Building a Diverse and Inclusive Public Service: Final Report of the Joint Union/Management Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion

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1. Foreword

The Joint Union/Management Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion in the Public Service is pleased to submit its final report. This report fulfills the Task Force’s mandate to:

  • define diversity and inclusion in the public service
  • establish the case for diversity and inclusion
  • recommend a framework and action planFootnote 1

Over the past year, the Task Force has had the privilege of listening to and learning from many individuals who shared their ideas, insights and personal experiences. We thank them for their generosity and commitment to building a stronger public service. We also thank and acknowledge the leadership of the President of the Treasury Board and the heads of the bargaining agents for their support of the Task Force’s work. Special thanks are extended to the Task Force’s secretariat for its dedication and support in fulfilling our mandate.

If there is one lesson that Task Force members would highlight from their rich and robust discussions, it is that real change in an organization’s culture happens only when people understand:

  • why it makes sense
  • how they can be proactively engaged as drivers of change when they are provided with adequate and timely support to make it happen

As one respondent to the Task Force’s online survey of 30 departmentsFootnote 2 noted, “We live in interesting times where misinformation is rampant, causing fear…and we should address this head on.” During their deliberations, Task Force members observed broad momentum for change and engagement across the public service. They also note that turning this impetus into results will take strong leadership at the highest levels and sustained efforts to:

  • reinforce the case for diversity and inclusion
  • further strengthen our commitment to the values and outcomes of diversity and inclusivenessFootnote 3

Today’s public service spans many generations and has a growing diversity of individuals who have different views and expectations. Although changing demographics will continue to influence the face of the public service, the Task Force believes that significant resources and deliberate efforts must be invested proactively to build a dynamic workforce that:

  • represents the evolving diversity of Canada
  • is part of a welcoming and inclusive workplace where everyone has the opportunity to contribute their full talents and potential

The Task Force believes that the recommendations in this report will be an important step in strengthening diversity and inclusion in the public service. Such a workplace is essential to:

  • attract and retain the best talent from all cultures, identities and abilities across generations
  • create a healthier and more productive public service that leads to better decision-making and better results for all people of Canada

The Task Force’s vision for diversity and inclusion in Canada’s public service is as follows:

A world-class public service representative of Canada’s population, defined by its diverse workforce and welcoming, inclusive and supportive workplace, that aligns with Canada’s evolving human rights context and that is committed to innovation and achieving results.

2. Executive summary

Diversity has played a key role in Canada’s history and development. Long before the arrival of European immigrants and the birth of Canada as a country, vast numbers of Indigenous people practised distinct languages, cultures and traditions in what is today known as Canada. This rich Indigenous history, followed by waves of immigration from all parts of the globe, has made Canada one of the most diverse countries in the world.

Canada is also recognized globally for its approach to and support of diversity. It has developed a broad and evolving legislative and policy framework that supports various elements of diversity and inclusion, including:

  • the Canadian Human Rights Act
  • the Employment Equity Act
  • the Canadian Multiculturalism Act
  • the Official Languages Act

Groupthink negates any potential benefit from varied opinions and ideas.

Comment from a public service employee to the Task Force

The most successful organizations in the world recognize that diversity and inclusion:

  • spur innovation
  • increase productivity
  • create a healthy, respectful workplace

In successful organizations, diversity and inclusion are not optional: greater diversity and inclusion enable organizations to leverage the range of perspectives needed to address today’s complex challenges.

As the country’s largest employer, the federal public service has an obligation to ensure that its employees are representative of the people it serves. Indeed, the Public Service Employment Act recognizes that Canada will “gain from a public service…that is representative of Canada’s diversity.”Footnote 4

Although there are signs of progress and growing momentum among senior leaders and employees to support diversity and inclusion across the public service, there remain chronic and systemic challenges that inhibit greater headway. For example:

  • the executive group of the public service does not reflect of the diversity of Canada’s populationFootnote 5
  • more than a fifth of employees (22%) reported harassment in the past 2 years, according to the 2017 Public Service Annual Employee SurveyFootnote 6
  • the lack of a government-wide framework on diversity and inclusion makes it difficult to determine whether current initiatives are successfully reducing systemic barriers

A healthy, productive workplace is one where employees:

  • feel welcome, respected, valued and supported
  • are able to express themselves freely
  • bring their identities, experiences, competencies, skills and abilities to their work and to colleagues

To foster greater diversity and inclusion, Canada’s public service must:

  • listen to the concerns of its employees
  • embrace diversity principles
  • challenge discrimination and harassment at work
  • hold leadership accountable to identify and remove systemic barriers and strive toward a diverse and inclusive workplace in a sustained and responsive manner

Many factors contribute to a healthy and productive workforce. Action on diversity and inclusion must be aligned with and reinforce the government’s existing key initiatives to build a better work environment. These initiatives include:

  • the Workplace Mental Health Strategy
  • the Public Service Renewal Results Plan
  • efforts underway to improve workplace accessibility

The Task Force is confident that its proposed recommendations, when implemented, will begin a more robust, deliberate and sustainable process of culture change that leads to a workforce that fully represents Canada’s evolving diversity, and that fosters a welcoming and inclusive workplace where all employees can thrive.

The Task Force identified 4 areas for potential action:

  • people management
  • leadership and accountability
  • education and awareness
  • the diversity and inclusion lens

a) People management

People management involves:

  • improving representation, outreach, staffing, recruitment, onboarding, retention, career progression and management
  • addressing racism, discrimination, unconscious bias and harassment

LGBTQ2+” includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans(gender), queer and two-spirit people.

Among the key actions in this area, the Task Force recommends that:

  • Statistics Canada, in partnership with the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer and Employment and Social Development Canada, address gaps in workforce availability estimates by:
    • including non-citizens who live and work in Canada
    • collecting data on LGBTQ2+Footnote 7 people to determine whether they are under-represented
    • developing a methodology to update representation rates of employment equity groups between census periods
  • public service departments use demographic projections to establish diversity goals
  • selection boards and committees who assess candidates have received training in diversity and inclusion and are representative of at least 2 equity-seeking groups beyond gender
  • the public service establish ongoing performance management commitments to hold all deputy heads, executives and managers accountable for actions to ensure an inclusive workplace

b) Leadership and accountability

Leadership accountability involves clarifying and strengthening leaders’ oversight and their accountability.

Among the key actions in this area, the Task Force recommends that:

  • the government introduce legislation to support a diverse and inclusive public service that includes establishment of a Commissioner for Employment Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, modelled after the Commissioner of Official Languages
  • the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, through its Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer:
    • continue to be the central agency responsible for federal strategic direction and policy on diversity and inclusion
    • be given the necessary resources and strengthened mandate to house a joint union-management Centre of Expertise for Diversity and Inclusion to promote a more diverse and inclusive public service
  • a focused accountability mechanism be developed to measure the work and progress on diversity and inclusion and recommend corrective actions, as needed [this new mechanism can complement the Management Accountability Framework (MAF), but the MAF on its own is insufficient]

c) Education and awareness

Education and awareness involve allocating resources to develop and evolve an enterprise-wide approach to strengthen diversity and inclusion.

Among the key actions in this area, the Task Force recommends that:

  • a permanent governance structure with resources be established to develop a common approach and curriculum for diversity and inclusion trainingFootnote 8 with enterprise-wide objectives and outcomes, including identifying:
    • opportunities to embed principles and practices for diversity and inclusion in various types of training
    • employee development opportunities (orientation and leadership development)
  • diversity and inclusion training be a mandatory part of the onboarding process for new employees
  • diversity and inclusion be a key part of the curricula for leadership development, focusing on areas such as:
    • intercultural awareness and effectiveness
    • respect and civility in the workplace
    • mitigating unconscious bias
    • understanding the benefits of greater diversity and inclusion in fostering a healthy, productive workforce and workplace

Review policies (and practices) with a diversity lens.

Comment from a public service employee to the Task Force

d) The diversity and inclusion lens

The diversity and inclusion lens involves considering diversity and inclusion when making any decisions.

Among the key actions in this area, the Task Force recommends that the government integrate analysis of all decisions, policies, programs and people management strategies to assess their impact on diversity and inclusion. The Task Force has developed and proposes a practical tool to help employees and managers across the public service undertake such analysis.

Section 8 of this report provides a comprehensive overview of all the recommendations in this report. A list of the recommendations is in Appendix A.

3. Introduction

As previously mentioned, diversity has always been an important characteristic in Canada’s history, and today, Canada is one of the most diverse countries of the world:

  • One fifth of Canada’s people were born outside Canada, the highest foreign-born proportion of the population in the G7 countries (previously the G8).Footnote 9
  • Immigration accounts for two thirds of Canada’s population growth, with the majority of immigrants being visible minorities.Footnote 10 Statistics Canada projects that:
    • by 2031 close to 1 in 3 Canadians (31.0%) will be members of a visible minorityFootnote 11
    • almost 1 in 2 (44.2% to 49.7%) will be either an immigrant or a child of an immigrant by 2036Footnote 12
  • Depending on the source, methodology and specific groups included in various studies,Footnote 13 estimates of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender in Canada can range from 5%Footnote 14 to as high as 13%.Footnote 15 According to one recent study, 54% of LGBTQ2+Footnote 16 people in Canada prefer not to disclose their identities in the workplace because of fear of rejection from their colleagues.Footnote 17
  • Roughly 1 in 7 adult Canadians self-identify as having a disability (3.8 million people), with more than a quarter (26%) being classified as having a “very severe” disability.Footnote 18 By the age of 40, 1 in 2 Canadians have or have had a mental illness.Footnote 19
  • Canada’s Indigenous population is growing at more than four times the rate of the non-Indigenous population, and the average age of Indigenous peoples is almost a decade younger than the non-Indigenous population (32.1 years versus 40.9 years).Footnote 20
  • The millennial generation is forecast to make up 75% of the labour force in Canada in just over 10 years (2028).Footnote 21
  • Women represent only 12% of board seats for 677 companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, and 45% of these boards do not have a single woman on them.Footnote 22 In the public service, the representation of women at the executive level (47.3%) falls below their workforce availability (47.8%).Footnote 23

Ours is a land of Indigenous Peoples, settlers, and newcomers, and our diversity has always been at the core of our success. Canada’s history is built on countless instances of people uniting across their differences to work and thrive together. We express ourselves in French, English, and hundreds of other languages, we practice many faiths, we experience life through different cultures, and yet we are one country. Today, as has been the case for centuries, we are strong not in spite of our differences, but because of them.

Furthermore, strengthening diversity and inclusion has received increased attention as a worldwide practice and is viewed by leading, progressive organizations as critical to their success. Research shows that diversity and inclusion can spur innovation and lead to better results.Footnote 24

In a recent study using data from Statistics Canada’s 2006 Workplace and Employee Survey, for example, there was a significant positive relationship between ethnocultural diversity and increased productivity, with the strongest performance in sectors that depend on creativity and innovation.Footnote 25 Diversity confers its largest benefit within the service sector,Footnote 26 Footnote 27 where most of the public service performs its work. Indeed, the Public Service Employment Act recognizes that Canada will “gain from a public service…that is representative of Canada’s diversity.”Footnote 28

Canada is internationally recognized for its initiatives toward diversity and its commitment to it. Canada was also the first country in the world to adopt an official policy on multiculturalism when Parliament passed the Canadian Multiculturalism Act in 1988. This act is among other legislation and policies that reinforce Canadian support of diversity and inclusion, including:

  • the Canadian Human Rights Act
  • the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • the Employment Equity Act
  • the Official Languages Act

Moreover, on November 28, 2017, the Government of Canada formally apologized to LGBTQ2+ individuals and their families, partners and communities “for the persecution and injustices they have suffered, and to advance together on the path to equality and inclusion.”

New thinking, innovative approaches, and keeping up with the evolving expectations of our citizens are fundamental…above all, diversity and inclusion can lead to better decision-making and better results for Canadians.

The Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board

The federal public service has made efforts toward equity, diversity and inclusion over time. The Prime Minister and the Clerk of the Privy Council have strongly reaffirmed diversity and inclusion as priorities for the Government of Canada.Footnote 29 As part of this commitment, in spring 2016, the President of the Treasury Board proposed to bargaining agents the formation of a joint union/management task force to examine the issues of diversity and inclusion in the federal public service. On November 30, 2016, the Joint Union/Management Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion in the public service was established, with a one-year mandate to define, establish the case, and recommend a framework and action plan for diversity and inclusion in Canada’s public service.

The Task Force is made up of a Steering Committee, comprising 2 co-chairs, that guides the work of a Technical Committee of 14 members, co-chaired by employer and bargaining agents’ representatives. There is equal representation of the employer and of bargaining agents on each committee.

The Task Force’s Progress Update

On June 1, 2017, the Task Force released a Progress Update that outlined the Task Force’s progress and initial observations:

  • Although there are signs of progress and growing momentum among senior leaders and employees to support diversity and inclusion, there remain chronic and systemic challenges that inhibit greater headway. For example, the very leaders who shape and influence culture in federal departments do not reflect the diversity of Canada.Footnote 30
  • In the 2017 Public Service Annual Employee Survey, 22% of employees reported being harassed, up from 19% in 2014.Footnote 31 In the absence of specific goals and a government-wide framework, it is difficult to determine whether current initiatives to strengthen diversity and inclusion are succeeding in reducing or eliminating systemic barriers.

In its Progress Update, the Task Force identified 4 areas for action:

  1. people management
  2. leadership and accountability
  3. education and awareness
  4. an integrated approach to diversity and inclusion

View the Government of Canada’s short video on how federal public service employees “show their colours.”

4. Context

Key considerations

In its Progress Update, the Task Force noted that its actions and recommendations would be informed by:

  • decisions based on evidence
  • a commitment to reflect views and perspectives gained though the Task Force’s consultations with employees and stakeholders
  • transparency in the Task Force’s processes
  • the view that taking an integrated approach to diversity and inclusion is paramount to progress

In finalizing its proposed action plan, which is comprised of the 44 recommendations in this report, the Task Force also identified a number of key considerations it believes are critical to long-term success.

It starts with agreeing on the fundamentals. Each and every employee has the right to be treated fairly, and there are some groups in the workplace who are disadvantaged based on physical or other barriers. Often, systems are designed and evolve to address the needs of the majority employees, who are often in more influential positions compared with marginalized groups.

Furthermore, treating individual employees equally is in fact not fair, because those who are disadvantaged cannot always access and benefit from the same support systems as other employees. Treating employees in a way that is truly equitable gives them equal access by removing barriers and levelling the playing field. Doing so, however, may not remove the root causes of systemic barriers, which results in inequity and inequality.

The ultimate goal, then, should be to identify and remove systemic barriers, such as policies and practices that reinforce unconscious bias, stereotyping and other behaviours, while ensuring that interim measures are implemented to support employees. In addition, employees affected by such barriers have a key role in identifying and resolving them.

While we strive to hire individuals who fall within the equity groups…you need to not just hire them; you need to provide a workplace where they are safe, where there is no harassment, where there is no violence, where they can be engaged in all levels of the public service, and certainly where there’s accommodation for people with disabilities.

Robyn Benson, President of Public Service Alliance of Canada

The environment must be ripe for change to happen. Real culture change can happen only when management and employees:

  • understand why it is needed
  • have the right tools
  • are encouraged to embrace change

The public service must tap into the collective skills of every employee in order for culture change to take hold and flourish. Although there is momentum for change among leaders and employees across the public service, as one survey respondent noted, reinforcing the importance of diversity and inclusion must go beyond “samosas and spring roll lunches.” Barriers are often preventing talented workers from joining the public service and advancing to positions of leadership where they can make significant contributions to improve the workplace and promote inclusivity.

We need to go beyond samosas and spring roll lunches.

Comment from a public service employee to the Task Force

In successful organizations, diversity and inclusion are not optional. The case for diversity and inclusion extends beyond treating employees fairly and equitably. Diversity and inclusion enable the public service to leverage the range of perspectives of our country’s people to help address today’s complex challenges.

Quick fixes to achieve representation numbers often result in the accumulation of equity-seeking employeesFootnote 32 in lower-level positions, with low morale and limited ability to make positive contributions, further strengthening misconceptions and stereotyping. In a recent study that included round-table discussions with more than 100 leading employers in Canada, there was a strong sense that governments and industry are focused more on numbers and not enough on inclusion.Footnote 33

Every concern is legitimate and must be part of the conversation. The way individual employees perceive the workplace can be quite different depending on their vantage point, just as managers may perceive working conditions differently from employees who work for them. More than a quarter of public service employees (26%) do not believe that selection processes in their unit are fair,Footnote 34 and there are perceptions that members of equity groups often languish in qualified pools of talent, even after they have qualified after overcoming many hurdles.Footnote 35 Employees who are not considered marginalized may also have concerns and must be part of the conversation. For example, some groups that are perceived as privileged or who may have advantages and opportunities not afforded other groups may feel threatened by change. Managers and employees must address all concerns so that perceptions align with the desired reality in the workplace. Doing so will require:

  • greater transparency in staffing processes
  • more open discussions about issues that are potentially difficult

Diversity and inclusion are part of a broader change agenda. Many other factors contribute to better decision-making and performance. Actions on diversity and inclusion must complement these factors to help public institutions remain relevant and effective in the face of:

  • disruptive forces such as rapid change
  • growing demands to process vast amounts of information and respond quickly
  • rising expectations regarding employee engagement and empowerment

To build a better workplace, diversity and inclusion initiatives must support other key government projects already underway, such as:

  • the Workplace Mental Health Strategy
  • the Public Service Renewal Results Plan
  • work being done to create legislation to increase workplace accessibility

Employment equity is still a priority. Supporting the 4 groups designated under the Employment Equity Act (women, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal peoples and members of a visible minority) continues to be important. Although significant progress has already been accomplished for these groups, there remains a need to address existing gaps in representation, particularly in certain occupational categories, the executive group and in some departments and regions of Canada.

Celebrate what unites us. Although innovation in the public service comes from the diversity of people and the ideas they generate, public service employees are united in their commitment to excellence, integrity, good stewardship, and respect for people and democracy. Public service employees may differ in their views and opinions, but there is more that unites them than divides them. Culture change must be based on demonstrating the values and ethics that unite Canada’s public service and make it one of the best in the world.

Time for change: what should an action plan look like?

The Task Force recognizes that the impetus for change is evident in the number and breadth of initiatives to support diversity and inclusion across the public service. However, in the absence of a government-wide framework and approach, these efforts remain disjointed, and engagement is inconsistent. Without established goals, data and performance measures, it is difficult to determine progress and to know whether current initiatives, by themselves, will succeed in reducing or eliminating systemic barriers.

In assessing the approaches used by other jurisdictions, the Task Force determined that the following are critical to making progress on diversity and inclusion:

  • commitment, transparency and support of management and leadership
  • accountability and reporting of initiatives and progress by departments, so that there can be consistent measurement, evaluation and feedback across the public service
  • having meaningful incentives and consequences to achieve a more diverse and inclusive federal public service
  • consistent organization-wide education and awareness
  • strategies that are integrated across the organization and into business plans, including tools to support considerations about diversity and inclusion in all decision-making
  • actions that are informed by data, effective benchmarks, measurement and evaluation to support and advance priorities, while allowing for timely course correction and adjustments to reflect evolving context
  • investment of financial and human resources
  • recognition and effective harnessing of the experience, qualifications and talents of people who are Indigenous or new to Canada
  • culture change that is meaningful, sustained and evolving within the human rights framework

We need to identify and address systemic barriers that keep certain groups of talented Canadians from joining the federal public service, and advancing to positions and levels where they can make optimal contributions to the health of public service institutions and serve all people of Canada with excellence. We need to develop leadership that is capable of and committed to changing the culture of the public service to become more representative and inclusive; a public service that rewards talent, professionalism and dedication, and where the background, culture, religion and any other identities are valued and respected.

Debi Daviau, President of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

The Task Force believes that an effective action plan for diversity and inclusion should:

  • identify a limited number of high-impact, key priorities
  • include concrete and measurable actions to support and advance those priorities
  • ensure that actions are informed by data, effective benchmarks, measurement and evaluation
  • allow for continuous feedback and adjustment to reflect evolving circumstances and changing context

5. Definitions and principles

The Task Force acknowledges the usefulness of various definitions of diversity and inclusion. For the purposes of this report, the Task Force has chosen to define a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace in the context of the federal public service:

  • A diverse workforce in the public service is made up of individuals who have an array of identities,Footnote 36 abilities, backgrounds, cultures, skills, perspectives and experiences that are representative of Canada’s current and evolving population.
  • An inclusive workplace is fair, equitable, supportive, welcoming and respectful. It recognizes, values and leverages differences in identities, abilities, backgrounds, cultures, skills, experiences and perspectives that support and reinforce Canada’s evolving human rights framework.Footnote 37

The Task Force identifies the following principles as helpful in guiding diversity and inclusion initiatives within the public service:

  1. Diversity and inclusion are indispensable in enhancing an organization’s capacity to innovate and provide excellent service to all of Canada’s people.
  2. A diverse workplace is one that is representative of and reflects all people in Canada.
  3. Promoting and supporting respect, mutual trust, equitable treatment, non-discrimination and diverse ideas is essential to achieving a healthy and productive workplace.
  4. An inclusive workplace is one that is bias-free and barrier-free, and that supports the well-being of all employees, including those who may be currently or historically disadvantaged.
  5. To establish an inclusive workplace, all managers must recognize individual skills, competencies, strengths and diverse work approaches and styles.
  6. There must be ongoing efforts to communicate, raise awareness and provide appropriate education to support diversity and inclusion across the entire organization, including engaging all employees.

6. The case for diversity

Treating all people with respect, dignity and fairness is fundamental to our relationship with the Canadian public and contributes to a safe and healthy work environment that promotes engagement, openness and transparency. The diversity of our people and the ideas they generate are the source of our innovation.

Governments have a responsibility to contribute to the greater good and build a society that is fair and respectful of all individuals. A diverse and inclusive public service that can harness the diverse backgrounds, talents and perspectives of its employees is essential to building a better, more productive and more innovative Canada.Footnote 38 As Canada’s largest employer, the public service is well placed to serve as a model for other employers by learning and living the value that a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace offers.

Public service employees interact with and touch the lives of Canada’s people every day, in every part of the country and around the world, through an array of services and programs. In addition to meeting its service and program mandates, the public service has the opportunity to leverage the diversity of Canada’s population to develop a workplace where individual distinctions are supported as valuable in improving the public service. The result will be a generation of public service employees who:

  • impact the way Canada’s population views and values diversity and inclusion
  • contribute to strengthening the socio-economic landscape of the country

For years, experts have recognized the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Extensive research demonstrates the positive impact that diversity and inclusion have on:

  • creativity
  • problem solving
  • innovation
  • the ability to attract and retain talented employees
  • understanding customers’ needs
  • engaging employees
  • building high-performing teams

The ability to invite and learn from different perspectives is fundamental to driving innovation, building strong relationships, and taking the best approaches to meet the needs of the populations we serve.Footnote 39

Every employer has a responsibility for the well-being of its employees. A healthy, productive workforce will result in better outcomes across the federal public service and for all of Canada’s people. Achieving such a workforce involves the following recommendations for diversity and inclusion, as well as the Joint Task Force on Mental Health in the Workplace’s considerations regarding mental wellness.

In our globalized environment, the diversity of Canada’s population is a valuable asset. In order to fully benefit from its diversity, Canada’s public service must:

  • listen to the concerns and advice of its employees
  • embrace diversity principles as being integral to its people management framework
  • address racism, discrimination and harassment in the workplace
  • hold leadership accountable for removing systemic barriers and for planning for a diverse and inclusive workplace in a sustained, responsive and professional manner

These actions will set the stage for a cultural transformation that will see Canada’s federal public service exceed its already impressive reputation as being world-class.

