CSIS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy 2022
Vision | Collective Commitment | Action
On this page
- Director's Message
- Land Acknowledgements
- We Need Diversity to Succeed
- Background / History
- Strategy Evolution
- Recruitment and Staffing Interim Strategy
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Initiatives Already at Work
- Summary of Findings: Eight Themes of Change
- Moving Forward with Objectives
- Action Plan
After extensive consultations and tremendous work in reviewing current policies, programs and practices, I am pleased to introduce the CSIS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Strategy. The development of this strategy was a priority for me: I am personally driven to ensure equity, fairness and safety, and my goal is to ensure that this becomes a reality for every CSIS employee. To this end, we must reflect on the culture of our organization and the collective and individual behaviours that make it what it is. There are many great things about this culture for which I am most thankful – pride in work, commitment to the mandate entrusted to us by Canadians, and resilience in achieving what is needed for the safety and security of our country, among many other things. This strategy sets the path for integrating new elements to our culture that consider how every person’s experience in this organization is impacted by their environment, made up of assumptions, behaviours and policies that can be grounded in outdated ideas and non-inclusive thinking.
CSIS has stated its commitment and dedication towards increasing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the time to act is now. It is part of our mission to foster and value diversity in order to serve and ensure security to Canadians and Canadian communities. Moreover, it is the right thing to do, always, and we must fulfil our responsibility to be inclusive and ensure every person touched by CSIS has an experience based in equity. The responsibility is on us all, we must be open to change by educating ourselves, engaging in awareness and most importantly – being respectful. Our leadership must set the tone, execute the necessary actions and lead the change for equity and increased inclusion. Lastly, as an organization we must take this on in order to fulfill our mandate – we must collaborate and approach this as a team. We are all accountable.
The strategy demonstrates initiatives that closely consider systemic discrimination and racism, and we are making strategic efforts to openly discuss them, challenging the way we do business, and implementing or amending existing and new policies and practices. As the foundation of these efforts, this strategy was developed to chart our path for current and future improvements. The strategy was co-developed with employees at all levels of the organization to help build an equitable, inclusive and safer workplace. As we try to move rapidly by addressing objectives through concrete actions, we understand that it will take time to accomplish all we need to do – some actions can be quickly accomplished, while others will require more sustained efforts to achieve. While we have already made significant investments and advancements in DEI, this strategy will demand sustained investment, accountability and follow through to advance the changes we are committed to making.
I’d like to thank everyone involved in the development of this strategy. There was extensive, genuine collaboration to make it happen. I’d also like to thank those employees who have come forward with feedback and shared the reality of their experiences including every person with whom I have spoken with directly and all others who shared their perspectives with those involved in developing the strategy. I hope this strategy will resonate with you as targeting change at a foundational level to respond to your expectations of what CSIS should look and feel like as an inclusive organization; this strategy is a work in progress that will continue to develop. I have no doubt that CSIS will thrive as we implement these DEI initiatives and will continue our commitment toward parity and inclusion within this organization. This work is part of our business, and we are acting now.
CSIS Offices in Canada are located on various ancestral and traditional lands. In the spirit of reconciliation, we acknowledge all Indigenous People across Canada and their connection to these lands:
The Atlantic Region Head Office is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and traditional lands of the Mi’kmaq people.
The New Brunswick District Office is located in the unceded and traditional territories of the Mi’Kmaq, Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet), and Peskotomuhkati (Passamaquoddy) Peoples.
The Newfoundland and Labrador District Office is located in the ancestral unceded homelands of the Beothuk with the island of Newfoundland being the ancestral homelands of the Mi’kmaq and Beothuk. We also recognize the Inuit of Nunatsiavut and NunatuKavut and the Innu of Nitassinan, and their ancestors, as the original people of Labrador.
The British Columbia Region Office is located on the shared traditional territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkʷəyəm̓ (Musqueam), Sḵwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), kʷikʷəƛəm̓ (Kwikwetlem), and səlilw̓ ̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh).
The National Headquarters (NHQ) and the Capital Region are located in the unceded ancestral territories of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation.
The Edmonton District Office is located on Treaty 6 Territory, a meeting ground and home for the Métis’, nêhiyaw (Cree), Dené, Anishinaabe (Saulteaux), Nakota Isga (Nakota Sioux), and Niitsitapi (Blackfoot Peoples).
The Saskatchewan District Office is located on Treaty 4 territory, the original lands of the nêhiyawak (Cree), Anihšināpēk (Saulteaux), Dakota, Lakota, and Nakoda, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation.
The Manitoba District Office is located on Treaty 1 Territory, the traditional lands of the Anishinabe (Ojibway), Ininew (Cree), Oji-Cree, Dene, and Dakota, and is the Birthplace of the Métis Nation and the Heart of the Métis Nation Homeland.
The Quebec Head Office is located on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehà:ka (Mohawk) Nation, part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The land has also served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst many First Nations including the Kanien’kehá:ka of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Huron/Wendat, Abenaki, and Anishinaabeg.
The Toronto Region Head Office is located on the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples.
As public servants, we recognize our obligation to learn about Indigenous history and the contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.
We Need Diversity to Succeed
Diversity is a fact. Equity is a choice. Inclusion is an action. Belonging is an outcome.
CSIS is committed to taking concrete steps towards addressing systemic discriminationFootnote 1 and racism, and increasing diversity and inclusion in our workplace. To demonstrate this commitment, internal working groups were tasked with developing a strategy to make our workforce not only more diverse, but equitable and inclusive for all employees. These working groups consulted various internal stakeholders to ensure accuracy and success.
On January 22, 2021, former Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Ian Shugart, issued a Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service to all Deputy Ministers, Heads of Separate Agencies and Heads of Federal Agencies. Senior leaders were asked to take accountability, as well as to make it a collective responsibility for all public servants. “Our leadership across the public service must be more diverse. Unless swift action is taken, we will fall short of effectively supporting the Government and serving Canadians. We have an obligation to our employees, and to all Canadians, to do better by ensuring that we are putting the full capacity of our entire pool of talent at the service of Canadians.”Footnote 2
Half of working Canadians (54%) have observed instances of discrimination towards other employees.
This includes less than equal treatment based on their race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, or anything other than their skill.
Close to half of working Canadians (45%) say that they've experienced discrimination themselves.
- These data were retrieved from AbacusData.ca
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace ensures fair treatment and opportunity for all employees. Through programs and policies, DEI initiatives address systemic barriersFootnote 3 , which prevent some employees from exceling, and reduces injustices which some groups face. CSIS acknowledges its gaps and weaknesses in the DEI space – low representation in leadership and other occupational groups, processes and practices that need to be changed, for example – and is committed to take direct action to remedy these for an outcome of equal treatment, fairness and justice in our workplace.
CSIS benefits from a diverse and inclusive workforce as it allows us to better serve and protect Canadian communities, for example through better cultural understanding, and rich diversity of thought and perspective.
CSIS strives for inclusion as a basis for justice as an employer and provider of service for Canadians, as we continue to deliver on our mandate. In doing so, we must make it our business to have a workforce that represents the Canadian population, and increase our level of awareness of the intersectional complexities that shape Canada and Canadians. This encourages innovation, diverse approaches, and engagement within and outside of our organization. It also reinforces equity and inclusion to ensure trust, a safe space and psychological well-being. This strategy highlights our vision and objectives.
The recommendations of this strategy focus primarily on the protection of, and duty to accommodate, the groups that are identified in the Employment Equity Act (EEA)Footnote 4 , as well as others who face barriers in the workplace, such as 2SLGBTQI+Footnote 5 individuals. This strategy is for all CSIS employees whether or not they identify with an equity-seeking group. We are all impacted by these initiatives, and will all benefit as they promise improvement of our business and lived experiences at work. Importantly, it speaks to our desired environment and expectations of everyone who contributes to that environment. This is our DEI Strategy.
As the recommendations are actioned and more objectives evolve, the DEI Strategy will be an evergreen document that will progress as CSIS reaches current objectives and identifies more priorities that will promise a positive future.
A diverse and inclusive workplace is a team effort; it is everyone’s responsibility to make positive contributions. The success of the strategy is dependent on leadership and accountability, therefore roles and responsibilities are defined below. Meaningful change starts with the commitment and action of those at the top. At CSIS, our leaders are called upon to set an example. Champions, senior executives, and managers ensure that diversity and inclusion are embedded in all aspects of our work.
The Employment Equity Act is one of the many legislations that complement the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the Charter). Collectively, they protect the fundamental rights of all Canadians. Other acts that make up this legislative framework and are relevant to the work the Service does in DEI are:
- Accessible Canada Act
- The Canadian Multiculturalism Act
- The Indian Act
- Public Service Employment Act
- Federal Public Service Labour Relations Act
- The Official Languages Act
Diversity and Inclusion Champions:
- Advocate for DEI across CSIS and share updates regarding the strategy’s progress.
- Serve as a role model for DEI across CSIS.
- Motivate senior management to continuously engage in the implementation of the strategy.
- Liaise with champions of other public service departments to support intersectionality of programs, initiatives and priorities.
- Engage with employee networks and promote their initiatives across CSIS.
- Inspire the promotion and advancement of DEI across CSIS.
- Be an active voice in identifying staffing targets that exceed existing gaps and track progress through regular monitoring.
- Lead by example by advocating for DEI across CSIS.
- Ensure managers are accountable for contributing to an inclusive and respectful workplace.
- Acknowledge and continuously encourage inclusive acts by employees.
- Cultivate a workplace that attracts, retains and enables talent.
- Support recruitment efforts and employee development and retention.
- Provide a safe and confidential avenue for managers to discuss options to address racism and discrimination issues without fear of reprisal or judgment.
- Create a safe and inclusive work environment where the values of DEI are embraced.
- Recognize inclusive acts by employees and hold employees responsible for contributing to an inclusive workplace.
- Serve as a role model by encouraging employee participation in DEI activities.
- Fulfill their responsibilities with respect to accessibility, including duty to accommodate.
- Support employees who are victims of discrimination, harassment or disrespectful behaviours.
- Encourage employee training and participation in employee networks.
- Support recruitment efforts and employee development and retention.
- Provide a safe and confidential avenue for employees to raise and address issues related to racism and discrimination without fear of reprisal and judgment.
- Learn and become more aware of DEI by participating in development and training opportunities.
- Report occurrences of harassment, racism or discrimination to managers.
- Contribute to an inclusive and safe workplace by being aware of unconscious biases and behaving in a respectful manner.
- Join, participate in and support employee networks.
- Take part in DEI activities at CSIS and externally.
- Complete the self-ID survey to contribute to an accurate representation of the workforce.
Networks / Committees
- Promote DEI across CSIS.
- Provide advice and recommendations to help guide actions that promote DEI.
- Actively participate in consultations and offer recommendations to achieve a safe and inclusive workplace.
- Work with other groups and networks to support intersectional communities and initiatives.
- Organize departmental and network activities to engage and communicate with employees.
- Monitor and report on the progress of the strategy.
- Collect, monitor, share data and collaborate with central agencies to continue to develop disaggregated data.
- Support the development of detailed staffing plans for teams and branches.
- Adapt and create tools to support managers and employees
- Promote the use of existing strategies and tools.
- Provide accessible tools and processes for all employees to discuss the creation and nurturing of an inclusive workplace.
- Engage with internal groups, networks and champions to further develop DEI within CSIS.
- Examine systemic issues and trends regarding racism and discrimination, raise organizational awareness, and provide recommendations.
- Collaborate with other federal departments to promote best practices and tools.
Employee Communications and Engagement
- Provide employee communications and engagement support on DEI initiatives and resources.
- Ensure DEI is a re-occurring theme throughout internal communications
- Adopt a DEI perspective in all communications, including events, visual products and surveys.
- Provide pro-active communication support to networks and champions.
Background / History
The year 2007 marked the inception of CSIS’s first DEI Committee known back then, as the Visible Minority Advisory Committee (VMAC). VMAC was established to raise diversity awareness within CSIS, identify goals and solutions to increase visible minority (VM)Footnote 6 workforce representation, foster and implement an outreach program geared towards the various ethno-cultural communities to attract new candidates, and to establish and improve marketing practices. Today, the committee is formally called the CSIS Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee and is led by an Executive Champion and a Co-Chair. The DEI Advisory Committee is made up of representatives from employee networks and Directorates across CSIS.
In 2007–2008, the position of Employment Equity Officer, formalized under Human Resources and now known as the Diversity Lead, was created to advance the diversity agenda. The role evolved to include the functions of:
- Organizing and hosting the annual CSIS Diversity Conference
- Planning awareness events for thematic days/months (e.g., Black History Month, Aboriginal Awareness Week)
- Conducting research and analysis and preparing statistics and reports for senior management
- Writing the Employment Equity Annual Report
- Coordinating the DEI Advisory Committee meetings
- Leading other DEI related activities at CSIS
The position has been entrenched as a valuable role in the Strategic Business Integration branch, contributing to the Workforce Programs portfolio.
In 2009, recruiting goals identified a need to increase representation in the visible minority category. It was determined that there was a need for external outreach and engagement in order to promote career opportunities and to raise awareness about CSIS to diverse communities.
A Diversity Recruiter position was created to undertake those tasks, and to participate in other recruiting initiatives on the Proactive Recruiting and Marketing Team, now known as Talent Acquisition. Today, the Diversity Recruiter position fulfills these duties, including providing advice on how to effectively engage diverse candidates through adjustments to our recruitment approaches and processes.
CSIS has seen substantial growth in employee engagement where DEI is concerned. Several employee networks have been formalized to align business and diversity strategies and to advocate for groups with which employees identify.
CSIS has made deliberate efforts to promote diversity in its workplace and integrate it into all our business practices. However, there is always room for improvement. In order to address biasesFootnote 7 , systemic discrimination and racism, we must continue to build on that foundation with actions that will educate, influence, and make CSIS a safer space for all of its employees and achieve a representative workforce.
In December 2020, an internal callout for DEI Strategy Working Group members was issued to seek employee involvement in the advancement of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives, and the development of recommendations.
Each working group addressed a strategic pillar, and was assigned a respective mandate as follows:
- Apply a defined diversity lens to all aspects of people and career management.
- Recommend initiatives to remove barriers and establish positive practices to increase diversity at all levels.
Recruitment and Selection:
- Review and recommend improvements to hiring approaches and strategies in low representation occupational groups.
- Recommend actions to ensure sustained recruitment and hiring of diverse candidates.
- Identify effective strategies to demonstrate the value we place on diversity within CSIS and in the Canadian communities in which we serve.
Work commenced in February 2021, with the involvement of 30 employees across three working groups. The working groups were each made up of two co-chairs and eight members. They had the critical role of identifying lines of inquiry (LOI)Footnote 8 and developing recommendations. The working groups persevered through meeting restrictions, due to COVID-19 health and safety concerns, to deliver on their objective.
As a collective, the working groups were diverse in terms of groups – age, region, working level, length of service, occupational group, ability, gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation. Members demonstrated passion, dedication and commitment in their task. The work entailed long hours researching leading practices, analyzing CSIS’s workforce data, reviewing policies, programs and practices. Internal stakeholders also presented to the working groups to inform members on their branch/network mandates, concerns and challenges, aspirations related to DEI, responsibilities and existing programs. This information was essential in identifying weaknesses in the DEI space and informing the recommendations.
In July 2021, the three working groups submitted 98 LOIs and over 120 related recommendations. Some centered on overlapping matters as they covered similar themes. Following the submission, members identified ten priority recommendations, to address matters most in need of attention.
To inform the recommendations and support the development of the DEI Strategy, identification of appropriate strategies relied heavily on qualitative and quantitative data retrieved from various sources. The data was a testament to the areas in which improvement is needed and helped establish accountability. A specific example of data used is:
- CSIS Workforce Analytics Team identified gaps, specifically underrepresentation of Employment Equity (EE) personnel in occupational groups in comparison to Canadian Workforce Availability (WFA)Footnote 9 numbers. Since 2017, CSIS has remained below the WFA in all EE groups except for the overall representation of visible minorities, for which 2021 representation was on par with WFA. See below for the Employment Equity Breakdown between 2017 and 2021.
CSIS Employment Equity Breakdown: 2017-2021
|Women||Visible Minorities||Indigenous People||Persons with Disabilities***|
* Workforce Availability (WFA) based on 2016 Census and 2017 Survey on Disability
** CSIS wide representation
*** Due to changes in the definition and categories of disabilities a reset of the HR information system had to be completed. As a result, employees had to re-self-identify, which led to documented representation level.
CSIS Employment Equity Breakdown: 2017-2021 (Cont'd)
CSIS Employment Equity Breakdown: 2017-2021
Aggregated data also demonstrated lower representation Service-wide for some EE categories in certain occupational groups:
- Science and Technology Group: 16.1%
- General Services: 19.7%
- Visible Minorities**
- Executive Group: 8.3%
- General Services: 8.5%
- Indigenous Peoples**
- General Services: 0%
- Science & Technology: 1.3%
- Internal Administration: 2.1%
- Persons with Disabilities - All Groups**
- General Services: 1.4%
- Executive Group: 3%
- Internal Administration: 3.1%
- Intelligence & Operations: 3.2%
- Science & Technology: 3.4%
** CSIS wide representation
- In August 2021, a DEI Employee Survey was administered to better understand the lived experiences of employees, as well as encourage open and honest comments regarding DEI matters at CSIS. Approximately 23% of the CSIS workforce responded to the survey.
- In early 2021, Director Vigneault sent an invitation to racialized employees to meet with him in informal listening sessions. These sessions began in May 2021, and concluded in summer 2022. These small group discussions were intended to create a safe space to listen and capture experiences that address a need for change in the DEI space.
- The 2020 Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) was the first time CSIS employees participated in the public service-wide survey. This comprehensive survey measured employees’ opinions about their engagement, leadership, workforce, workplace, workplace well-being and compensationFootnote 10 . Results from the sections on Diversity and Inclusion, Discrimination, Anti-Racism, Harassment, Duty to Accommodate and Job Fit and Development were used to inform this strategy.
The terms “racialized” or “racialized groups” include all people who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour. As this is an ever-changing landscape and for the purpose of this report, these terms will be used when making reference outside of the Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) Network.
Collectively, the data gathered captured employees’ lived experiences and helped identify our weaknesses as an organization and the need for improvements with respect to inclusion. In general, the results point to dissatisfaction with respect to low levels of diverse representation and low cultural awareness with a significant number of employees stating that they have experienced microaggressionsFootnote 11 , harassment and discrimination.
Recruitment and Staffing Interim Strategy
Through various conversations and feedback, employees were vocal and expressed concerns to senior management, many of which are in line with the DEI Strategy recommendations herein. As many of those concerns are related to Human Resources processes, a Recruiting and Staffing (R&S) Interim Strategy was implemented to take immediate and concrete action by implementing certain initiatives prior to the launch of the strategy.
CSIS developed several targeted short-term initiatives intended to increase the representation of diverse groups within our ranks, address gaps within specific occupational categories, and establish and entrench the right conditions to ensure a bias-free, inclusive and respectful organization. Some of these were existing initiatives; however, they were reinforced in the Recruiting and Staffing Interim Strategy to ensure that they would be followed through in the implementation plan. These initiatives included the following:
- A dedicated Diversity Recruiter on the Talent Acquisition team to engage with external stakeholders, including community leaders, to draw in diverse talent across Canada.
- Prioritizing internal and external candidates who self-identified in the employment equity groups, specifically where underrepresentation was identified in occupational groupsFootnote 12 Footnote 13 , in selected HR processes.
- Promoting diverse hiring panels to encourage a well-rounded perspective in evaluating candidates and increase sense of safety of diverse candidates in the process.
- Unconscious bias training provided to hiring managers and HR Advisors
- Mandatory bias-free selection training for employees who participate on competition selection boards.
- Review of selection and assessment tools, including updating job postings (tabloids) to identify and remove potential barriers and encourage diverse applicants internally and externally.
- Conducted a formal employment systems review (ESR) to identify systemic barriers in people management policies and practices
- Management engaged with employee networks and committees to discuss HR related systemic barriers.
- Diversity and inclusion were introduced as a formal element in CSIS’s Talent Management framework.
- A diversity lens was applied in call outs soliciting interest for leadership development opportunities.
- The executive corporate commitment was renewed to ensure greater accountability for diversity and inclusion.
- Training was delivered to supervisors on unconscious bias in performance management.
- Workshops were offered to employees on how to prepare for an executive selection process; the women’s mentorship program was extended to those who identify with any EE group.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Initiatives Already at Work
In addition to the R&S Interim Strategy, it is important to note that significant work in the DEI space has been underway for some time at CSIS. This strategy continues, and builds on what has already been accomplished.
Many DEI advancements have occurred across CSIS:
- On June 21 2018, CSIS raised the Pride Flag for the first time at NHQ. We also procured the All-Inclusive Pride flag, which will now be flown at NHQ every pride season and every third week of August for Public Service Pride Week.
- Since May 2021, the Director personally met with a little over 100 self-identified racialized and Indigenous employees to hear about their lived experiences. This initiative is a step forward towards building trust with racialized employees, listening intently, acknowledging their experiences and honing our focus on problem areas.
- In a first for CSIS, we dedicated the applicant eligibility to racialized groups and Indigenous Peoples in a dedicated Intelligence Officer job posting, and highlighted the importance of knowledge of Indigenous languages on the job posting, as they are an asset that contributes to our cultural diversity.
- Several networks and associations related to DEI were formed by employees and for employees.
- CSIS continues to provide its employees with a wide range of training (including mandatory training) related to unconscious bias and cultural competency, as well as foundational learning promoting knowledge and behaviours associated with respect, diversity and inclusion.
- The Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) "Introduction to GBA PLUS" course was made available on our internal training system. The course is mandatory for all managers and readily available to all employees.
- Student applications were sought and prioritized from the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) inventories of students who self-identified as either Indigenous or Persons with Disabilities (PWD).
- CSIS's Deputy Director of Operations — the most senior operational leader in the organization — stepped forward to become CSIS’s Diversity and Inclusion Champion. Her role is to ensure that the voices of employees are heard at senior management tables, that our organization increasingly integrates diversity and inclusion considerations into our day-to-day work, and that we hold ourselves accountable for taking action towards a better, inclusive, more equitable workplace and workforce.
- To help increase awareness, the Diversity and Inclusion Workforce Program created a “Did You Know” series with the purpose of featuring information and celebrating various religious and secular holidays throughout the year.
- To support managers and employees in fostering inclusion, a DEI toolkit comprised of new tools and guides was created. These tools included:
- A guide to leading conversations on systemic racism and racial discrimination;
- A diversity and inclusion lexicon;
- GBA PLUS guides;
- How to create accessible documents;
- A guide on gender inclusive writing.
- CSIS launched an annual self-identification campaign to update data on representation of designated employment equity groups, and to encourage employees to participate.
Summary of Findings: Eight Themes of Change
Increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace is a top organizational priority of CSIS, and the three DEI Strategy Working Groups played a critical role in realizing our goals on these fronts. These groups were formed to guide and inform the development of the strategy’s recommendations, which were thoroughly analyzed and strategically placed into eight categories based on common themes. These categories are defined as follows:
01 - Accountability
Responsibility for following through with DEI initiatives
It was recommended that CSIS demonstrate more accountability when it comes to DEI. Overall, the recommendations suggest monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the strategy with regular communication to all employees, revamping or recreating all complaint mechanisms to ensure real and perceived fairness and equity; and making workforce data accessible to all employees, in particular to hiring managers so they can track gaps and/or progress.
02 - An Inclusive Workplace
Creating a sense of belonging and safe space for employees
Collectively, working group members recommended more flexibility in the work environment such as accommodation based on family status and the ability to swap any established statutory holidays for a personal religious holiday. Many employees recognize different faiths and would like to be entitled to leave on the date of their respective holidays. Others stated that there is a need to implement more inclusive language, such as gender-neutral messaging (e.g., the intranet website, letters to employees/ candidates) and ensure persons with disabilitiesFootnote 14 (physical and neurodiverse) have proper accessibility accommodations. It was recommended that recognizing diversity successes and events with all employees (e.g., consistent messaging framework, calendar of events) be viewed as essential to the culture and image of CSIS. Some recommendations spoke to the need for better cultural learning through training and CSIS events. Lastly, it was recommended that CSIS make racialized mental health professionals available across the organization, which was already underway when this strategy was released.
03 - DEI Leadership, Planning and Resources
Career Development with a DEI lens
Recommendations within this category focus on implementing dedicated resources at the leadership level to oversee DEI initiatives and programs (e.g., a dedicated DEI manager), adding more recruiters to the Talent Acquisition team to expand on community engagement, and outreach to diverse talent groups, and expanding employee networks to encourage cultural wellness and psychological safety. As part of the planning, data was recommended to be regularly updated and analyzed to determine where and why candidates in diverse categories are lost in recruitment processes. To increase diverse representation at leadership levels it was recommended to set and regularly follow up on clear employment equity goals. Consideration should also be given to running dedicated career opportunities for diverse groups, conduct a GBA PLUS review on all elements of the HR processes and allow overlapping functions between roles to afford more experience, secondments and assignments to set employees up to succeed and advance their careers.
04 - Interviews, Assessments and Selection
Review HR processes from a DEI lens, identify systemic barriers and biases
To ensure consistency and transparency, it is recommended to ensure assessment tools don’t present barriers. Although already in practice in some processes, diverse HR panels should be broadly implemented, CSIS should frame interviews through a DEI lens, and training should be provided to all relevant practitioners on standardized interviewing which should be culturally adaptive and assess ‘people skills’ during interviews. Lastly, a student program dedicated to candidates from diverse categories was recommended, including formal bridging processes and mentoring programs.
05 - Liaison and Community Outreach
Building sincere relationships and trust in communities
In order to build genuine relationships and trust with communities, it was recommended to dedicate more resources to allow consistent community engagement. Together these would benefit our operational effectiveness and help to diversify recruitment via a grassroots approach, draw in talent from across Canada and create proactive relationships that facilitate confident, candid communication This would also improve a sense of trust and security within communities.
06 - Recruitment
Review external recruitment efforts
It was recommended to ensure candidates in certain groups, specifically those who are IndigenousFootnote 15 , PWD and racializedFootnote 16 , are exposed to more job opportunities at the Service. In addition, it was recommended that CSIS conduct more recruitment processes dedicated to diverse groups for which gaps are identified. In order for us to attract and retain more PWDFootnote 17 , an “Accessibility Integration Coach” position was recommended to centralize physical or neurodiverse accommodation requests.
Lastly, the underrepresentation of women in IT positions was addressed. It was recommended to have directed events that would draw in talented women from the IT sector and consistently follow up on hiring numbers as part of the data tracking initiative.
07 - Job Postings and Questionnaires
Identify Systemic Barriers and Biases
This section focuses specifically on the job requirements and identifying actual or potential barriers and biases.
For those who do not meet the French and English bilingualism requirements, it was recommended to review official language requirements and amend to English and/or French essential where appropriate. Working groups also recommended a review of experience requirements for entry-level positions as these sometimes go beyond what is needed for the actual job functions.
08 - Training
Self-educate and promote awareness
CSIS has access to various in-house and external DEI learning resources, which have served as valuable learning tools. However, DEI Strategy working group members recommend implementing more mandatory training (e.g., Unconscious Bias, Positive Space and GBA PLUS) at all levels – including during onboarding. While we continue to use existing DEI learning resources, it was recommended that CSIS also introduce experiential learning and interactive exercises for the purposes of cultural training and awareness (e.g., Kairos BlanketFootnote 18 , among others).
As part of career development, the mentorship and coaching program should expand to employees who fall within the Employment Equity categories and integrate a sponsorshipFootnote 19 program. This was already underway when this strategy was released.
Following the submission of the recommendations, working group members were asked to identify the top ten priorities, for the purposes of establishing a three-year action plan to address these initiatives. The following are the top ten recommendations for improving diversity, equity and inclusion at CSIS:
01 - Diversity in Leadership
It is recommended that CSIS increase diverse representation at the leadership level as it will promote innovation, different perspectives and allow us to better serve Canadian communities.
02 - Candidate Selection Interviews
It is recommended that HR selection processes be assessed for biases, to improve consistency and integrate a DEI framework.
03 - Values, Image and Communications – Internal and Public Accountability of DEI Goals
It is recommended that CSIS share publicly and internally its DEI plans, initiatives and accomplishments.
04 - Right Fit Exercise and Perception of Bias in Staffing
It is recommended that the approach to ‘Right Fit’ be reassessed and modified to ensure transparency.
05 - Operations – Impacts of DEI in Operations
It is recommended that CSIS maintain consistent and sincere relationships by dedicating more resources to engagement with diverse communities.
06 - Diversity in Strategic Planning
It is recommended that CSIS integrates DEI throughout its strategic business plans.
07 - DEI Training
It is recommended that CSIS include experiential training as part of the ongoing DEI learning resources.
08 - Cultural Wellness
It is recommended that cultural awareness and cross-cultural sensitivity be incorporated in CSIS’s activities and events. This would increase education and knowledge, as well as increase employees’ sense of belonging.
09 - External/Internal Image of CSIS – Indigenous Reconciliation Efforts
It is recommended that CSIS advance Truth and Reconciliation efforts in a meaningful and transparent manner
10 - Transparent Data Driven Goals
To achieve better transparency and support change, it is recommended that DEI-related data and progress measures be shared with employees
Moving Forward with Objectives
Employees have made it clear that they want to see words turn into action. To ensure proper implementation of the recommendations and to move the dial forward, CSIS will consistently engage and work collaboratively with internal stakeholders to lead the initiatives required to implement this strategy. To this end, the priority LOIs have been transformed into objectives and recommendations transformed into commitments. These were thoroughly reviewed to identify similar and/or overlapping content, which was then amalgamated into the action plan shown below to facilitate implementation of initiatives. Therefore, the action plan will begin with the top ten objectives ranked and selected by the working groups, and will be executed over the next three fiscal years. The rest of the recommendations will be reassessed in year two and gradually included, as appropriate, in future updates of the action plan.
The execution of the goals will be overseen by the DEI Strategy Lead who will ensure accountability is identified in the respective subject matter areas and use a scorecard to track follow through. The initiatives will be strategically categorized and actioned by short and long-term goals based on resources, time and overall feasibility. To ensure transparency on progress, regular reporting will be provided to the CSIS Executive Management Team and updates will be communicated to employees. While recognizing previous and existing DEI initiatives, and to avoid “reinventing the wheel”, close consideration will be given to reintroducing or revamping those initiatives in the implementation plan.
Vision and Commitments
The CSIS DEI Strategy and Action Plan comply with our legislated requirements under the Employment Equity Act and map out our commitment towards a diverse and inclusive organization.
|A - Ensure a diverse Executive cadre by creating Employment Equity goals at the EX-level with clear accountabilities.||By 2026, the EX-team (level 1 and up) will be
reflective of the goals set for the overall workforce
population as identified in commitment 10a
To ensure we continue to strive for a diverse workforce that is representative of the Canadian population, these targets will be assessed when 2020 census data is released.
Communication and progress updates on the DEI Strategy will be shared with employees through the DEI Newsletter. Progress and data will be made accessible to all employees.
|B - Address significant underrepresentation of VM, Indigenous peoples and PWD at the EX-level and feeder occupational groups. Consider a parallel external/internal EX staffing process for the mentioned EE groups.||By 2024, dedicate an EX career opportunity for
the VM, Indigenous and PWD categories.
An internal process will be prioritized to consider our own employees, and an external process will follow.
|C - Ensure diverse intersectionalities are taken into account in EX-Resourcing Approach.||By 2024, the GBA PLUS Program will do a full assessment on EX tabloid development, assessments, selection and appeal processes, to identify and eliminate what may pose as systemic barriers for all EE groups and 2SLGBTQI+.|
|D- Dedicate a space for racialized employees at Senior Management tables.||Have regular racialized employee observer participation at Executive team meetings by 2024 where feasible considering need-to-know.|
|A - Ensure reliability and transparency of all HR assessment tools.||By 2024, conduct a full review of role-plays, inter view questionnaires and written tasks used for internal and external career opportunities, in order to identify systemic barriers with the consultation of a subject matter expert.|
|B - Reduce individual subjectivity and improve interviewing skills through standardized training for all interviewers.||By the end of 2023, training such as, but not limited
to, making scoring decisions, unconscious bias,
cultural awareness, Positive Space, and
gender-neutral language will be made available to
all interviewers. It will be renewed and reinforced.
(Similar to bias training provided by CSPS for all selection committee members and mandatory bias awareness training provided to managers).
|C - Implement diverse interview panels for EX processes for the purpose of inclusivity and to identify biases.||Although already piloted, by the end of 2023 diverse
interview panels should be considered for every
internal/external hiring process.
Where feasible, an intersectionality lens will be applied when selecting a hiring committee, which will include EE and 2SLGBTQI+ categories as well as other diverse groups.
|D - Formalize instructions for an introductory script that has a proactive DEI approach.||By the end of 2023, a diverse introductory script will be included as part of the preamble for all interviews. It will acknowledge gender identity, accommodation for PWD, specifically neurodiversity, and cultural and/or religious practices.|
|E - Establish clear criteria for screening candidates at pre-screen stage.||By 2024, hiring managers will be provided a concrete instruction list for cover letter and resume review. Those responsible for assessing applications will use this as a tool to better support their decision when screening candidates.|
|F - Develop an interview protocol sheet that explains to candidates what is expected.||By 2024, an interview protocol sheet will be created to outline the process in as much detail as possible. While respecting the discretion of the interview, it will cover more details such as approach, length of interview, competencies assessed, number of panel members and setup, including how to request accommodations if required.|
|A - The DEI Strategy should be shared on the Canada.ca CSIS website.||Once the final version of the unclassified DEI Strategy is approved and ready to launch, it will be published on the CSIS website by the end of 2023.|
|B - Commit to public goals and indicators annually.||By the end of 2023, CSIS workforce data (in percent age format) will be shared in aggregated format annually on the CSIS website or in the Public Report, to disclose progress and assess trends over time. Data will also be used to share lessons and learnings with our GoC partners.|
|C - Solicit employees’ feedback annually to measure progress.||By the end of 2023, consult employee networks, the D&I Advisory Committee and all employees to share feedback, ideas and thoughts about DEI initiatives at CSIS. PSES findings will consistently be assessed through a DEI lens.|
|D - Communicate internally and externally the Service’s work in DEI as a value-added endeavor, and not only as an obligation.||Reinforce DEI objectives as part of all employees’ and executives Performance Evaluation Reviews by 2024. Establish concrete objectives that are relevant to their duties and will have a positive impact on CSIS’s culture.|
|E - Evaluate progress quarterly against the strategy to ensure the desired impact. The process must be transparent and employees kept informed.||By the end of 2023, communicate progress
updates on the DEI Strategy to employees via
the DEI Newsletter.
Progress and data will be made accessible to all employees.
|A - Make the Right Fit process more transparent to all candidates prior to and following a staffing process, and making sure they are in line with the evaluation.||By 2024, the Right Fit exercise will undergo a full
assessment of its name and approach to determine
transparency and efficacy.
If a decision is made to continue with the exercise, the criteria should be based on requirements (SoQ) for the position, clearly outlined and known to each candidate. Right Fit requirements should remain the same throughout the staffing process.
|B - Make discrimination and/or bias an explicit ground for appealing staffing decisions and develop an independent and objective appeals mechanism to staffing decisions.||With evidence, discrimination and bias will officially be considered, recognized and made clear in HR policy as grounds for appeal in staffing decisions by the end of 2023.|
|A - Create more relationships through community engagement. This would allow CSIS to create more authentic relationships by educating diverse communities about the organization’s role and learning from those communities.||By 2024, existing programs will be assessed CSIS-wide to address community engagement.|
|A - Include accountability in managers’ performance evaluations for achieving DEI results. More specifically diversity results that focus on representation such as hiring, promotion, and mobility outcomes, and inclusion results that focus on DEI learning and day-to-day experiences such as employee engagement, equity, and psychological safety outcomes.||By 2024, DEI accountability will be added as an objective in every manager’s PER, tailored to their organizational unit, specifically to ensure employee engagement is consistently driven. Expectations will be clearly communicated with managers.|
|A - Require all new hires to complete unconscious bias training within their first two months on the job, creating an understanding that inclusion is fundamental at CSIS.||By 2024, unconscious bias training will be included as part of onboarding via the in-house training suite for all new hires – at all levels and reinforced during employees’ careers.|
|B - Establish a mandatory developmental program and learning path for all employees to build and deepen their inclusiveness skills such as conflict resolution, problem-solving, active listening, and empathy.||By the end of 2023, mandatory learning activities – instructor-led or online course – that include but are not limited to Positive Space Initiative: 2SLGBTQI+ Awareness, inclusiveness skills, cultural competency, cultural awareness, anti-racism and anti-oppression will be made available to all employees. Preferably experiential and in-person training.|
|C - Reinstate the annual Diversity Conference as part of ongoing awareness and development.||By 2025, a DEI Annual Conference will be reinstated.|
|D - Include a standardized DEI objective in the performance evaluations of all employees.||By 2024, a DEI objective will be added to all employees’ performance evaluations to ensure inclusion is part of everyone’s business.|
|E - Continue and improve training on cultural competency including but not limited to consideration of invisible and visible disabilities and improve accessibility, gender neutral language, understanding of what microaggressions are and how to combat them, how to have difficult conversations around racism, and focus on implicit bias and means to mitigate it.||Implement and develop training that includes
role-plays by the end of 2023.
