Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Letter on Implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion
Summer 2021 update
Dear Ms. Charette:
As a part of the federal public service, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) strives to ensure that its workforce is representative of the richness of Canada’s diversity. Respect, diversity and inclusion are central to who we are as an organization.
To achieve a diverse and representative workforce, the TSB remains committed to reducing barriers to the recruitment, retention and promotion of members of designated groups, including Indigenous, Black and other racialized groups and increasing the number of employees within underrepresented designated groups by ensuring equal access to positions at the TSB.
To position our department for success, we have reignited our Diversity Committee, which is led by an executive and composed of employees at all levels from our offices across Canada. This committee has refined our course of action in our updated three-year departmental Employment Equity Plan to reflect the efforts and strong commitment of our organization towards achieving a fully qualified, diverse, inclusive and representative workforce. More specifically, the plan sets out a practical approach to employment equity with both quantitative and qualitative goals and a process to monitor our progress. In addition, the TSB has focused much attention on educating employees concerning racism, accessibility, equity and inclusion.
Measurement and Results
The TSB measures its progress in terms of representation through regular semi-annual HR reporting of employment equity-related data to the executive committee concerning the rate of employee self-identification declarations; workforce analysis reports; and the monitoring of overall employee mobility in terms of new hires, internal promotions, and departures with breakdowns by designated group membership.
Recent organizational modernization efforts to offer virtual recruitment solutions and expand on its flexible working arrangements, including support for full-time teleworking, have strong potential to enable the department to access the labour market in a broader fashion, thereby improving its ability to address representation gaps which trend between 1-6% of total employee population.
Further, the TSB monitors improvements in employee workplace experiences both informally, through regular employee townhall sessions with the TSB’s Chief Operating Officer and formally by examining departmental performance and improvements in Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) results. TSB PSES 2020 results indicate departmental improvement in all themes, in particular those relating to work-life balance, harassment and discrimination, respect for individual differences, and confidence in senior management. These departmental improvements continue to be on par, or above, public service results. The TSB Diversity Committee remains engaged to dive deeper into these results and build upon organizational momentum in these areas.
Challenges and Barriers
The TSB has challenges in achieving and maintaining a representative workforce given that its operational activities are delivered by highly specialized investigative staff in each mode of transportation – Air, Marine, Pipeline and Rail. TSB investigative staff require knowledge of current industry practices and technologies along with hands-on experience, including the requisite expertise and know-how to critically examine the activities of airline, vessel, pipeline and railway operators, employees and specialists. As a result, the TSB recruits a large portion of its technical staff from pre-existing labour pools amongst both public and private industry. This is a small labour pool where designated groups may already be underrepresented, such as in the air and rail sectors, which further exacerbates the challenge. In addition, due to the TSB’s small workforce of approximately 220 employees, staffing actions and employee turnover can have a significant effect on employment equity, diversity, and inclusion statistics between reporting periods. In an effort to ensure accurate measurement of the diversity of the workforce, messaging to employees has reinforced the importance of self-declaration and identification in completing their human resources profile.
We recognize that organizational strength comes from having a diverse workforce with a multitude of perspectives and life experiences. Hiring for diversity is not enough. The TSB is focused on raising awareness of the importance of inclusiveness and on developing a better understanding among its workforce of how different perspectives and experiences can have a positive impact on an organization’s health and performance. To that end, to date we have:
- provided Positive Space training to the Executive Committee and Diversity Committee members;
- provided Indigenous Relations training to employees;
- launched a series of Safe Space sessions to encourage open discussions across the organization;
- developed and released our Strategy on Interactions with Indigenous Peoples (July 2019); and
- actively participated in central agency-led initiatives such as the PSC Federal Internship Program for Canadians with Disabilities.
As we continue to move forward, over the next three years, the TSB has committed to:
- Reviewing statements of merit criteria, staffing assessment tools and processes to ensure that they are inclusive and do not create systemic barriers;
- Increase our monitoring of: the use of staffing flexibilities to address employment equity gaps; the participation of designated group members in staffing processes and; the drop-off rate throughout the staffing process;
- Increasing potential candidate pools by amending staffing posters to include support for alternate / flexible work arrangements such as telework, virtual work, and flexible hours including accommodations for applicants who reside outside the geographic location of the TSB’s regional offices. These efforts are anticipated to reduce the impact of mobility and proximity restrictions within candidate pools;
- Create a continuous anticipatory staffing inventory that would target certain designated groups for specific positions; and
- Actively participate in central agency led initiatives aimed at increasing recruitment, selection, and promotion of designated group members.
The TSB has zero tolerance for racism, discrimination and harassment. As Deputy Head, I have reiterated to our staff that we each have an obligation to create, and a right to expect, a workplace founded on fairness, equality and respect. The TSB remains committed to ensuring its workplace is safe and inclusive for all.
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