Transformation takes time, commitment and an openness to discussing, persuading and influencing how individuals value diversity. Active engagement and partnering with bargaining agents and external organizations to leverage their expertise and lessons learned will:

  • help the federal transformation agenda move forward
  • encourage and support the development of collaborative networks among employees

It is critical to establish a whole-of-government approach that strikes the right balance between central coordination and delegation of responsibilities.

Most important is the need to recognize that Canada’s economy is rich with potential and that innovation is needed to maximize that potential. Canada’s diverse population is its strength, and an inclusive federal public service must leverage that strength.

7. What we heard

Figure 1. Statistics on the Task Force’s consultations and engagement

Approximately 12,000 responses to the Task Force's online survey
+ more than 500 participants in discussion forums
+ more than 700 emails and comments to the Task Force mailbox
+ more than 60 phone calls to the Task Force secretariat


= more than 13,250 responses received from public service employees

To deliver on its mandate, the Task Force undertook a broad range of activities to gather information and ideas. Its activities included:

  • conducting an environmental scan that included meetings with:
    • over 20 stakeholder groups representing 16 departments across the public service
    • representatives from 15 private sector institutions and 2 provincial jurisdictions
  • engaging public service employees directly through an online survey of 30 departments and agencies that generated almost 12,000 responses
  • holding discussion forums with 20 networks and communities of interest, engaging more than 500 participants, including:
    • LGBTQ2+ people
    • the Persons with Disabilities Champions and Chairs Committee
    • visible minorities
    • the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada (APEX)
    • bargaining agents
    • employees in regions across Canada, including the North
  • consulting on the issues highlighted by the Interdepartmental Collaboration Circle on Indigenous Representation in the Federal Public Service, including those discussed in its Interim Report and the results of the 2017 Survey of Federal Indigenous EmployeesFootnote 40
  • reviewing the results of the consultations on proposed accessibility legislation
  • receiving over 700 emails and comments to the Task Force’s mailbox, plus more than 60 telephone calls

Insights gained through the Task Force’s outreach, consultations and other engagement activities were complemented by research performed by the Task Force’s secretariat, which included an examination of practices in Ontario and 2 national jurisdictions that have population profiles similar to Canada’s (Australia and the UK).

The exercise yielded a significant body of information that covered the following broad topics, among others:

  • diversity and inclusion initiatives
  • challenges
  • data and monitoring tools
  • barriers to inclusion
  • best practices
  • trends in the public and private sectors

The Task Force’s Progress Update included a summary of the environmental scan and information provided to the Task Force. It did not include results of the consultation and engagement exercise, as they became available after the update was published.

Highlights from the online survey

The Task Force’s survey was conducted between April 24 and May 31, 2017, among 30 participating organizations and generated 11,956 responses. Respondents were asked to identify:

  • factors that contribute to an inclusive workplace
  • barriers to achieving diversity in the workforce and inclusion in the workplace
  • 1 or 2 ideas or actions that could help foster diversity and inclusion in their workplace
  • 4 words that best describe a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace

The results of the survey align with the 4 areas of potential action that the Task Force identified in its Progress Update (people management, leadership and accountability, education and awareness, and an integrated approach to diversity and inclusion). A summary of the survey’s results and its methodology are in Appendix C.

The following are highlights of some key results from the survey:

  • When asked to identify factors that contribute to an inclusive workplace, the top 3 responses were:
    1. respect and civility (65%)
    2. fairness in all aspects of employment (64%)
    3. cultural awareness and sensitivity (41%)
  • When asked to identify barriers to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, the top 3 responses were:
    1. bias (73%)
    2. discrimination (60%)
    3. harassment (38%)
  • 47% of respondents rated their workforce as diverse or very diverse, and 50% viewed their workplace as inclusive or very inclusive.
  • When asked to provide 1 or 2 suggestions to help foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace, the vast majority (over 10,000 responses) focused on ideas related to people management or education and awareness. Examples of the most popular ideas included:
    • reinforcing values and ethics regarding fairness and transparency in practices for people management to prevent nepotism and favouritism in the workplace (promotions, assigning work and learning opportunities)
    • ensuring that those who assess candidates (as members of selection boards or committees) are sufficiently representative and diverse
    • providing greater opportunities for second official language training and making more positions available to people who are not bilingual in English and French, to help foster diversity of new recruits and more opportunities for employees within the federal public service
    • reviewing employment equity laws and policies (assessing whether new categories of perceived under-represented groups are needed, strengthening enforcement and accountability mechanisms, updating terminology, reassessing existing groups, etc.), the implementation of requirements under the Employment Equity Act, and the roles of:
      • the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
      • the Public Service Commission of Canada
      • the Canadian Human Rights Commission
      • bargaining agents
    • increasing communication and awareness through various activities (FEDTalks and seminars)
    • offering training on cultural awareness and unconscious bias

Highlights from discussion forums

Discussion forums with employee networks and communities of interest were held between March 26 and July 26, 2017. The Task Force invited 20 groups to participate in discussion forums, including regional employees, bargaining agents and various interest groups. Twenty discussion forums were completed:

  • 19 were held in person
  • 1 was held via targeted emails from members of the persons with disabilities community, at various departments

The Task Force’s forums generated input from more than 500 participants. A full list of groups consulted is in Appendix C.

The discussion forums were facilitated by the Joint Learning ProgramFootnote 41 and followed a World CaféFootnote 42 format. This engaging conversation-style consultation facilitated discussions in small groups and allowed participants to share their ideas, opinions and unique experiences related to these 3 questions:

  1. What elements currently exist in your work environment to make it diverse and inclusive?
  2. What are the barriers to diversity and inclusion in your workplace?
  3. What are the contributing factors to a diverse workforce and inclusive workplace?

In order to establish consistency with the Task Force’s online survey results, the recorded responses were:

  • sorted into the broad thematic categories presented in the online survey questionnaire
  • ranked in terms of the frequency with which they were mentioned

Following are some highlights from the Task Force’s discussion forums:

  • The top contributing factors to an inclusive workplace were indicated as:
    • effective workplace policies
    • fair and effective management practices or leadership
    • fairness in all aspects of employment
  • The top barriers to achieving diversity and inclusion in the workplace were indicated as:
    • staffing and recruitment policies and practices
    • the level of workplace accommodation and accessibility
    • limited access to training or developmental opportunities, including access to second official language training
    • bias

A detailed summary of the results of the Task Force’s discussion forum is available in Appendix C.

The Interdepartmental Collaboration Circle on Indigenous Representation in the Federal Public Service contributed by sharing the following with the Task Force:

  • its Interim Report
  • the results of its 2017 Survey of Federal Indigenous Employees

Findings from the Circle’s report have been incorporated into the Task Force’s observations and have informed its recommendations. The information gleaned from the Circle’s survey has also been integrated into the data on discussion forums.

Following are some highlights from the 2017 Survey of Federal Indigenous Employees:

  • The top 3 words that describe a work environment that is supportive of Indigenous employees were indicated as:
    • respectful
    • inclusivity
    • supportive
  • The top 3 things that the federal public service should be offering to help Indigenous employees thrive and succeed were indicated as:
    • targeted leadership development opportunities (33%)
    • more opportunities for training and development (32%)
    • mentoring opportunities (22%)
  • The top challenges that Indigenous employees have encountered in working for the public service were indicated as:
    • lack of career advancement opportunities (36% of respondents)
    • limited opportunities for mobility (26% of respondents)
    • vacancies that have required employees to cover the responsibilities of two positions (23% of respondents)

8. Analysis, observations and recommendations

The Task Force offers its analysis, observations and recommendations in these key areas:

  • people management
  • leadership and accountability
  • education and awareness
  • the diversity and inclusion lens

The Task Force’s research, consultations and engagement revealed numerous gaps that relate to these areas, and some gaps pertain to more than one area. The solutions to these gaps are similarly interrelated.

a) People management

A successful diversity and inclusion strategy must address concerns regarding people management. The 2017 Survey of Federal Indigenous Employees reveals that current and former Indigenous employees perceive gaps in the following that inhibit their ability to fully leverage the opportunities that a diverse workspace and inclusive workplace can bring:

  • outreach
  • recruitment
  • staffing
  • other people management practices

These results were reinforced through the Task Force’s consultations on broad issues related to diversity and inclusion. Better representation of diversity within the public service is an overarching people management theme.

Representation and diversity

Observations

Current representation rates in the public service for the 4 designated groups under the Employment Equity Act (EEA) are determined by comparing the number of employees who self-identified with these groups in 2015 with estimates of workforce availability (WFA).

WFA estimates were calculated using 2011 Census data. Using this approach, there are currently no statistical representation gaps for the EEA groups in the public service as a whole. Over the last 15 years, the statistical representation of EEA-designated groups has steadily increased and, in some instances, exceeded WFA estimates.Footnote 43 It should be noted, however, that there are pockets where significant representation gaps exist:

  • some classification groups
  • some departments
  • some regional offices

Subsequent WFA estimates may indicate some changes in the representativeness of the federal public service.Footnote 44

It is important to note that statistical representation is regarded as the lowest level of achievement in recognizing diversity. Achieving WFA estimates is a floor, not a ceiling. However, many departments use WFA estimates as a target.

The public service uses WFA estimates to determine its overall representation requirements. However, it takes an extraordinarily long time to establish representation rates between Census periods, resulting in people management decisions being made with outdated information. WFA estimates include only Canadian citizens and does not include:

  • permanent residents
  • recent immigrants
  • refugees
  • others who also make up the people in Canada
Recommendations

To more effectively use statistics to diversify the public service, the Task Force recommends:

Recommendation 1: That Statistics Canada, in partnership with the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer and Employment and Social Development Canada, address gaps in workforce availability (WFA) estimates by:

  • developing a methodology to update employment equity WFA estimates between censuses
  • preparing demographic and WFA projections to reflect Canada’s diversity
  • collecting Census data on LGBTQ2+ people to determine whether this community is under-represented in the workforce
  • including in WFA estimates citizens and non-citizens who are living in Canada

Recommendation 2: That public service departments use demographic projections to establish diversity goals.

Outreach, recruitment and onboarding

Observations

Outreach and recruitment are the processes and results of accessing the labour market to attract, assess and hire talent into the public service. Onboarding is the process of orienting and integrating new recruits into the workplace. Its activities include meeting, welcoming, training and supporting an employee into the public service or a new department or new role, over the course of their public service career.

To help with outreach at post-secondary institutions, the public service has put in place a Deputy Minister University Champion (DMUC) model, which targets specific universities in order to attract post-secondary students and graduates. To date, there has been no evaluation of what the DMUC approach has achieved. Anecdotal evidence suggests, however, that it has had mixed success. Some suggest that focusing on universities can ignore important outreach and recruitment opportunities through other post-secondary institutions:

  • that offer technical and other vocational skills required in the public service (such medical technicians and accommodation managers)
  • where students from a broader diversity of backgrounds, identities and experiences may attend

A significant amount of recruitment into the public service does come from post-secondary recruitment and hiring, but there are gaps when it comes to hiring students from equity-seeking groups. When student recruitment rates are analyzed over a 3-year period (from the 2013 to 2014 fiscal year to the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year), data show that the proportion of students from EEA-designated groups hired through student programs for summer and part-time work fell below representation rates (where data is available). This outcome is despite a sharp increase in the overall number of students hired into the public service between the 2014 to 2015 fiscal year and the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year. Student recruitment data is not currently collected for LGBTQ2+ individuals.

Appendix E outlines trends in student recruitment into Canada’s public service between the 2013 to 2014 fiscal year and the 2015 to 2016 fiscal year for 3 core student recruitment programs:

  1. the Federal Student Work Employment ProgramFootnote 45
  2. the Post-Secondary Co-op/Internship ProgramFootnote 46
  3. the Research Affiliate ProgramFootnote 47

Despite some progress, there is more for the public service to do in order to attract and recruit the next generation of public service employees. Innovating to improve student recruitment will help the public service achieve important results for all people of Canada.

