Office of the National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces Ombudsman
Letter on Implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion

Summer 2021 update

Dear Ms. Charette,

This correspondence summarizes the efforts the Office of Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces has taken to implement the Call to Action on anti-racism, equity, and inclusion in the Federal Public Service. Over the past 12 months, we have acted to remove barriers and create opportunities for equity-deserving groups, in line with the Call to Action.

1. Actions:

While creating a diverse and inclusive workplace has been a long-standing priority for our office, we acknowledge that we still have work ahead of us. The significant events that unfolded around the world in 2020, including the increased public focus on the systemic racism affecting many Black, Indigenous and racialized people, caused our office to become especially focused on anti-racism and inclusion. The Call to Action strengthened our efforts to effect positive change for equity-deserving groups and to drive diversity and inclusion within our organization. Over the past year, we have modified our approach to advancing anti-racism, equity and inclusion. As a result, we have made significant advancements in several areas. I am pleased to report that our work has only begun and we continue to incorporate diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality considerations in both our internal- and external-facing work.

The following demonstrates our progress in implementing the Call to Action:

2. Performance measurement and results:

In 2020, our office conducted an anonymous internal workplace assessment to provide a snapshot in time of the overall health of our office. The survey generated some positive responses and revealed several areas for improvement. We are developing an action plan to mitigate these areas.

In terms of employment equity, our office has a gap in our goal for the recruitment of persons with disabilities and Indigenous peoples. Moving forward, we will establish a robust performance measurement system allowing us to track results, gaps and areas for future improvement.

From the employee workplace experience perspective, we had, once again, highly positive PSES 2020 results in the areas of mental health, diversity and inclusion, and leadership. In these domains, our results ranged from 94% to 100%, with a response rate of 80% for our office.

3. Challenges and barriers:

Changing mindsets and resistance to change remain challenges in recruiting talent into our organization, especially when looking at recruitment from across Canada. The use of National Defence’s network as it operates on a regional model, causes challenges in equipping and supporting users within different regions, especially those without National Defence facilities.

Official language requirements have been identified as a potential systemic barrier for equity-deserving allophone groups or those without access to language training. As a proudly bilingual organization, proficiency in both English and French is a requirement for majority of employees. We will be engaging with the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer moving forward to consider options to reduce barriers to those equity-deserving groups proficient in only one of Canada’s two official languages within our hiring processes.

4. Employee Response:

The Office has stood up several internal employee-driven working groups and committees focused on wellness, diversity, and inclusion. High employee engagement in these groups has provided equity-deserving employees with the opportunity to engage with senior leaders and directly contribute to positive change within our organization. Employees must include Gender Based Analysis Plus considerations in all aspects of their work.

5. Momentum:

As a client-focused organization, we will continue to strive towards the provision of barrier free, accessible service offerings and an inclusive environment. This includes expanding upon the efforts listed above and working towards eliminating employment equity gaps through the targeted recruitment of persons with disabilities and Indigenous peoples.

Our priorities specific to diversity and inclusion over the coming year include:

6. Data:

Our office has identified a gap in data and metrics to measure performance in many of these areas. While we have metrics on self-identification, as a micro-organization, we must remain conscious of the need to balance publication of performance metrics with privacy. Currently, we are developing a quantitative method to demonstrate our progress moving forward.

To conclude, my office and I firmly commit to continue working towards the key areas in the Call to Action. Anti-racism, equity, and inclusion can only be achieved through coordinated, collective, and ongoing efforts at all levels in our organization and within the public service.

We must continue to strengthen our collective commitment to our Indigenous, Black, and racialized employees as we move forward in addressing remaining gaps, removing barriers, and improving their wellbeing. The steps we have taken so far begin the work of long overdue changes. Diversity and inclusiveness remain a priority.


Gregory A. Lick

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