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Briefing for the Minister of National Revenue

Employment equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism at the Canada Revenue Agency

Issue

Following a renewed global call to end systemic racism, inequality and all forms of discrimination, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) launched broad internal consultations. The consultations revealed that continued action on the following initiatives is necessary:

  • Address representative gaps in the diversity of our workforce
  • Develop awareness of unconscious bias and cultural intelligence
  • Reduce systemic barriers in our staffing practices
  • Increase professional development opportunities for employees from employment equity groups

Things to consider

  • Employees want increased accountability measures for senior leaders.
  • Limitations in disaggregated employment equity data prevent the CRA from presenting a full picture of the diversity of our workforce.
  • COVID-19 has caused or exacerbated multiple challenges for the CRA’s workforce, including isolation, illness, accessibility and increased need for accommodation.
  • [Redacted]
  • The CRA has responded to the Clerk's Call to action on anti-racism, equity, and inclusion in the Federal Public Service, and its response letter will be published on the Privy Council Office website later this fall.
  • Recoveries of the remains of Indigenous children in unmarked graves at former residential school sites have renewed calls for concrete action toward reconciliation.

Next steps

The CRA is taking concrete steps to address these issues. The CRA has:

  • Implemented a National Employment Equity Non-EX Staffing Strategy to close representation gaps for employment equity groups
  • Implemented mandatory inclusion of two members from employment equity groups to all staffing boards for management and executive level positions
  • Deployed unconscious bias training for all employees and made it mandatory training for managers on staffing boards for executive and management positions
  • Enhanced the CRA's existing mentoring program and implemented a sponsorship program to enhance employee cultural intelligence
  • Committed to develop a learning program to enhance employee cultural intelligence
  • Committed to an exhaustive review of our staffing processes to identify systemic issues inhibiting diversity and inclusion

The CRA will conduct an employment systems review to help identify systemic barriers in human resources policies, practices, systems and behaviours. We will uphold leadership accountability on anti-racism, equity, diversity and inclusion with specific, targeted performance measures embedded in our leaders' performance agreements.

Key messages

  • In spite of efforts to achieve equity in the workplace at the CRA, there is more work to be done in some important areas, including underrepresentation for visible minorities, Indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities, especially at senior levels
  • The CRA is firmly dedicated to diversity, inclusion and anti-racism, aligning with its values of professionalism, integrity, respect, and collaboration
  • The CRA's senior management team and Board of Management are committed to effecting real and lasting change that enables the CRA to leverage the strategic advantage that comes from a more diverse and representative workforce and inclusive work environment
  • The CRA encourages all employees to come forward if they experience or witness discrimination or harassment in any form

Background

Following a renewed global call to end systemic racism, inequality and all forms of discrimination triggered by recent events in Canada and beyond, the CRA has renewed its commitment to building an inclusive work culture and an Agency that is representative of the country it serves, at all levels of the organization. The CRA conducted extensive consultations with all employees, and targeted focus groups for Indigenous, Black, and other racialized employees, and persons with disabilities. We also reached out to our five employee networks on numerous occasions, and consulted our National Employment Equity and Diversity Committee and Corporate Management Committee.

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