Military Grievances External Review Committee
Letter on Implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion

Summer 2021 update

The Military Grievances External Review Committee (the Committee) is a micro-organization of 45 employees. The senior management team at the Committee has a ‘zero tolerance’ philosophy towards matters surrounding racism. I profoundly believe that creating a culture of inclusiveness starts at the top, with me, cascading down to management and to employees. To that end, I ensure I am familiar with good management practices on the subject. Just recently, I completed CSPS training ‘W095 -Unpacking Unconscious Bias’. The two Directors-general have signed the Oath of commitment to an inclusive and diverse workforce that does not tolerate racism, prejudice or discrimination. The commitment was to all employees at the Committee, to the public service and to the Canadian Armed Forces. This commitment encompasses the whole human being, in both their professional and personal lives, and this spirit of intent was communicated to all Committee employees.

The Committee went further by adding an accountability objective for managers in their performance objectives. It states the following:

"effective human resources planning within my unit to ensure barriers to inclusion and diversity are eliminated from recruitment and hiring practices in order to increase representation of under-represented groups"

Demographics of employment equity groups are monitored and presented at the Management Committee every quarter. The Committee thrives at having a representative workforce where inclusion is at the center of decision-making. Results from the Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) and our internal surveys reflect this inclusiveness.

Our commitment has stayed the course since inception and has involved an evolving and continuous awareness of issues affecting ostracized groups, including employment equity groups and the LGBTQ+. These issues have been discussed at all-staff meetings, addressed via messages from the President, internal blog postings and promotion of GC-wide initiatives on our Intranet. It also included proposed training sessions and benefitting from a guest speaker on mental health.

Nevertheless, the opportunity to inform, educate and change never ceases. The Committee is going further by running a series in September that involves messages to staff encouraging self-reflection and examination of personal beliefs and biases, including their understanding of intersectionality, via personal and sometimes hard-hitting questions. A session is planned in early October for employees to come together and share these introspections. Later in October, a Federal Speaker, who has suffered mental health issues due to racism, will share her life experience as a black person. She will initiate a discussion on how we can do better as public servants and seek to encourage employees to ask ‘the questions’. The goal is to humanize these experiences and sensitize our employees at a personal level, not only at a corporate one. A survey will be issued at the end of the fiscal year to measure changes in employees’ own reflections. Additional speakers will be invited to address issues faced by other employment equity groups later this year.

Inclusiveness was also reflected in an invitation sent this year by senior management to all employees looking for Champions on diverse issues including Equity and Inclusion, Official Languages, Well-being and Beyond 2020. GC organizational Champions’ roles are usually assigned to senior management positions. The Committee chose a different approach. The idea was to attract passionate and dedicated individuals into these roles, providing the occasions for employees from all groups and levels to get involved and drive the various initiatives. These opportunities allow the Champions, who report directly to the Executive Committee, to network outside the organization, gain meaningful experiences through substantial inter-departmental conversations, and, above all, have an audience with senior management.

We feel education and awareness are not enough. Although being a micro-organization limits the opportunities that larger organization may benefit from, the Committee is focusing on the positive: this allows us to have a close relationship with all our employees and we are taking advantage of it. We aim at challenging our core beliefs and supporting a continued reflection on how our thought processes, actions, decisions and words have a direct impact on our workplace, our colleagues and ourselves.

We will continue, throughout the coming years, to host new initiatives that not only keep the dialogue going, but also solidify the changes initiated and deepen them.

Yours truly,

Page details

Date modified: