Message and guidance for letters on the implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion
Message from the Interim Clerk to deputy ministers, heads of separate agencies, and heads of federal agencies
On January 22, 2021, Ian Shugart, Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, released the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service. It calls on leaders across the Public Service to take practical actions that will be the basis for systemic change. The message is clear – the time to act to advance anti-racism, equity and inclusion in the Federal Public Service is now.
Since taking on the role of Interim Clerk of the Privy Council, advancing the Call to Action has been one of my top priorities. I am encouraged to see the Deputy community taking action to make meaningful change, as well as the level of engagement among managers and the human resources community.
I am particularly inspired by my conversations with the employee networks and communities and hearing from individual employees who are sharing personal experiences and knowledge to support deeper understanding, and sparking conversations and action across the Public Service.
A number of public servants have shared with me that they welcome the change they see in leadership’s tone and approach. I have also heard that barriers remain and entrenched mindsets are obstacles to necessary progress.
To make real progress, we need to learn from one another.
With the release of the Call to Action, you were informed of the importance of providing an open letter outlining the actions you have taken within your organizations and the early impacts they are having. I have appreciated the updates on efforts in your organizations that I have already received, either through early letters or updates at our Deputy meetings.
My expectation is that your letters will focus on how you are implementing the Call to Action, with an emphasis on how your approach has changed in the past year. This is a chance to take stock of what you are doing, what is working, what is not, and how you are measuring progress. The goal is to learn from each other, surface key challenges, and identify best practices to tackle barriers and generate and sustain the momentum necessary to achieve meaningful results.
Above all, I am hoping for an authentic and transparent account of how your organization is progressing on anti-racism, equity and inclusion, and one that reflects the perspectives of employee communities and networks. Success requires us to do things differently, and this extends to the way we share our progress.
The guidance below is intended to assist you in preparing your letters.
Recognizing that organizations are at different stages in this work, I am asking you to send these letters as soon as you are ready, but no later than August 31, 2021. Letters will be published on the Privy Council Office website at regular intervals in the coming months.
I look forward to receiving your letters and continuing this important work together.
Interim Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet
Guidance for letters on the implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion
Concisely describe how you are implementing the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion with a focus on the concrete actions you have undertaken and the outcomes observed to date.
As you develop your letter, I encourage you to apply an intersectional lens, considering the interconnected dimensions of identity (e.g. race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identification and expression, and physical or mental ability).
I also encourage you to seek out a diversity of perspectives, including from managers, employee communities and networks, departmental champions and human resources officials.
The following sections include suggested questions to guide you in preparing your letter. I encourage you to include any additional information, data, metrics, and/or case studies that further demonstrate your progress in implementing the Call to Action or that could inform the work of others.
Please provide your letter in both official languages.
How has your approach to advancing anti-racism, equity and inclusion changed over the past year?
What are you doing differently that is having a practical impact?
Of the nine actions in the Call to Action, where have you focussed the most attention?
Are there two or three areas where you have made significant progress in implementing the Call to Action?
Measurement and results
How are you measuring your progress, both in terms of representation and improvements in the employee workplace experience?
What are the results telling you? How has this informed your actions?
Challenges and barriers
What setbacks and challenges have you faced in implementing the Call to Action? What are you doing to overcome them?
What are the barriers to progress you have encountered both from a systemic and mindset perspective?
How have you partnered with your employees to implement the Call to Action, with a focus on those whom the Call to Action is meant to support?
What employee communities and networks exist in your organization, and what are their roles and mandates? What have their reactions been to the actions you have taken? How are you supporting this work in your organization?
Are employee communities and networks involved in rethinking the impact of diversity and inclusion on the delivery of your organization’s mandate?
To sustain momentum and address identified challenges, how do you plan to focus your work over the coming year? What are your priorities?
How are you incorporating efforts to advance anti-racism, equity and inclusion considerations in your approach to public service renewal, including plans for post-pandemic work?
Provide relevant information, data and/or metrics that demonstrate your progress in increasing representation through the first four actions in the Call to Action. For example:
How many Indigenous employees and Black and other racialized employees:
- joined your organization in 2020/2021 compared to the total number of employees who joined in 2020/2021*;
- left your organization in 2020/2021 compared to the total number of employees who left in 2020/2021*; and
- were appointed to Executive positions in 2020/2021 compared to the total number of employees appointed to Executive positions in 2020/2021*?
*A comparison to the previous fiscal year may also be illustrative, if available.
What department-specific recruitment approaches do you have that are geared towards Indigenous employees and Black and other racialized employees?
What department-specific sponsorship, leadership or other career development services are available to Indigenous employees and Black and other racialized employees?
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