Library and Archives Canada
Letter on Implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion

Summer 2021 update

Dear Colleague,

Thank you for your message dated June 28, 2021, requesting a letter on the implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service, which the Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet issued on January 22, 2021.

At Library and Archives Canada (LAC), management and employees are committed to fostering a healthy, respectful, inclusive, safe and modern workplace. Our organization is transitioning and working on reimagining the future of LAC, keeping in mind our two priorities: service transformation and digital optimization. Not only will this initiative define our goals and future orientation, it will also guide our decision-making processes, influence our future projects, incorporate diverse perspectives and ideas for a more inclusive workplace, and moreover, gradually change LAC’s organizational culture.

To facilitate these changes in a sustainable manner, LAC has implemented a new structure and new sector head-level job descriptions have been developed and shared with all employees. Each sector head will be accountable for ensuring that LAC is a welcoming, inclusive and respectful place for all Canadians, and that our services to racialized and marginalized peoples are adapted to their specific needs and supported by strong cultural competencies.

LAC has in place a Diversity and Employment Equity Action Plan as well as a Diversity and Inclusion Committee. The Committee supports the Diversity, Inclusion and Multiculturalism Champion to further promote equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It also supports multidisciplinary working groups to address initiatives such as Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) and accessibility.

The Diversity and Inclusion Committee plays a key role in raising awareness within the workplace. It uses various internal communications tools to recognize and promote commemorative dates and months that focus on marginalized and racialized communities, as well as on Indigenous peoples. In a similar vein, the Committee also promotes the elimination of bullying, racism and gender-based violence. This fall, the Committee will begin holding monthly discussion sessions on diversity- and inclusion-related topics to foster employee discussion and dialogue.

The Committee, composed of employees who represent the diversity of the workforce and the designated groups, has declared March as LAC Diversity and Inclusion Month in order to highlight the value of individual differences. During that month, LAC encourages its staff to complete the Employee Self-Identification Form and to join LAC’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee to make a difference in their workplace. Another important inclusion initiative was implemented in June 2021: employees can now add their preferred gender pronoun to their email signature block.

On June 28, 2021, LAC’s Management Team approved the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation Recruitment and Retention Strategy.  This strategy has three interrelated strategic goals—recruitment, retention and cultural sensitivity—in order to foster an environment that is more welcoming to, and respectful of, Indigenous people. The strategy outlines a number of steps that LAC will take over the next three years in order to meet these goals. Employees were invited to read the strategy and consider how they could incorporate it into their daily work.  This strategy was developed by a working group that included First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation colleagues; HR specialists; and operational staff. The working group embraced the “nothing about us without us” approach to Indigenous-related work and a consensus-based decision-making model. This approach reflects LAC’s transition to becoming a more respectful and inclusive institution for Indigenous peoples.

Furthermore, the Management Team has established a working group with a mandate to develop a vision and a strategy on the future of work at LAC. As part of this task, LAC will reflect on how to take advantage of the new reality of remote work to better integrate diversity and inclusion principles into its corporate practices, services and programs. In order to complete this important work, an all-staff consultation is being planned for this fall.

Equally important, LAC has determined that all employees will be required to take three Canada School of Public Service courses on unconscious bias, as well as the school’s Work Place Harassment and Violence Prevention Learning courses. LAC has also offered staff training sessions on combatting racism and discrimination in the workplace, how to handle racist materials in archival collections, and an Indigenous learning series. These sessions were well attended and highly recommended.

LAC recognizes that there are systemic barriers that limit the recruitment and retention of members from all designated groups. We have promoted various existing recruitment programs for designated group members, as well as the Post-Secondary Co-op/Internship Program and the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) to target students, but there has been limited recent hiring due to the pandemic and current budget constraints at LAC. We strongly believe that the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation Recruitment and Retention Strategy will contribute towards removing barriers. Also, all current human resources policies and practices will be reviewed to ensure that they do not create barriers for designated group members and that they address the needs of diverse racialized and marginalized groups. Similarly, LAC will need to define how it will implement the Mentorship Plus Program for equity-seeking groups.

Finally, LAC will continue to monitor the implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service by using the annual Public Service Employee Survey, the Multiculturalism Report and related operational data.

I trust that this information illuminates the key steps LAC is undertaking to address this Call to Action, and I look forward to supporting our collective efforts to build a diverse, equitable and inclusive federal public service.

Yours sincerely,

Leslie Weir

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