Currently, there are very few broad mechanisms for recruiting mid-career professionals who attend specialized advanced education and take training abroad or at Canadian institutions (for example, the Public Service Commission’s Recruitment of Policy Leaders Program). This gap is of particular concern to immigrants to Canada who may seek a Canadian education and still may not meet requirements for working in the federal public service, such as having recent and significant experience.

Two current initiatives have proven to be promising:

  • The Indigenous Youth Summer Employment Opportunity (IYSEO) is a recruitment initiative that hires Indigenous post-secondary students for up to 15 weeks of enhanced learning in the National Capital Region, with emphasis on:
    • effective onboarding
    • learning and development sessions
    • mentoring
    • housing for those who live outside Ottawa-Gatineau
    • extracurricular and cultural events
    IYSEO engaged 99 participants and 20 departments in 2017.
  • The Youth with Disabilities Summer Employment Opportunity (YwDSEO) is a recruitment initiative that in 2017 hired 19 post-secondary students who self-identify as having a disability for an introductory work program in the National Capital Region to:
    • foster positive early career experiences
    • develop a better understanding of career opportunities and support for accommodations available in the public service

    YwDSEO was modelled from the success of IYSEO and has the same core aspects (except housing). It also focuses on fully integrating these students into the workforce, with all accommodation needs being met in a timely manner.

To build on the success of these initiatives, information about their approach and results should be circulated widely within the public service and elsewhere. To achieve their full potential, these programs need to be expanded into regions outside the National Capital Region, and changes must be made based on participants’ feedback. For example, managers need to be trained on how to support participants, and central funding for accommodations must be established. It is important to provide requested accommodations for all employees prior to their employment in the federal public service.

In addition to having effective internal programs, to achieve a representative public service, the government should:

  • partner with external organizations to attract a diverse spectrum of talent
  • target recruitment efforts
  • focus its recruitment on required future skills and competencies

LiveWorkPlay is a charitable organization that helps communities welcome people who have intellectual disabilities to live, work and play as valued citizens.

Several not-for-profit organizations are excellent resources for hiring managers who seek to diversify their workplace. One such organization is LiveWorkPlay, which is a charity that specializes in helping intellectually challenged individuals find meaningful and productive work.

Mid-career recruitment is also an important consideration for the public service. Mid-career recruits bring unique skills and experience from other sectors that can strengthen public service innovation and productivity. Mid-career recruits can also be catalysts for organizational culture change. Canada has an active immigration program that attracts professionals who bring in-demand expertise and skills, but federal hiring programs do not target such professionals who are seeking mid-career opportunities.

Even though immigration accounts for two thirds of Canada’s population growth and almost half of Canadians will be an immigrant or be the child of one by 2036,Footnote 48 current staffing policies and practices create barriers that inhibit newcomers from integrating into the economy. For instance, only experience obtained in Canada in the previous 5 years is considered as relevant for hiring, which disproportionately disadvantages immigrants. This practice also impedes those who have taken extended time off work due to family obligations, notably women and Indigenous peoples.

There are other innovative initiatives being piloted as well. The Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC) is completing a pilot project on name-blind recruitment. Launched in April 2017, the project aims to:

  • measure the impact that concealing an applicant’s personal information (for example, names, email addresses, employment equity information, countries of origin) has on the initial screening decisions reached by reviewers when compared with the traditional method of screening applicants (in which an applicant’s information is available)
  • determine whether certain equity-seeking groups (for example, visible minority or Indigenous applicants) are differently affected by the choice of screening method

The project will hopefully provide insight into the effect of name-blind recruitment in Canada’s federal public service. Sixteen departments are participating, and, as of August 18, 2017, 29 staffing processes have been selected, with more to be confirmed and launched. The PSC will file an interim report on the pilot in September 2017 and a final report in December 2017.

Furthermore, few departments are well-equipped to proactively support new employees under their duty-to-accommodate obligations. The normal process requires the employee to express their need for accommodation, followed by an assessment (by Health Canada if it is medically related or by a contractor if it is not) in order to provide recommendations. Once management accepts these recommendations, procurement and installation occurs, depending on the request, which is often the responsibility of another department. This process often takes months and can take more than a year. Consequently, many employees with disabilities face heightened workload pressure while waiting for the tools they need to be fully productive.

Departments could consider a keeping desirable inventory (for example, desks that can be raised and lowered, ergonomically adjustable chairs, voice-activated software, ergonomic mouse and keyboard options, specialized computers and screens) to be kept on hand and provided to employees on short notice.

Recommendations

Effective recruitment and onboarding have an enduring impact on an employee’s perception of the public service. Insufficient planning and preparation often typify the recruitment onboarding experience for new recruits and may have lingering negative impacts. To improve recruitment and onboarding, the Task Force recommends:

Recommendation 3: That a centralized, systematic approach be developed for accessibility and accommodations, including:

  • centralized funding for accommodations
  • all-gender and accessible washrooms that reflect the needs of a diverse workforce and that are mandated as part of the government’s accommodation and retrofit program

Recommendation 4: That partnerships be developed and that diverse communities and other groups be involved in broadening outreach and recruitment efforts by the Public Service Commission of Canada and other federal departments to include post-secondary institutions other than universities, such as:

  • colleges
  • polytechnic institutes
  • Indigenous post-secondary institutions
  • trade schools

Recommendation 5: That the Public Service Commission of Canada and departments develop targeted recruitment approaches modelled after current promising initiatives, such as the Indigenous Youth Summer Employment Opportunity and the Youth with Disabilities Summer Employment Opportunity, to deliberately attract individuals who have the diverse identities, abilities, education, skills, competencies and experiences to meet emerging public service needs.

Recommendation 6: That the government consider adopting name-blind recruitment practices for all external recruitment and internal staffing processes if results from the Public Service Commission of Canada’s pilot project show promise in safeguarding against unconscious bias and in promoting diversity and inclusion.

Recommendation 7: That the Public Service Commission of Canada and the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat undertake further work to identify and resolve systemic barriers to recruitment into the public service, including at mid-career, and strengthen employment equity and diversity and inclusion. Noted barriers include:

  • the effort and costs involved in providing, often repeatedly, proof of foreign credentials, which is inequitably taxing for some equity-seeking groups
  • meeting second official language requirements at the time of hire
  • the fact that experience is considered relevant only if obtained in Canada in the past 5 years
  • a lack of affordable and accessible child care
  • no policy support for those suffering from domestic violence

Recommendation 8: That the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer communicate to hiring managers that degrees from colleges recognized as degree-granting institutions are to be treated in the same way as university degrees.

Recommendation 9: That diversity and inclusion, employment equity, and unconscious bias training be:

  • mandatory for all new employees during onboarding
  • integrated in meaningful ways in all required training
  • integrated into staffing delegation and sub-delegation requirements

Recommendation 10: That onboarding practices be strengthened through an enterprise-wide, standardized approach that provides new employees with the support and training they need to integrate and be productive members of the team as quickly as possible. Best practices in onboarding programs include:

  • mandatory diversity and inclusion, employment equity, and unconscious bias training
  • identifying a departmental “buddy” who is at the same level as the new employee and who has a clear mandate to orient the employee
  • introduction of the new employee to departmental and bargaining agent representatives to communicate that there are supports if employees have issues with employment equity or diversity, including harassment and discrimination
  • information regarding employee networks, including any employment equity and diversity networks
  • departmental mentors or sponsors at a more senior level who have a clear mandate and accountability to provide advice, support and guidance to employees who have specific career development needs

Retention, career progression and management

Observations

Changes to public service culture, career development, career support, talent management and opportunities for career progression must be made in order for the public service to strengthen its reputation as a workplace of choice.

Recent studies, including the Task Force’s diversity and inclusion survey, the Survey of Federal Indigenous Employees (2017), and the 2017 Public Service Employee Annual Survey (PSEAS), indicate that employees are dissatisfied with a range of people management policies and practices. Some of the main issues identified were:

  • an opaque hiring process and nepotism in staffing
  • ignorance and discrimination
  • limited options for mobility
  • little diversity among higher-level public service employees and few sponsors for aspiring leaders in equity-seeking groups
  • stringent language requirements that disproportionately affect people in Canada whose first language is neither English nor French
  • dissatisfaction with superiors (such as lack of trust, respect and support)
  • insufficient opportunities for mentoring and professional development

The results of the 2017 Survey of Federal Indigenous Employees show a high level of concern among Indigenous employees regarding various barriers and people management practices, including the following:

  • 59% of respondents indicated the need for “better understanding of competencies required to become a leader” as an important area of learning and development
  • 40% reported that they were “thinking of leaving their current position,” and 30% responded that they were “not sure”
  • 36% of respondents reported a lack of career advancement opportunities and 26% indicated limited opportunities for mobility as the biggest challenges that Indigenous employees have encountered while working for the public service

The 2017 PSEAS also highlights concerns related to people management. When respondents were asked whether they agreed with the statement “overall, I like my job,” the rates of agreement varied among groups:

  • 70% of employees with disabilities agreed
  • 76% of Aboriginal employees agreed
  • an overall average of 78% agreed

To address these and other concerns, respondents to the surveys highlighted and recommended various avenues for change. Their suggestions included:

  • reworking the recruitment process by:
    • streamlining it
    • explaining what is expected of everyone in the process
    • guaranteeing that those who select candidates are diverse and have received training in diversity and inclusion
  • undertaking better outreach through:
    • posting jobs on social media
    • collaborating with post-secondary institutions and community groups that serve diverse populations
  • other considerations such as:
    • improving work-life balance
    • encouraging innovation
    • creating a welcoming atmosphere where differences are celebrated

Sponsorship, mentoring and coaching initiatives designed to develop employees are recognized as promising practices to:

  • support career progression
  • contribute to the attractiveness of the public service as a workplace

Mentoring and coaching are long-standing approaches to career development. Sponsorship, which is when a senior experienced leader lends their credibility and experience to support the development and advancement of a more junior person, is somewhat less familiar in the workplace.

Mentoring, coaching and sponsorship prospects are important at the start of a career and equally so at mid-career. Although supporting new recruits is very important, there is a need for deliberate talent management at mid-career, which will go far to help with culture change in the public service. Moreover, providing accommodations for people with disabilities is vital in attracting, retaining and supporting employees throughout their careers.

The diversity of languages in Canada is increasing, with the proportion of people whose first language is other than English or French growing consistently.Footnote 49 In the Task Force’s discussion forums and the dialogue circles that supported the Survey of Federal Indigenous Employees (2017), second language requirements were cited by equity-seeking groups as a barrier to hiring and career advancement. Thirty per cent of respondents to the online survey identified language-related concerns as barriers to diversity and inclusion, such as lack of competency in either or both official languages that inhibits promotions or career progression.Footnote 50

There is broad understanding and support for the reality that the federal public service is officially bilingual. However, when employees report that achieving language requirements is a barrier, there is room for mitigating strategies to help address these concerns. In the context of evolving diversity, the public service must examine its language strategy and resources in light of the changing makeup of the population. Employee input and analysis of Public Service Employee Survey data speak clearly to the need to address issues of discrimination, harassment and bias encountered by employees from equity-seeking groups. Discrimination, harassment and bias are expressed, experienced and managed differently by each individual. However, the overall result is that individuals subjected to such negative behaviours have a clear feeling of workplace exclusion that can result in mental health issues and a desire to leave the public service.

