People First: Investing in our Workforce to Deliver our Mandate

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

To fulfill its mission, CSIS must recruit, develop and retain highly skilled and diverse employees who work together to protect Canada and Canadians. CSIS is committed to building a workforce that is truly representative of the Canadians it serves by cultivating a diverse and inclusive workplace environment. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is a key pillar in our ability to succeed in our mission. Our diversity allows us to better understand all the Canadian communities we protect. Increasing employment equity group representation—including persons with disabilities, visible minorities, Indigenous peoples and women— at all levels within the organization through hiring and talent management practices is a priority. CSIS continues to attract and retain a top performing and diverse workforce.

A Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Strategy of which to be Proud

To achieve a more diverse and inclusive organization, CSIS took stock of its most significant gaps. It then created a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategy and accompanying action plan to close those gaps. The DEI Strategy outlines a vision and ties collective commitments to specific actions. Overall, there are 44 commitments to pursue over the next four years. The DEI Strategy is accessible to Canadians on our external website.

“This strategy will target behaviour and culture in addition to process and policy changes and will set bold actions in motion.” 

Director Vigneault

Representative of Canadian Society

CSIS set ambitious recruitment goals meant to close representation gaps. These are aimed above work force availability (WFA) representation of racialized employees to account for ongoing growth since the last Canadian Census.

In the DEI Strategy, CSIS committed to increasing diversity in executive leadership levels. As of March 31, 2022, 21 executives self-identified as either a member of a racialized group, Indigenous Peoples and/or persons with disabilities. The rate of executives who self-identified in at least one of these three groups increased from 14% in 2021 to 21% in 2022. The most significant change occurred with persons with disabilities, where representation rose from 3% to 9%.

CSIS supported leadership development and career advancement for diverse employees by introducing a coaching program open to racialized and Indigenous employees, and expanding the Mentoring Program started by the CSIS Women’s Network to employees with disabilities, Indigenous and racialized employees.

CSIS focused closely on recruiting to increase overall diversity in its workforce which has resulted in higher workforce participation in two underrepresented groups since 2018 – racialized employees and persons with disabilities. Indigenous participation in the CSIS workforce continues to be slightly below workforce availability, and women continue to participate on par with workforce availability, while still underrepresented in certain technical positions.

Employee Representation

Employee Representation Chart
Employee Representation
Employee Representation
Year Women Racialized Groups Indigenouse Peoples Person with disability
2022/2023 48.4% 19.8% 2.2% 6.4%
2021/2022 49.3% 19.3% 2.2% 6.3%
2020/2021 49.3% 18.5% 2.2% 6.0%
2019/2020 48.9% 17.9% 2.4% 6.0%
2018/2019 48.6% 16.9% 2.5% 6.1%

CSIS Executive Representation

CSIS Executive Representation Chart
CSIS Executive Representation
CSIS Executive Representation
Year Women Racialized Groups Indigenouse Peoples Persons with disabilities
2022/2023 42.5% 11.0% 4.1% 8.2%
2021/2022 40.5% 10.3% 3.2% 10.3%
2020/2021 38.5% 7.4% 3.0% 7.4%
2019/2020 39.4% 6.1% 2.3% 7.6%
2018/2019 38.0% 7.0% 2.3% 5.4%

In 2022, CSIS hired women and applicants from racialized groups at or above par with workforce availability, while continuing emphasis on attracting and hiring Indigenous applicants and persons with disabilities. 

Rate of Hire

Rate of Hire Chart
Rate of Hire
Rate of Hire
Year Women Racialized Groups Indigenous Peoples Persons with Disabilities
2022/2023 48% 21% 2% 7%
2021/2022 49% 19% 2% 6%

The DEI Strategy addressed barriers in HR processes. In 2022, an external review of CSIS’s human resource methods was finalized. The results of the review informed recommendations in the DEI Strategy and were incorporated in a number of different tools aimed at reducing barriers and making changes to existing staffing and recruitment processes. For example, CSIS has significantly invested in Indigenous recruitment and focused recruitment efforts in highly diverse locales across Canada.

CSIS’s review of its tools and methodologies brought about the implementation of strategies to:

Understanding Inclusion

Expanding awareness and understanding of DEI efforts, learning offerings, cultural awareness and cross-cultural sensitivity for management and employees was a prime focus this year. In 2022, CSIS’s Director and senior executives concluded a year-long series of meetings with over 100 racialized and Indigenous employees, discussing matters of concern, following up to make immediate changes where feasible, and sharing the commitment of the organization to diversity, inclusion and the assurance of psychological safety. CSIS employees participated this year in over 950 DEI-related courses and seminars.

Investing in Training

A high-performing workforce is built on employee engagement, a culture of excellence, demonstrated leadership, and a healthy workplace. CSIS is constantly rethinking how we look at leadership and what learning opportunities look like for leaders at all levels.

In the spring of 2022, CSIS unveiled the “Leadership Spectrum”.  As the name suggests, it focuses on courses and other learning opportunities related to leadership. At its core, leadership is about positively influencing those around you, which is why CSIS has created a learning framework that will provide training to leaders at all levels. The Leadership Spectrum directs employees to available learning activities to help grow their knowledge, skills and abilities in each of these areas. This program assists all employees in developing their positive influence while building a solid leadership foundation.

In the fall of 2022, CSIS unveiled the “Employee Development Journey” (EDJ). The EDJ is a virtual platform that brings together resources, tools and programs for employees to learn and develop. New resources are added continuously, including new development programs and learning paths, organized by theme and role that can be tailored to specific employees and positions.

The EDJ will:

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