Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada
Letter on Implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion

Summer 2021 update

Mr. Shugart,

I want to thank you for your timely message. I have provided your message to employees within my organization and invited them to take the time to read and reflect on your Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion. In addition, on June 6th of last year, I personally sent the attached message to them on the impact of Racism on Canadian Black and Indigenous people in the context of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations and renewed attention to police brutality which is particularly significant to our mandate.

The Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada is a micro-organization which provides independent oversight of the Military Police. Our small size is our strength as it allows us to engage every employee on key issues such as racism, equity, inclusion and mental health.

I would like to begin by acknowledging the role of our Diversity Champion and the commitment of our senior management team to this issue. Under their leadership, we have held and we continue to hold many awareness events and send messages to all employees:

We consider issues of racism and equity in mandatory information sessions on topics such as mental health, harassment and violence in the workplace. Moreover, we are mindful of the diversity of our employees in planning events in order to be as inclusive as we can. For example, in 2018 when National Public Service Week (NPSW) occurred during Ramadan, the MPCC decided to defer its employee activity to ensure that employees observing Ramadan would be able to fully participate.

In addition, our management team exemplifies diversity in faith, race, language, sexual orientation and gender. Their openness to sharing those aspects of their personal lives with all employees enriches our organization, establishes trust with employees and helps make the MPCC a safe workplace. Our employees can bring their “whole self” to work.

From a staffing perspective, the MPCC has taken action to ensure we maintain a diverse workforce and to provide tools for managers to hire and promote from a diverse group of candidates. The MPCC Human Resources Plan recognizes that a diverse workforce is a strength for the organization and establishes that employment equity data may be used in selection decision to not only increase representation, but to take into consideration future needs, such as for succession planning.

Over the last year, we have also been examining systemic barriers in our staffing processes and started to adopt a “mindful staffing approach’’. This is achieved by measuring and tracking employment equity group data at every stage of the selection process. Tracking how different employment equity groups are impacted at each stage of the selection process has forced us to question our methods, approach and selection tools to identify potential bias. As an example, during one indeterminate process we noted that a relatively higher percentage of employment equity group members had been screened out at the initial screening of resumés. Therefore, the Head of Human Resources required that human resources carry out a secondary screening which included a team member from an employment equity group. This resulted in the screening in of additional applicants from those groups. More recently during the review of student applications, we realized that no candidates from employment equity groups had been selected in our first review. We decided to review our screening method which led to more diversity in our pool of candidates. In fact, at the end of the process, the best applicant turned out to be one of the students initially screened out. Following these experiences, we have decided to formalize this “mindful staffing approach” by creating a tracking tool and including it in our standard operating procedures.

In the delivery of our mandate, military police oversight, we have added a component in our initial internal review of files to consider whether the underlying incident raises any issues related to grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act. This is done regardless of whether it was explicitly raised by the complainant. This puts an onus on the MPCC to be alert to underlying racism in police conduct.

The MPCC has also established a three-year Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) strategy in support of the Federal Government’s April 2016 statement articulating a renewed commitment to GBA+.  All MPCC staff are now required to complete an online introductory course on GBA+.  Furthermore, in order to facilitate the collection of GBA+ information in the review of files at the MPCC, our office has been communicating with other similar organizations at the federal and provincial levels to learn the best practices in the collection of such information and how best to use it. The MPCC will also soon welcome a University Coop student who will work exclusively on the GBA+ project.

Overall, the MPCC has been working towards building anti-Racism, equity, and inclusion into all aspects of our work. We look forward to reading the letters from the other organizations so we can learn and improve what we are currently doing.

Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to demonstrate the many ways the Commission ensures that diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of our work. We will continue to reflect on how to improve our practices as well as our understanding on this important subject. As our Prime Minister has consistently said "diversity is our strength" and I could not agree more.

Your leadership on this issue is invaluable and I hope to work with the wider government community to remove systemic barriers and make the Public Service of Canada an environment free of racism and discrimination.

Hilary C. McCormack

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