The results from the 2017 PSEASFootnote 51 paint a multi-faceted picture of the perceptions that employees in equity-seeking groups have regarding their workplace conditions and support. In broad strokes, women report experiences that are better than men’s related to diversity and inclusion concerns, such as:

  • respect
  • work-life balance
  • job satisfaction
  • stress levels
  • awareness of mental health in the workplace

However, women are more likely to report suffering harassment than men (23% vs. 20%) and are equally likely to have been a victim of discrimination (12% for both men and women). Conversely, members of visible minorities, Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities hold more negative views of almost all of these workplace concerns than their comparison groups (people who are not visible minorities and people who do not identify as Indigenous or as persons who have a disability), with the opinions and experiences of persons with disabilities diverging most from the dominant population. For instance, persons with disabilities are:

  • twice as likely to report being harassed in the past 2 years than people who do not have a disability (40% vs. 20%)
  • nearly 3 times as likely to report discrimination (32% vs. 11%)

Members of all the equity-seeking groups report more instances of harassment and discrimination in the 2017 PSEAS than in the 2014 Public Service Employee Survey (see Tables 1 and 2).

Table 1. Reported rates of harassment in the past 2 years in Canada’s public service, 2014 and 2017
Survey Women Persons with a disability Visible minorities Aboriginal peoples
Sources: 2017 PSEAS and Focus on Harassment, 2015.
2014 Public Service Employee Survey 20% 37% 19% 30%
2017 PSEAS 23% 40% 22% 33%
Table 2. Reported rates of discrimination in the past 2 years in Canada’s public service, 2014 and 2017
Survey Women Persons with a disability Visible minorities Aboriginal peoples
Sources: 2017 PSEAS and Focus on Discrimination, 2015.
2014 Public Service Employee Survey 8% 26% 13% 15%
2017 PSEAS 12% 32% 19% 20%

Furthermore, agreement with the statement “my department or agency treats me with respect” is the lowest for people with disabilities (61%) and Aboriginal peoples (70%) in the 2017 results, compared with the surveys in 2008, 2011 and 2014. The same is true for the assertion “Overall, I like my job,” which was lower in 2017 than in 2008, 2011 and 2014 for people with disabilities, members of visible minorities and Aboriginal peoples.

Overall, the results of the 2017 PSEAS, which was this survey’s first iteration, reveal that significant work is still needed to improve workplace conditions and support for equity-seeking groups. Moreover, the decrease in job satisfaction coupled with the increase in instances of discrimination and harassment are causes for serious concern.

It is also important to recognize how non-work experiences can prevent individuals from performing optimally. Such situations disproportionately affect equity-seeking groups, especially those who have intersectional identities.Footnote 52 For example, women shoulder the majority of child-rearing responsibilities, which, in the absence of affordable and accessible child care, can negatively impact their careers.Footnote 53 Furthermore, more women suffer intimate partner violence than men (people with disabilities, Indigenous people and LGBTQ2+ people are also disproportionately affected), which inhibits work performance and results in lost productivity.Footnote 54 However, policy mechanisms to support employees affected by these situations are unsatisfactory and lacking.

Coordinated efforts to address diversity and inclusion concerns would benefit from a formalized structure that is informed by approaches used to implement previous related initiatives, including the Centre of Expertise on Mental Health in the Workplace.

Recommendations

All public service employees should benefit from opportunities to develop and advance in their careers. Whatever the area of work, appropriate training, development and career management is relevant, and employees should be made aware of these opportunities through regular communications. Too often, new recruits are led to believe that anyone can reach the pinnacle of public service leadership, when in reality this is not happening.

Further, there is frequently the perception of favouritism and discrimination associated with access to training and development opportunities. To mitigate retention and career management challenges, the Task Force recommends:

Recommendation 11: Identifying and implementing actions to retain individuals who have diverse skills, competencies, experiences, identities and abilities.

Recommendation 12: Taking deliberate action to establish an integrated approach to training, development and managing talent, which includes mentoring, coaching and sponsorship by senior leaders.

Recommendation 13: Reviewing the current approach and the allocation of resources to language training, with consideration of the public service’s commitment to bilingualism, to:

  • ensure a fair, transparent and equitable approach to accessing language training and development, based on the needs of employees, including those in unilingual positions
  • ensure value and results from service providers
  • ensure that culturally sensitive language training options are provided
  • identify and implement best practices in second language attainment and maintenance
  • increase language training opportunities that address the double disadvantage faced by individuals whose first language is neither English nor French

Recommendation 14: Recognizing, valuing and rewarding individuals for their knowledge and use of languages other than English and French when serving Canada’s people or representing Canada domestically or abroad.

Recommendation 15: Introducing non-imperative staffing for equity-seeking groups to prepare them to achieve official bilingual proficiency in order to access leadership positions, commensurate with their talents and abilities.

Recommendation 16: That selection boards and committees that assess job candidates are representative of at least 2 equity-seeking groups beyond gender.

Recommendation 17: That everyone who assesses job candidates (on selection boards or committees) receive specialized training in:

  • employment equity
  • diversity and inclusion
  • unconscious bias
  • intercultural effectiveness and awareness

Multiple stakeholders (for example, the Public Service Commission of Canada, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and the Canada School of Public Service) should collaborate on creating this training.

Recommendation 18: Revamping the current infrastructure for supporting and promoting diversity and inclusion in the public service, notably the Employment Equity Champions and Chairs Committees and Circle, in favour of establishing an infrastructure that is:

  • centralized
  • funded
  • strategic
  • focused on results and transformation
  • accountable through a Centre of Expertise on Diversity and Inclusion

Recommendation 19: That the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer receive adequate financial and human resources to establish a viable, effective and collaborative Centre of Expertise on Diversity and Inclusion to support the federal public service with developing and implementing measures to improve diversity, inclusion and employment equity in the workplace. Its responsibilities would be to:

  • determine ways to reduce and eliminate the stigma in the workplace that is too frequently associated with mental health issues and other prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act
  • determine ways to better communicate discrimination issues in the workplace, and ensure that tools such as existing policies, legislation and directives are available to support employees who face such challenges
  • review practices in other jurisdictions and of other employers that might be instructive for the public service
  • outline any possible challenges and barriers that may impact the successful implementation of best practices for diversity and inclusion
  • provide clear direction about oversight and authority in the Treasury Board policies and directives
  • work with the Public Service Commission of Canada to identify and remove systemic barriers in staffing for equity-seeking groups
  • work with other groups (for example, the Canadian Human Rights Commission) to ensure that the approach to achieving employment equity and diversity and inclusion is consistent, and that employment equity and diversity and inclusion remain a priority in the public service

Recommendation 20: That a senior management guidance committee comprised of bargaining agents and employer representatives provide support to the Centre of Expertise on Diversity and Inclusion and be consulted in developing the Centre’s mandate.

Recommendation 21: Establishing an accountability framework for departmental champions and chairs, including:

  • mandatory training in diversity and inclusion, employment equity and unconscious bias
  • accountability to deputy heads for effectiveness and results incorporated into their formal role and their performance management agreements
  • access to financial resources

Recommendation 22: That being named a departmental champion be seen as a commitment to the department’s vision for diversity and inclusion.

Recommendation 23: That departmental champions:

  • be selected with input from employees and bargaining agents
  • embrace the vision of a diverse and inclusive public service
  • engage unions and employees at all levels
  • raise awareness of diversity and inclusion
  • report their activities publicly to ensure commitment and consistency
  • ensure that departmental committees for diversity and inclusion include bargaining agent representatives selected by bargaining agents

Racism, discrimination and harassment

Observations and recommendations

Racism, discrimination and harassment in all their forms have been identified as workplace challenges in Canada’s public service. Results from the 2017 PSEAS and the Public Service Employee Survey for more than a decade provide evidence that the public service has challenges in welcoming and including members of emerging and long-standing equity-seeking groups. Efforts to address racism, discrimination and harassment in the public service have not been centralized, coordinated or designed to measure results. To address these gaps, the Task Force recommends:

Recommendation 24: Undertaking deliberate, centralized and measurable action to address racism, discrimination, harassment and bias in the public service, including:

  • establishing, measuring and reporting on ongoing deputy head accountabilities for:
    • ensuring a safe space to report issues of discrimination, racism and harassment
    • reporting on how workplace complaints are addressed
  • naming a qualified senior-level officer who reports to each deputy head and is impartial and independent of labour relations units and human resources units, and whose responsibility it is to:
    • track incidences
    • be accessible to confidentially help employees and bargaining agents who have concerns related to racism, discrimination or harassment to access the appropriate avenue of resolution
    • facilitate access to the deputy head when needed
  • ensuring timely resolution of allegations and issues of racism, discrimination and harassment
  • reporting annually on incidences and resolutions

Recommendation 25: Establishing ongoing commitments in performance management agreements that hold deputy heads, executives and managers accountable for achieving employment equity and diversity and inclusion goals, and for tracking progress on these objectives.

Staffing

Observations

The legislative and regulatory framework that governs the public service staffing regime has evolved since the Public Service Modernization Act was introduced in 2005. Citing as its rationale the maturity of the public service and the lessened need for oversight of hiring managers, under PSC’s the New Direction in Staffing, a new Appointment Framework was implemented in April 2016. Under this framework, the PSC is implementing a renewed oversight model, where it undertakes a system-wide review of the staffing system every 2 years. Deputy heads are now responsible for monitoring and enforcing the integrity of staffing in their organization.

With this increased flexibility, the PSC has also changed its audit approach, moving from system-wide entity audits to periodic issue-specific reviews of potential concern for the integrity of the system as a whole. Deputy heads are now responsible for monitoring and enforcing the integrity of staffing in their department. The PSC now concerns itself exclusively with issues that may be having a system-wide impact (the PSC’s oversight mandate is discussed in the Leadership and accountability section of this report).

The Task Force heard concerns that the self-monitoring and self-correcting aspects of the current staffing regime limit opportunities to identify and proactively eliminate systemic barriers to achieving public service representativeness.

As demonstrated by the results of the Survey of Federal Indigenous Employees (2017) and during the Task Force’s consultations on diversity and inclusion, there is a lack of confidence in the fairness of staffing processes. There is also a perceived lack of trust that hiring managers are executing their people management responsibilities consistently in support of diversity and inclusion.

The issue of how partially or fully pre-qualified pools are used in the staffing system arose repeatedly in the Task Force’s consultations and in the Survey of Federal Indigenous Employees (2017). In both, participants indicated that members of equity-seeking groups qualify for positions after overcoming several barriers and then languish in pre-qualified pools at disproportionately high rates, with no recourse.

Additional barriers identified by employees include:

  • “right fit” assessments, which they assert are being used to disqualify candidates who meet all other requirements
  • the absence of opportunities to discuss and resolve the difficult issues of bias and discrimination
  • the fear of reprisal that prevents employees from raising issues of discrimination and harassment

The results of the Public Service Employee Survey consistently validate these concerns.

Recommendations

The current public service staffing regime needs to strengthen its efforts to proactively support diversity and promote inclusion. Elements of existing legislation, regulations and policy that pertain to the use of employment equity flexibilities (such as limiting or expanding the area of selection to employment-equity designated groups, establishing and applying employment equity, or using it as a criterion for non-advertised staffing) to achieve a diverse and inclusive workplace should be promoted to hiring managers. The Task Force therefore recommends:

Recommendation 26: Applying the diversity and inclusion lens to staffing and people management policies, programs, services, practices and workplace assessments.

Recommendation 27: That deputy heads institute rigorous human resources planning to:

  • ensure diversity and employment equity representativeness within their departments
  • monitor the representativeness of appointments, including all acting appointments
  • monitor the use of pre-qualified pools through the diversity and inclusion lens

Recommendation 28: That the Public Service Commission of Canada perform periodic system-wide thematic audits on the use of “right fit” criteria and existing employment equity flexibilities under the Public Service Employment Act, including:

  • limiting or expanding the area of selection to employment-equity designated groups
  • establishing and applying employment equity as an organizational need
  • using employment equity as a criterion for non-advertised processes

Accountability is “the obligation to demonstrate that responsibility is being taken both for the means used and the results achieved in light of agreed expectations.” Effective accountability frequently includes the disclosure of results in a timely manner

b) Leadership and accountability

Two public service organizations share the overall mandate to oversee people management within Canada’s public service:

  1. the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS-OCHRO), which is responsible as the employer for the core public administration
  2. the PSC, which is mandated to provide oversight to ensure the integrity of the public service staffing system

In addition, the Canadian Human Rights Commission has an important oversight role as it pertains to the EEA, including auditing organizations to:

  • assess the state of employment equity in the federal public service
  • examine the results of reviews of employment systems

The Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board administers the collective bargaining and grievance adjudication systems in the federal public service and for parliamentary employees. It is also responsible for resolving staffing complaints related to internal appointments and layoffs in the federal public service.

