021–2022, we arranged for the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) to deliver bilingual sessions on diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias. The sessions were mandatory for all executives and managers. We also arranged for training on unconscious bias for employees, and nearly 38% participated. I made introductory remarks at each session to underline their importance.

To empower employees to speak up, at the end of January 2021, I introduced virtual “open door” office hours. On the last Friday of each month, FCAC employees are invited to participate in short, informal, one-on-one drop-in sessions with me. I am experimenting with this approach to promote a welcoming and collegial culture, recognizing that the pandemic has limited our opportunities for casual exchanges. It is important to me that employees have an informal venue for speaking up about issues that are important to them, including those related to bias and discrimination.

We have also engaged in an ongoing review of our human resources and recruiting policies to identify and address barriers to inclusion. As part of this effort, we are about to enter the consultative stage with our Policy on Accommodation, which will better equip managers in addressing issues that employees (or prospective employees) may face. As a result of this policy, we expect that:

3. Including voices from diverse backgrounds in the identification of systemic racism, discrimination and barriers to inclusion, and the design and implementation of actions to address them

FCAC’s governance structure is designed to include diverse voices in all aspects of its operations, including identifying and responding to systemic discrimination. We have a Workplace Advisory Committee (WAC), which represents the voice of employees, and it is expected to consult meaningfully with branch employees and enable our Executive and Management Committees in making informed decisions. As branch ambassadors, WAC members are expected to gather input and feedback from employees at all levels. By engaging in transparent 2-way communication and seeking out diverse perspectives from employees at different levels, we can better harness the diversity of our talent. The WAC also supports me in my role as Champion for Diversity, Inclusion and Bilingualism.

The WAC recently led employee engagement sessions to update FCAC’s 3-year Public Service Employee Survey action plan and inform the development of other plans. One of these sessions focused on diversity and inclusion. I met with committee members after they had compiled the feedback. Some of the recommendations we can act on include:

We will refine and approve these recommendations through our normal governance process. We expect to include them in our 2021–2024 Employment Equity, Diversity and Inclusion action plan, which we are developing now.

Measurement and results

We use employment equity data to monitor and measure our progress on advancing diversity and inclusion. We share these results internally (for example, on our intranet) and externally through our annual report.

As a small organization, we rely on the results of our Public Service Employee Survey for information about how our employees experience our workplace. In 2020, 89.3% of FCAC employees completed the survey (compared to 60.6% in the overall public service), which I believe demonstrates their level of engagement with the survey topics. However, because of our relatively small workforce (approximately 175 employees), interpreting results for particular groups or sub-groups can be challenging.

That said, our results on questions related to diversity and inclusion were consistently more positive than for the public service overall:

Our results on anti-racism were on par with or higher than those for the public service overall:

In addition, we regularly request employee feedback through evaluation forms after training events. The qualitative comments we have received from executives and managers on the diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias training we provide indicate that they appreciate the chance to learn about the dimensions of diversity and acquire strategies to manage bias.

We also regularly receive informal feedback from employees. As an example, employees used the chat function during Senator Ngo’s virtual presentation to note that they found his life experiences to be inspiring and an “incredible addition” to the Agency’s May town hall. As well, employees participating in our book club sessions appreciated the discussions and book recommendations.

While we recognize that there is room for improvement, feedback from the Public Service Employee Survey employee engagement sessions indicates that we are moving in the right direction. Our 3-year Employment Equity, Diversity and Inclusion action plan will establish more performance measures to help us understand the employee workplace experience. We will monitor and report on our progress through our governance structure.

Challenges and barriers

I am pleased at the progress the Agency has made in raising the awareness of anti-racism, equity and inclusion over the past 18 months. We have benefited from the formal training we have undertaken. However, I believe that some of our greatest inroads were made when employees came together informally to learn from each others’ experiences and when special guests shared their unique perspectives on inclusion and diversity.

Because we are a small organization, it is difficult to establish internal formal networks while still respecting employee privacy. As such, we encourage employees to participate in diversity and inclusion initiatives in the wider public service and to pursue informal engagements on their own initiative.

We are in the very early stages of our journey. We are still establishing a foundation by developing policies, guidelines and procedures. We are moving toward being more proactive so we can undertake intentional and purposeful actions. To that end, we plan to initiate employment systems review in 2021–2022, along with a strategic human resources plan.

Two strategies that have helped us increase the number of employees from under-represented groups are targeted recruiting and developing a hybrid office model that allows for remote work and enables us to recruit employees who live beyond the national capital region. Together, these approaches are widening and diversifying our pool of candidates.

With respect to Agency-specific recruitment approaches:

In 2021–2022, our Human Resources Operations Branch requested referrals from the Indigenous Career Pathways. Unfortunately, this was unsuccessful. We recognize that we may need to invest more time in building relationships with organizations that can provide us with referrals of Black, Indigenous and other racialized candidates.


I trust that the information that I have included in this letter will demonstrate my commitment to taking concrete steps to advancing anti-racism, equity and inclusion at FCAC. Having fully embraced the role of Champion for Diversity, Inclusion and Bilingualism, I feel that I have established a strong foundation that can support meaningful progress.

I believe that the adoption of our Employment Equity, Diversity and Inclusion action plan will assist us in our way forward by establishing concrete goals, accountabilities, timelines and expected results.

If you need more information about our progress to date, or clarification regarding anything in this letter, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Judith Robertson
Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Data annex

In fiscal year 2020–2021, 28 employees joined FCAC (not including students, casuals, interchange employees, part-time workers and Department of Justice employees). We increased the proportion of visible minorities in our workforce by 2.5%. We cannot report the specific numbers because of the need to suppress data to protect confidentiality when the numbers are five or less. This affects not only our ability to report on groups and sub-groups, but also on occupational categories (e.g. executives, managers).

Percentage Representation of Employment Equity Groups at FCAC as of March 31, 2021


Workforce availability %

FCAC representation %




Visible Minorities



Persons with Disabilities



Aboriginal Peoples



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