Additional DEI learning resources will be made available to all employees.
More experiential learning will be introduced to educate employees through engagement and interaction. This will be done through, for example, speaker series and instructor-led courses.
|F - Include one or more DEI learning elements per year as part of all employees’ learning plan.||By 2024, employees will be encouraged to add DEI courses, readings, etc., to their learning plan, with training resource lists available through the DEI Program.|
|G - Increase opportunity, exposure and learning related to DEI at the team level by creating training programs and team building packages that are offered on a voluntary basis with positive incentives rather than being mandatory.||By 2024, DEI training programs, activities and team building packages will be made available to all employees and in the manager’s DEI toolkit via the DEI Program.|
|H - Maintain funding for CSPSFootnote20courses.||By 2023, an updated list of DEI related courses on CSPS will be made available for all employees prior to completing their learning plan.|
|I - Implement the Joint Learning Program (JLP) as developed within the Core Public ServiceFootnote21.||Although this program is recognized only for unionized employees in the Public Service core, by 2024 efforts will be made to adopt and introduce concepts of JLP at CSIS, specifically to jointly deliver learning activities.|
|J - Track employees’ DEI training.||Where technologically feasible, mandatory and voluntary DEI training will be tracked by managers and considered as part of performance evaluations by 2024.|
|A - To make every employee accountable for their own awareness and actions and to promote, educate and raise awareness on DEI through organized activities with the support of the CSIS D&I Advisory Committee||
|A - Standardize Indigenous land acknowledgments across CSIS managed digital platforms and major public written products (e.g., annual reports), events hosted by CSIS, and in consultation with BIPOC-N and Indigenous elders, create a guide for staff to understand when and how to use land acknowledgments.||By the end of 2023, Indigenous land acknowledgments will be standardized at the beginning of all CSIS events – at NHQ and in respective regions.|
|B - Develop a land map of CSIS’s presence across Canada by identifying Indigenous land association for each office.||By 2024, a land map will be available to all employees displaying the location of NHQ and regional offices with the respective names of Indigenous land.|
|C - Replace the “Chief” position title, recognizing the historical racism and colonialism associated with this word as it has been applied to Indigenous people.||By 2024, the “Chief”Footnote23 title will be removed from CSIS organizational structures and replaced with another appropriate title, such as “Lead”.|
|D - Edit the CSIS oath for incoming employees so that it includes,”…faithfully observe the laws of Canada and Treaties with Indigenous Peoples, and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.” (refer to Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action #94)Footnote24||By the end of 2023, the CSIS oath will be edited accordingly for the use of onboarding new hires. Employees will still have the option to swear to the King or God.|
|A - Set clear DEI goals by directorate with an action plan that addresses the underrepresentation/gaps of EE and other marginalized groups at all job levels.||By 2026/2027, overall CSIS EE representation will
increase to 25% VM, 3.4% Indigenous and 8.9% PWD.
Considering the significant gap for Women in
Science and Technology, there will be an increase
of 25% in this position group.
These goals are based on the Canadian Workforce Availability.
To ensure we continue to strive for a diverse workforce that is representative of the Canadian population, these targets will be assessed when 2020 census data is released.
|B - Make data readily available to all employees
in the organization. All staff should have access
to monthly dashboards of diversity metrics.
Metrics for accountability and results should
be tracked. Each branch should be regularly
benchmarked and ranked on its proportionate
hiring and statistics.
Provide hiring managers access to statistics, specifically EE stats in their teams/unit/branches for accountability purposes and to keep track of their employees’ development. Improve the technology to get accessible, faster and more efficient reporting.
|Similar to recommendation #6B, by 2023, a
workforce data dashboard with EE benchmarks
will be updated and communicated via the internal
DEI Program website on a regular basis.
Quarterly reports on EE data (representation rates) compared to WFA will be shared with branches and EX team to track progress.
|C - Track not only diverse workforce data, but also work assignments, promotions and mentoring opportunities of diverse employees. All levels of management and supervisors should be held accountable for demonstrating behaviours that support and promote the goals and objectives outlined in the scorecard. All employees should be responsible for supporting the diversity objectives of the organization, and recognition for employees who take specific actions to advance CSIS’s diversity goals.||By the end of 2023, a scorecard will be established
to track progress on objectives and workforce
data benchmarks for EE categories and specific
Involvement and contribution of internal stakeholders will be recognized.
BIPOC - Black, Indigenous, People of Colour
CSPS – Canada School of Public Service
DEI – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
EE – Employment Equity
GBA PLUS – Gender-based Analysis PLUS
JLP – Joint Learning Program
LOI – Line of inquiry
NHQ – CSIS National Headquarters
PER – Performance Evaluation Review
PSES – Public Service Employee Survey
PWD – Persons with Disabilities
SoQ – Statement of Qualifications
VM – Visible Minority
WFA – Workforce Availability
2SLGBTQI+ - Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex
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