Understanding the roles, responsibilities and sphere of influence of each organization is useful in understanding how accountability for people management may be used to achieve a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

The Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer

TBS-OCHRO is responsible for administering employment equity and harassment policies as they apply to the core public administration of the Government of Canada. In this capacity, TBS-OCHRO may:

  • establish policies and programs with respect to implementing employment equity in the public service, subject to the EEA
  • establish policies or issue directives on preventing harassment in the workplace and resolving disputes related to harassment

TBS-OCHRO relies on a few key instruments to support its oversight responsibilities. One is the Management Accountability Framework (MAF), which:

  • establishes expectations for management practices and performance in the public sector
  • supports management accountability of deputy heads
  • seeks to improve management practices

TBS-OCHRO also relies on surveys of employees, including the Public Service Employee Survey and the newly introduced PSEAS, to obtain a snapshot of employee perceptions of workplace well-being.

Government-wide MAF results are published annually and provide a portrait of the state of management practices and performance across the public service. Department-specific reports provide a picture of departmental performance in specific areas. Comparative tables of information in the MAF show the results by measure for all departments, allowing each department to compare its results against those of other departments. The release of departmental reports and comparative tables are at the discretion of the department’s deputy head.

Deputy heads have full responsibility for:

  • addressing MAF results that highlight areas of concern and potential risks that departments face
  • setting targets to improve performance

Departmental MAF results inform the annual assessment of deputy heads’ management performance and contribute to the Privy Council Office’s setting of objectives to improve such performance. It is important to note that this assessment is determined based on overall performance. Thus, it is possible that poor performance in any one area of management, including that of people management, may not have a tangible impact on the performance rating of a deputy head.

TBS-OCHRO also uses the Public Service Employee Survey to determine the overall health of the public service workplace. The survey includes questions about how employees perceive their workplace with respect to:

  • their job
  • their work unit
  • their immediate supervisor
  • their senior management
  • their department
  • mobility and retention
  • harassment
  • discrimination
  • labour management relations
  • collective agreements
  • duty to accommodate

Public Service Employee Survey results can be analyzed by:

  • membership in an employment-equity designated group
  • age
  • education
  • region
  • official language
  • other factors

The newly introduced PSEAS is intended to annually measure employees’ perceptions of core human resources management areas. A summary report of the 2017 PSEAS results is available.

Departments should use the results of the PSEAS and Public Service Employee Survey, similar to how they use the MAF, to strengthen their people management practices by identifying what is working well and where improvements are needed.

Other employment equity support

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat formerly had a dedicated Official Languages and Employment Equity Branch, but it was eliminated due to funding reductions over the past decade. Some resources have been provided for employment equity in 2016 to 2017 fiscal year, but the Secretariat’s ability to undertake in-depth analysis of trends and issues remains limited. Funding reductions have also impacted the effectiveness of the Interdepartmental Network on Employment Equity, which is now coordinated on a voluntary basis rather than benefiting from centralized support from TBS-OCHRO.

To support federal goals for employment equity and continued efforts toward employment equity, diversity and inclusion, TBS-OCHRO has created:

  • the Employment Equity Champions and Chairs Committees and Circle (consisting of the Persons with Disabilities Champions and Chairs Committee, the Visible Minorities Champions and Chairs Committee, and the Champions and Chairs Circle for Aboriginal Peoples)
  • the Joint Employment Equity Committee

Their membership consists of departmental champions and chairs of employee networks from across the public service, and are chaired by the respective deputy minister champion for employment equity, appointed by the Clerk of the Privy Council. These committees replaced the grassroots organizations that were elected and operated by federal public service employees.

The Public Service Commission of Canada

Under the Public Service Employment Act, the Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC) has exclusive authority to make appointments to and within the federal public (an authority that it delegates to deputy heads) and for developing related policies, regulations and guidelines. The PSC is also:

  • mandated to oversee the integrity and non-partisanship of the staffing system
  • responsible for addressing employment equity concerns related to staffing

The Public Service Employment Act provides deputy heads with ways to achieve employment equity objectives, including:

  • targeting an area of selection
  • identifying departmental needs as a merit criterion
  • making non-advertised appointments

The PSC’s New Direction in Staffing, established in April 2016:

  • streamlines and consolidates policies into a single Appointment Policy
  • reinforces the duty to accommodate and employment equity obligations throughout an appointment process
  • gives deputy heads more flexibility in their staffing strategies
  • provides greater opportunity for sub-delegated managers to apply their discretion in making an appointment

Under this approach, all sub-delegated managers are required to sign an attestation form that reinforces:

  • employment equity objectives
  • individuals’ rights regarding official languages
  • individuals’ rights to accommodation

The PSC reinforces these requirements by:

  • providing ongoing support and guidance to departments
  • providing expert advice to departments on accommodations and on the design of assessments that are bias-free and barrier-free

As part of its New Direction in Staffing, the PSC is implementing a renewed oversight model. To obtain a system-wide view of the staffing system, a system-wide staffing audit is being undertaken every 2 years that will explore certain areas of compliance related to employment equity. In addition to this compliance audit, the PSC may also conduct horizontal risk-based audits as necessary.

To complement the compliance audit, the PSC is conducting a survey of staffing and non-partisanship. The survey will provide a view on the perceptions of hiring managers, human resources practitioners and all employees (not just those who participated in staffing processes). The survey will capture employment equity information, allowing the PSC to identify any differences in perceptions among these groups.

In addition to system-wide oversight, the New Direction in Staffing requires deputy heads to:

  • self-monitor their staffing systems on an ongoing basis
  • conduct their own cyclical assessments at least every 5 years
  • share their results with the PSC

Beyond formal oversight, the PSC monitors the staffing system in a number of ways, including:

  • ongoing dialogue with departments to obtain a regular view of key challenges and to allow the PSC to provide targeted support
  • analyzing employment equity data, such as application and appointment rates of employment equity members, to inform adjustments made to policies and prompt further research or studies, such as:
    • the mobility of persons with disabilities
    • the establishment of new recruitment strategies or programs, such as the inventory of Indigenous candidates gained through post-secondary recruitment

This information is shared with departments through the PSC’s annual report and its open data portal.

Several responses are available to the PSC to address situations of non-compliance, ranging from providing additional staffing support to removing all staffing authorities delegated to the deputy head. Similarly, within a department, the deputy head has the authority to implement sanctions for non-compliance by sub-delegated managers, including the removal of sub-delegated authorities.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission

The Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) came into force in 1977 and aims to protect Canadians from discrimination on 12 prohibited grounds.Footnote 55 The CHRA applies to federal and federally regulated bodies and provided for establishing the Canadian Human Rights Commission. The Commission is responsible for ensuring compliance with the EEA, including the obligation of employers and service providers to provide reasonable accommodation for individuals on the basis of these prohibited grounds. To deliver on its mandate, the Canadian Human Rights Commission reviews and audits employment equity data and submissions from departments. The frequency of the reviews and audits has decreased significantly in recent years.

Observations

Specific consequences of poor people management that are identified through the MAF, surveys and other means are unclear. Also unclear are the levers used to encourage departments and deputy heads to take action when areas of concern are identified.

The following have raised concerns that progress in supporting diverse and inclusive workforces and workplaces is at risk:

  • increased staffing delegation to deputy heads
  • curtailed central agency support for employment equity as a result of reductions in resources
  • reduced central agency oversight of policy and practices and support for their implementation

Deputy heads are fully accountable for monitoring and overseeing the representativeness of employment equity groups, regionally and at all levels, in staffing processes and in employee training and development. However, it is uncertain whether adequate resources, funds, expertise and time are dedicated to such oversight.

Regarding the Employment Equity Champions and Chairs Committees and Circle for visible minorities, persons with disabilities and Indigenous peoples, it is unclear how these committees solicit employee participation and contributions.

With oversight now focused on system-wide patterns instead of scrutiny of how each department is performing in various areas, including employment equity, the Task Force believes employment equity oversight has been reduced. Currently, there is little information about departments’ progress on diversity and inclusion goals because central agencies gather minimal information on diversity, inclusion and employment equity due to delegation of authority to departments and deputy heads.

There continues to be a need for policies that include requirements on issues such as employment equity, harassment, duty to accommodate, telework and childcare that provide clear direction and clear outcome requirements, and that lay out the accountability and consequences of failing to meet requirements.

Oversight remains important so that employees are not discouraged from addressing and reporting issues such as:

  • conscious and unconscious bias and discrimination in staffing
  • training
  • opportunities for work assignments at an employee’s home department or at another department
  • other career development opportunities

Recourse options are limited to the following cases for staffing complaints:

  • only a candidate who is within the area of selection and who participated in the advertised process can file a staffing complaint, and only after a candidate has been selected for appointment
  • abuse of authority in the application of merit
  • abuse of authority in the choice of process (advertised or non-advertised)
  • failure to assess the complainant in the official language of their choice

The fact that only these options exist limits the ability of candidates to file complaints regarding other situations that may be perceived as unfair in the staffing process.

In its consultations and engagement, the Task Force heard concerns from public service employees about how the PSC’s New Direction in Staffing is adversely affecting their career progression and career opportunities. This direction has been in place for less than two years, and there have been no studies done to examine its impact. The Task Force stresses that there is a need to track the impact and results of the PSC’s New Direction in Staffing from an employment equity perspective and with a diversity and inclusion lens to determine whether the concerns that the Task Force heard are systemic.

When the review of the Public Service Employment Act, the Financial Administration Act, and other related legislation and policies comes up, it will be important to consider an employment equity perspective and apply a diversity and inclusion lens for this legislation, particularly regarding how delegation and the use of departmental discretion is affecting outcomes for employment equity and diversity and inclusion goals.

It would be valuable to review the staffing complaint process for systemic barriers, such as:

  • informal processes of mediation
  • limited criteria to file a complaint
  • fear of retaliation
  • available remedies
Recommendations

The Task Force recommends:

Recommendation 29: That the government implement legislation to support a diverse and inclusive public service within a reasonable time frame (2 to 4 years) that will include parameters to establish a Commissioner for Employment Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, modelled after the Commissioner of Official Languages.

Recommendation 30: That the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) continue to be the central agency responsible for strategic direction and policies related to diversity, inclusion and employment equity, and that it be provided the necessary resources and a strengthened mandate to:

  • conduct a deeper analysis of employment equity and intersectionality for OCHRO’s annual report on employment equity, with the National Joint Council being consulted on data elements for this analysis
  • establish and operate a Centre of Expertise for Diversity and Inclusion to promote a more diverse and inclusive public service

Recommendation 31: That a focused accountability mechanism be developed to measure the government’s work and progress on diversity and inclusion, including the work and progress of deputy heads, executives and managers. The mechanism can complement the Management Accountability Framework (MAF), but the MAF on its own is insufficient.

Recommendation 32: That the Public Service Commission of Canada strengthen its monitoring of diversity, inclusion and employment equity as they relate to staffing, ensuring that they receive due attention as part of a general staffing audit (for example, staffing processes would be required to report to the Commission on why employment equity criteria were not used where a gap existed).

