National Film Board of Canada
Letter on Implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion

Summer 2021 update

Dear Ms. Charette,

I am writing in response to your letter of June 28, 2021, to report on the measures and actions taken by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) to implement the Call to Action on Anti-racism, Equity and Inclusion.

The NFB’s mandate is to create distinctive and original audiovisual works that reflect Canada and its diverse perspectives, and to share these works with Canadians and the rest of the world.

We collaborate with filmmakers and creators from across the country to produce outstanding documentaries, animated films and interactive and immersive projects rooted in Canadian experiences and realities.

Measures taken

The NFB unveiled this year its commitments and objectives toward diversity, equity and inclusion in a plan aimed at bringing about lasting and meaningful change, and creating an egalitarian, open and diverse organization.

Launched in February 2021, the plan contains tangible measures and objectives that will have repercussions throughout the organization’s culture, in particular on its recruitment, production and distribution methods.

The objectives outlined in our plan are to:

In concrete terms, the NFB is committed to ensuring that its programming equitably includes the voices of artists from underrepresented groups (Indigenous, Black, racialized and LGBTQ2+ communities, and people with disabilities).

The NFB is in the process of establishing a formal dialogue and feedback process in order to include the perspectives of directors and co-producers from underrepresented identities across the country. Priority actions include ensuring that creators from underrepresented identities are included on the various NFB Creation and Innovation committees.

Additionally, in its plan to redefine its relationship with Indigenous Peoples, the NFB made a commitment to implement strategic and concrete actions that will respond to the work and recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the concerns of Indigenous creators regarding systemic inequities in Canada’s current production environment.

One of the commitments in this action plan is to ensure that Indigenous‐led production at the NFB represents a minimum of 15 percent of our overall production spending.

In practical terms, the NFB has committed to:

The NFB also signed up for the 50–30 Challenge in January 2021, a Government of Canada initiative for companies and organizations that support diversity. The NFB is firmly committed to fulfilling the program’s objectives.

The NFB’s various actions are guided by the nine measures of the Call to Action. Recruiting two new senior managers, who will be central to all strategic decisions made by the organization, will be a catalyst in this regard.

Measures and results

In achieving the hiring targets announced in its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan, the NFB will:

NFB teams are collaborating on and taking part in various initiatives with organizations that represent equity-seeking groups, as well as with underrepresented communities in Canada’s audiovisual industry, to increase the organization’s sensitivity and openness to diversity, equity and inclusion issues.

Such actions allow us to plan equitable programming that includes the voices of artists from underrepresented communities, and to help ensure that these voices resonate and connect with a growing number of people across the country and around the world.

The NFB is also tapping into the multilingual capabilities (other than English and French) and the cultural skills and expertise of its workforce (including external freelancers and partners) in its production and distribution of audiovisual works.

Challenges and barriers

We have encountered challenges and, quite obviously, are facing constraints in the implementation of the Call to Action. A shortage of executives and senior managers from underrepresented communities is a major obstacle in this matter.

To mitigate this situation, the NFB is ensuring that all of its directors general, directors, executive producers and producers are representative of Canadian diversity, and that they include members of underrepresented groups (Indigenous, Black, racialized and LGBTQ2+ communities, and people with disabilities) at all times.

To achieve this objective, starting in March 2021, at least half of new hires must come from these groups.

Response from staff

We have engaged our workforce in implementing the Call to Action.

In focus groups on systemic racism, our employees communicated that they felt as though there was a glass ceiling, limited career-advancement options and different treatment by managers.

To remedy this matter, we paid special attention to this situation in developing our plan. Engaging our workforce has hinged on the following initiatives and working groups:

Maintaining momentum

With its 2020–2023 Strategic Plan, the NFB wants to be an agent of change and a leader in its field by setting some of the highest goals in terms of diversity and inclusion.

Many of the actions set out in this plan will help maintain momentum and address the challenges that have been identified.

To this end, our priorities for the coming year are as follows:

Our programming already reflects our relationship with BIPOC or otherwise diverse artists. But we have much further to go, which is why we intend to:

To this end, we are being more dynamic in our search for new talent by moving outside of our usual circles:

Additionally, the NFB is working to implement new self-identification methods and establish respectful, clear, practical and transparent data-collection mechanisms to ensure that all service contracts are accessible to a wide range of people and businesses with diverse backgrounds. These measures will allow us to respectfully monitor, and work toward improving and reaffirming, our commitment to increasing representation from artists and partners from equity-seeking groups.

This, in a nutshell, is what the NFB is doing in various areas to implement the Call to Action on Anti-racism, Equity, and Inclusion.

I remain available to provide any further details you might find helpful.

Yours sincerely,

Claude Joli-Coeur
Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada

Data annex

Performance Indicators



Employment equity (Self-identification)

Real (06/30)

Real (03/31)




Indigenous People



Persons with disabilities



Visible minorities



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