Recommendation 33: That the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s accountability mechanism be strengthened so that it can measure work and progress on employment equity and diversity and inclusion, including:

  • specifying what information the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and departments must provide for the Commission’s audits of progress on employment equity
  • a mechanism for bargaining agents to initiate an audit when non-compliance with employment equity requirements occurs

Recommendation 34: That adjudicators of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board:

  • be diverse and representative of Canada’s population
  • be knowledgeable and trained in labour relations, employment equity, diversity and inclusion, and the evolving human rights context

Recommendation 35: That in anticipation of the review of the Employment Equity Act (EEA) as required by legislation, appropriate foundations be put in place, including:

  • clarifying roles and responsibilities by strengthening the enforcement and accountability provisions in the EEA so that it is clear what the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, the Public Service Commission of Canada and the Canadian Human Rights Commission are required to oversee, monitor and report regarding their respective obligations under the EEA, including:
    • employment systems review
    • employment equity plans
    • collaboration and consultation with bargaining agents on developing, implementing and revising employment equity plans
  • updating data collection to reflect the evolving human rights framework, including for LGBTQ2+ groups when census data is available
  • reviewing the lexicon for identifying groups to modernize terminology for visible minorities and Indigenous peoples

Recommendation 36: That each department establish a joint union-management consultation committee on employment equity, diversity and inclusion that is co-led by unions and management, with agendas and minutes published on departmental intranet sites.

c) Education and awareness

Education and awareness are integral to any strategy for culture change. A more diverse workforce and a more inclusive workplace can be achieved only through meaningful and consistent employee engagement. The Task Force proposes the following recommendations to ensure that education and awareness foster a change in culture and practices that will promote diversity and inclusion in Canada’s public service.

Observation

There is currently no government-wide approach to managing diversity and inclusion principles and practices in training offered by:

  • the Canada School of Public Service
  • the Joint Learning Program
  • individual departments

The public service’s governance for learning is decentralized, which:

  • inhibits collaboration
  • minimizes sharing of best practices
  • creates duplication, gaps and inconsistencies in training

The Joint Learning Program model (delivered jointly by employer and bargaining agent representatives) shows promise, but the Task Force finds that there is a need to expand the program’s training offerings.

The Task Force recommends:

Recommendation 37: Allocating resources and creating a permanent governance structure to develop and evolve a common approach and curriculum for diversity and inclusion training. Such a structure would include:

  • enterprise-wide objectives and outcomes
  • core training on diversity and inclusion
  • identification of opportunities where principles and practices for diversity and inclusion can be embedded into various training and employee development opportunities, including orientation and leadership development

Recommendation 38: Making training in diversity and inclusion mandatory during the onboarding process for new employees, with a focus on:

  • the evolving Canadian human rights framework and related legislation and policies
  • the importance of respect and civility in achieving a healthy workplace
  • the potential for diversity and inclusion to help drive innovation and produce better results for the people of Canada

Recommendation 39: Coordinating efforts by the employer and by bargaining agents, and resourcing existing institutions such as the Canada School of Public Service, Global Affairs Canada’s Centre for Intercultural Learning and the Joint Learning Program, to ensure that all public service employees have access to initiatives and learning opportunities in diversity, inclusion and cultural change (these could include training from the Positive Space Initiative that would be separate from mandatory training).

Observation

Culture change must involve all employees across each organization, and leaders have a key role to play in driving and sustaining such change. Leaders must understand and embrace the importance of diversity and inclusion to a healthier, innovative and more respectful workplace. The Task Force recommends:

Recommendation 40: Making diversity and inclusion a key part of the curricula for leadership development, with a focus on areas such as:

  • respect and civility in the workplace
  • intersectionalityFootnote 56 and discrimination
  • mitigation of unconscious bias
  • the diversity and inclusion lens
  • employment equity
  • the benefits of greater diversity and inclusion in fostering a healthy and productive workplace

Observation

There are few tools and little training designed to help employees understand unconscious bias and how to mitigate its negative impact in the workplace and on decisions that affect Canada’s people. Employees in key roles such as in policy and program development may not have access to these tools and training, and neither are they encouraged to consider the impact of their decisions on diversity and inclusion in the workplace and across Canadian society. The Task Force recommends:

Recommendation 41: Developing specialized training on unconscious bias for employees working in areas such as:

  • program design and delivery
  • policy making
  • human resources
  • evaluation of job candidates

Observation

Some organizations are more supportive and focused on achieving employment equity goals than others. In addition to this lack of consistent focus, other equity-seeking groups (those beyond the 4 designated groups in the EEA) are not sufficiently supported through current mechanisms and policies. For example:

  • there is a lack of centralized support and funding for the Positive Space Initiative
  • there is currently no government-wide position on the importance of LGBTQ2+ inclusion

Access to training provided by the Positive Space Initiative, which is not supported or formally part of the Employment Equity Champions and Chairs Committees and Circle, is inconsistent with other government initiatives and depends on senior-level support.

The Task Force recommends:

Recommendation 42: Providing support and funding to existing and emerging departmental and interdepartmental employee networks recognized by the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer or department heads to:

  • help them contribute to diversity and inclusion by raising awareness
  • offer informal learning opportunities
  • provide advice to interested parties

Observation

Although Canada’s people speak a multitude of languages and represent cultures from all over the world, there is little recognition of the value of these competencies in serving Canada’s people and in advancing Canada’s interests abroad. In addition, there is limited training on awareness of other cultures and languages in the federal public service.

The Task Force recommends:

Recommendation 43: Updating public service employees’ competency profiles to include the following as essential qualifications and asset criteria:

  • intercultural effectiveness behaviours
  • cultural awareness
  • skills related to diversity and inclusion

d) The diversity and inclusion lens

Observations

The Task Force’s Progress Update called for the public service to “develop a strategy that addresses gaps in all areas simultaneously,” in order to “ensure the evolution of public service culture with changes to Canada’s demographics and human rights context.” This integrated approach “will reflect consideration for diversity and inclusion in all decisions about policies, programs and managing people” and should do so by default, as a forethought and not as an afterthought.

From this commitment, and in response to many suggestions gained from the online survey and discussion forums, emerged the need for a powerful and important tool: the diversity and inclusion lens (D&I lens).

Similar to environmental impact assessments and gender impact assessments, all current and new policies, programs and practices should be analyzed from the perspective of promoting diversity and inclusion.

Using the proposed D&I lens will help analyze situations from the perspective of all groups and help ensure that they benefit fairly and equitably as decisions are made. The D&I lens does not replace current government tools such as gender-based analysis “plus” (GBA+) and other reviewing protocols but rather:

  • complements them
  • promotes thoroughness
  • is designed to be used in conjunction with other existing tools

Integrating the D&I lens will support progress in people management, leadership and accountability, and education and awareness. The D&I lens is a “thinking cap” of sorts that encourages consideration of the impact of decisions on policies, programs and people management on diverse groups, with the objectives of:

  • creating a positive and equitable workplace for everyone
  • making better decisions for the people of Canada

The Task Force recommends:

Recommendation 44: That the proposed D&I lens be developed further as the tool that the public service will adopt to:

  • support cultural transformation in the public service
  • inform program design
  • support policy development
  • design and evaluate practices for people management
  • review current policies, programs and practices

See Appendix I for the Task Force’s proposed D&I lens tool.

9. Conclusion

This report represents the vision and conviction of the members of the Joint Union/Management Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion, developed through a full year of strategic planning, consultations, discussions, research and critical thinking.

It is our hope and expectation that the Task Force recommendations, once implemented, will create and facilitate a fundamental culture shift in Canada’s public service toward a more diverse, inclusive and innovative workforce and workplace. We recognize that such a change will not happen automatically. Creating true change requires effort, trust and some discomfort as people adjust to new ways of working.

We wish to reiterate that diversity and inclusion in successful organizations are not optional; they are imperative to the success of the public service in its ability to foster a healthy and productive workforce that can provide the best and most effective programs, policies and services to the people of Canada. It is every public service employee’s responsibility to help effect this transformation.

Finally, the time is right for this shift to occur. With today’s global political context, including its divisiveness and the recent inward turn toward homogeneity and nationalism, Canada and its public service must lead by example, embrace its people, and make strides toward a better, brighter and more equitable future.

Diversity and inclusion are a national and federal government priority, and they are key to Canada’s continued success in the coming decades. We have the means, the direction, the conviction and the support of the Prime Minister, the Clerk of the Privy Council and Canada’s population. We must take action to build a more diverse and inclusive federal public service.

Appendix A: summary of recommendations

People management (recommendations 1 to 28)

Representation and diversity (recommendations 1 and 2)

The Task Force recommends:

  1. That Statistics Canada, in partnership with the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer and Employment and Social Development Canada, address gaps in workforce availability (WFA) estimates by:
    • developing a methodology to update employment equity WFA estimates between censuses
    • preparing demographic and WFA projections to reflect Canada’s diversity
    • collecting Census data on LGBTQ2+ people to determine whether this community is under-represented in the workforce
    • including in WFA estimates citizens and non-citizens who are living in Canada
  2. That public service departments use demographic projections to establish diversity goals.

Outreach, recruitment and onboarding (recommendations 3 to 10)

The Task Force recommends:

  1. That a centralized, systematic approach be developed for accessibility and accommodations, including:
    • centralized funding for accommodations
    • all-gender and accessible washrooms that reflect the needs of a diverse workforce and that are mandated as part of the government’s accommodation and retrofit program
  2. That partnerships be developed and that diverse communities and other groups be involved in broadening outreach and recruitment efforts by the Public Service Commission of Canada and other federal departments to include post-secondary institutions other than universities, such as:
    • colleges
    • polytechnic institutes
    • Indigenous post-secondary institutions
    • trade schools
  3. That the Public Service Commission of Canada and departments develop targeted recruitment approaches modelled after current promising initiatives, such as the Indigenous Youth Summer Employment Opportunity and the Youth with Disabilities Summer Employment Opportunity, to deliberately attract individuals who have the diverse identities, abilities, education, skills, competencies and experiences to meet emerging public service needs.
  4. That the government consider adopting name-blind recruitment practices for all external recruitment and internal staffing processes if results from the Public Service Commission of Canada’s pilot project show promise in safeguarding against unconscious bias and in promoting diversity and inclusion.
  5. That the Public Service Commission of Canada and the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat undertake further work to identify and resolve systemic barriers to recruitment into the public service, including at mid-career, and strengthen employment equity and diversity and inclusion. Noted barriers include:
    • the effort and costs involved in providing, often repeatedly, proof of foreign credentials, which is inequitably taxing for some equity-seeking groups
    • meeting second official language requirements at the time of hire
    • the fact that experience is considered relevant only if obtained in Canada in the past 5 years
    • a lack of affordable and accessible child care
    • no policy support for those suffering from domestic violence
  6. That the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer communicate to hiring managers that degrees from colleges recognized as degree-granting institutions are to be treated in the same way as university degrees.
  7. That diversity and inclusion, employment equity, and unconscious bias training be:
    • mandatory for all new employees during onboarding
    • integrated in meaningful ways in all required training
    • integrated into staffing delegation and sub-delegation requirements
  8. That onboarding practices be strengthened through an enterprise-wide, standardized approach that provides new employees with the support and training they need to integrate and be productive members of the team as quickly as possible. Best practices in onboarding programs include:
    • mandatory diversity and inclusion, employment equity, and unconscious bias training
    • identifying a departmental “buddy” who is at the same level as the new employee and who has a clear mandate to orient the employee
    • introduction of the new employee to departmental and bargaining agent representatives to communicate that there are supports if employees have issues with employment equity or diversity, including harassment and discrimination
    • information regarding employee networks, including any employment equity and diversity networks
    • departmental mentors or sponsors at a more senior level who have a clear mandate and accountability to provide advice, support and guidance to employees who have specific career development needs

Retention, career progression and management (recommendations 11 to 23)

The Task Force recommends:

  1. Identifying and implementing actions to retain individuals who have diverse skills, competencies, experiences, identities and abilities.
  2. Taking deliberate action to establish an integrated approach to training, development and managing talent, which includes mentoring, coaching and sponsorship by senior leaders.
  3. Reviewing the current approach and the allocation of resources to language training, with consideration of the public service’s commitment to bilingualism, to:
    • ensure a fair, transparent and equitable approach to accessing language training and development, based on the needs of employees, including those in unilingual positions
    • ensure value and results from service providers
    • ensure that culturally sensitive language training options are provided
    • identify and implement best practices in second language attainment and maintenance
    • increase language training opportunities that address the double disadvantage faced by individuals whose first language is neither English nor French
  4. Recognizing, valuing and rewarding individuals for their knowledge and use of languages other than English and French when serving Canada’s people or representing Canada domestically or abroad.
  5. Introducing non-imperative staffing for equity-seeking groups to prepare them to achieve official bilingual proficiency in order to access leadership positions, commensurate with their talents and abilities.
  6. That selection boards and committees that assess job candidates are representative of at least 2 equity-seeking groups beyond gender.
  7. That everyone who assesses candidates (on selection boards or committees) receive specialized training in:
    • employment equity
    • diversity and inclusion
    • unconscious bias
    • intercultural effectiveness and awareness

    Multiple stakeholders (for example, the Public Service Commission of Canada, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and the Canada School of Public Service) to collaborate on creating this training.
  8. Revamping the current infrastructure for supporting and promoting diversity and inclusion in the public service, notably the Employment Equity Champions and Chairs Committees and Circle, in favour of establishing an infrastructure that is:
    • centralized
    • funded
    • strategic
    • focused on results and transformation
    • accountable through a Centre of Expertise on Diversity and Inclusion
  9. That the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer receive adequate financial and human resources to establish a viable, effective and collaborative Centre of Expertise on Diversity and Inclusion to support the federal public service with developing and implementing measures to improve diversity, inclusion and employment equity in the workplace. Its responsibilities would be to:
    • determine ways to reduce and eliminate the stigma in the workplace that is too frequently associated with mental health issues and other prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act
    • determine ways to better communicate discrimination issues in the workplace, and ensure that tools such as existing policies, legislation and directives are available to support employees who face such challenges
    • review practices in other jurisdictions and of other employers that might be instructive for the public service
    • outline any possible challenges and barriers that may impact the successful implementation of best practices for diversity and inclusion
    • provide clear direction about oversight and authority in the Treasury Board policies and directives
    • work with the Public Service Commission of Canada to identify and remove systemic barriers in staffing for equity-seeking groups
    • work with other groups (for example, the Canadian Human Rights Commission) to ensure that the approach to achieving employment equity and diversity and inclusion is consistent, and that employment equity and diversity and inclusion remain a priority in the public service
  10. That a senior management guidance committee comprised of bargaining agents and employer representatives provide support to the Centre of Expertise on Diversity and Inclusion and be consulted in developing the Centre’s mandate.
  11. Establishing an accountability framework for departmental champions and chairs, including:
    • mandatory training in diversity and inclusion, employment equity and unconscious bias
    • accountability to deputy heads for effectiveness and results incorporated into their formal role and their performance management agreements
    • access to financial resources
  12. That being named a departmental champion be seen as a commitment to the department’s vision for diversity and inclusion.
  13. That departmental champions:
    • be selected with input from employees and bargaining agents
    • embrace the vision of a diverse and inclusive public service
    • engage unions and employees at all levels
    • raise awareness of diversity and inclusion
    • report their activities publicly to ensure commitment and consistency
    • ensure that departmental committees for diversity and inclusion include bargaining agent representatives selected by bargaining agents

Racism, discrimination and harassment (recommendations 24 and 25)

The Task Force recommends:

  1. Undertaking deliberate, centralized and measurable action to address racism, discrimination, harassment and bias in the public service, including:
    • establishing, measuring and reporting on ongoing deputy head accountabilities for:
      • ensuring a safe space to report issues of discrimination, racism and harassment
      • reporting on how workplace complaints are addressed
    • naming a qualified senior-level officer who reports to each deputy head and is impartial and independent of labour relations units and human resources units, and whose responsibility it is to:
      • track incidences
      • be accessible to confidentially help employees and bargaining agents who have concerns related to racism, discrimination or harassment to access the appropriate avenue of resolution
      • facilitate access to the deputy head when needed
    • ensuring timely resolution of allegations and issues of racism, discrimination and harassment
    • reporting annually on incidences and resolutions
  2. Establishing ongoing commitments in performance management agreements that hold deputy heads, executives and managers accountable for achieving employment equity and diversity and inclusion goals, and for tracking progress on these objectives.

Staffing (recommendations 26 to 28)

The Task Force recommends:

  1. Applying the diversity and inclusion lens to staffing and people management policies, programs, services, practices and workplace assessments.
  2. That deputy heads institute rigorous human resources planning to:
    • ensure diversity and employment equity representativeness within their departments
    • monitor the representativeness of appointments, including all acting appointments
    • monitor the use of pre-qualified pools through the diversity and inclusion lens
  3. That the Public Service Commission of Canada perform periodic system-wide thematic audits on the use of “right fit” criteria and existing employment equity flexibilities under the Public Service Employment Act, including:
    • limiting or expanding the area of selection to employment-equity designated groups
    • establishing and applying employment equity as an organizational need
    • using employment equity as a criterion for non-advertised processes

Leadership and accountability (recommendations 29 to 36)

The Task Force recommends:

  1. That the government implement legislation to support a diverse and inclusive public service within a reasonable time frame (2 to 4 years) that will include parameters to establish a Commissioner for Employment Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, modelled after the Commissioner of Official Languages.
  2. That the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) continue to be the central agency responsible for strategic direction and policies related to diversity, inclusion and employment equity, and that it be provided the necessary resources and a strengthened mandate to:
    • conduct a deeper analysis of employment equity and intersectionality for OCHRO’s annual report on employment equity, with the National Joint Council being consulted on data elements for this analysis
    • establish and operate a Centre of Expertise for Diversity and Inclusion to promote a more diverse and inclusive public service
  3. That a focused accountability mechanism be developed to measure the government’s work and progress on diversity and inclusion, including the work and progress of deputy heads, executives and managers. The mechanism can complement the Management Accountability Framework (MAF), but the MAF on its own is insufficient.
  4. That the Public Service Commission of Canada strengthen its monitoring of diversity, inclusion and employment equity as they relate to staffing, ensuring that they receive due attention as part of a general staffing audit (for example, staffing processes would be required to report to the Commission on why employment equity criteria were not used where a gap existed).
  5. That the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s accountability mechanism be strengthened so that it can measure work and progress on employment equity and diversity and inclusion, including:
    • specifying what information the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and departments must provide for the Commission’s audits of progress on employment equity
    • a mechanism for bargaining agents to initiate an audit when non-compliance with employment equity requirements occurs
  6. That adjudicators of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board:
    • be diverse and representative of Canada’s population
    • be knowledgeable and trained in labour relations, employment equity, diversity and inclusion, and the evolving human rights context
  7. That in anticipation of the review of the Employment Equity Act (EEA) as required by legislation, appropriate foundations be put in place, including:
    • clarifying roles and responsibilities by strengthening the enforcement and accountability provisions in the EEA so that it is clear what the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, the Public Service Commission of Canada and the Canadian Human Rights Commission are required to oversee, monitor and report regarding their respective obligations under the EEA, including:
      • employment systems review
      • employment equity plans
      • collaboration and consultation with bargaining agents on developing, implementing and revising employment equity plans
    • updating data collection to reflect the evolving human rights framework, including for LGBTQ2+ groups when census data is available
    • reviewing the lexicon for identifying groups to modernize terminology for visible minorities and Indigenous peoples
  8. That each department establish a joint union-management consultation committee on employment equity, diversity and inclusion that is co-led by unions and management, with agendas and minutes published on departmental intranet sites.

Education and awareness (recommendations 37 to 43)

The Task Force recommends:

  1. Allocating resources and creating a permanent governance structure to develop and evolve a common approach and curriculum for diversity and inclusion training. Such a structure would include:
    • enterprise-wide objectives and outcomes
    • core training on diversity and inclusion
    • identification of opportunities where principles and practices for diversity and inclusion can be embedded into various training and employee development opportunities, including orientation and leadership development
  2. Making training in diversity and inclusion mandatory during the onboarding process for new employees, with a focus on:
    • the evolving Canadian human rights framework and related legislation and policies
    • the importance of respect and civility in achieving a healthy workplace
    • the potential for diversity and inclusion to help drive innovation and produce better results for the people of Canada
  3. Coordinating efforts by the employer and by bargaining agents, and resourcing existing institutions such as the Canada School of Public Service, Global Affairs Canada’s Centre for Intercultural Learning and the Joint Learning Program, to ensure that all public service employees have access to initiatives and learning opportunities in diversity, inclusion and cultural change (these could include training from the Positive Space Initiative that would be separate from mandatory training).
  4. Making diversity and inclusion a key part of the curricula for leadership development, with a focus on areas such as:
    • respect and civility in the workplace
    • intersectionality and discrimination
    • mitigation of unconscious bias
    • the diversity and inclusion lens
    • employment equity
    • the benefits of greater diversity and inclusion in fostering a healthy and productive workplace
  5. Developing specialized training on unconscious bias for employees working in areas such as:
    • program design and delivery
    • policy making
    • human resources
    • evaluation of job candidates
  6. Providing support and funding to existing and emerging departmental and interdepartmental employee networks recognized by the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer or department heads to:
    • help them contribute to diversity and inclusion by raising awareness
    • offer informal learning opportunities
    • provide advice to interested parties
  7. Updating public service employees’ competency profiles to include the following as essential qualifications and asset criteria:
    • intercultural effectiveness behaviours
    • cultural awareness
    • skills related to diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion lens (recommendation 44)

The Task Force recommends:

  1. That the proposed D&I lens be developed further as the tool that the public service will adopt to:
    • support cultural transformation in the public service
    • inform program design
    • support policy development
    • design and evaluate practices for people management
    • review current policies, programs and practices

Appendix B: Terms of Reference

Mandate

The Joint Union/Management Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion is responsible for delivering on the following outcomes:

  • defining diversity and inclusion in the public service
  • establishing the case for diversity and inclusion in the public service
  • recommending a framework and action plan for diversity and inclusion in the public service

The initiative is established for a 1-year period (September 2016 to September 2017), with a 2-phase reporting schedule:

  • Phase 1: Short-term expected outcome (first 6 months)
    Identifying issues, challenges and opportunities, as well as recommending actions to establish and support immediate requirements.
  • Phase 2: Medium-term approach (6 months to 1 year)
    Building a longer-term strategy of 3 to 5 years to support overall diversity and inclusion culture change in the public service (Diversity and Inclusion Strategy)Footnote 57

Membership

The Diversity and Inclusion Task Force will comprise a Steering Committee that will guide the work of the Technical Committee with equal representation from the bargaining agent and the employer.

The Steering Committee and the Technical Committee have been established at the end of August 2016.

The Steering Committee will comprise 1 employer representative and 1 bargaining agent representative, who will serve as co-chairs, namely:

  • Employer representative
    Margaret Van Amelsvoort-Thoms, Executive Director
    People Management and Community Engagement
    Governance, Planning and Policy Sector (GPP)         
    Office of the Chief Human Resource Officer (OCHRO)
    Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
  • Bargaining agent representative
    Sharon DeSousa
    Ontario Regional Executive Vice-President
    Public Service Alliance of Canada

The Steering Committee will:

  • be responsible for determining the members and the mandate of the Technical Committee
  • chair the inaugural meeting of the Technical Committee to provide strategic direction, as well as the mandate, goals and timelines of the Task Force
  • provide ongoing direction to the Technical Committee
  • receive and approve reports

The Technical Committee will comprise 7 members representing the employer and 7 members representing the bargaining agents. The co-chairs are:

  • Employer representative     
    Louise Mignault
    Senior Director, Employment Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, GPP, OCHRO
    Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
  • Bargaining agent representative    
    Waheed Khan
    Employment Equity and Inclusiveness Champion
    Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

The Technical Committee will:

  • define the vision of diversity and inclusion for the public service within the existing legislative framework
  • review practices (including other sectors and jurisdictions) that will be instructive to the public service
  • explore and leverage work on diversity accomplished by departments and organizations inside and outside the public service
  • outline any possible challenges and barriers that may impact the successful implementation of a diversity and inclusion framework
  • provide input establishing the case for diversity and inclusion in the public service
  • recommend to the Steering Committee a framework, as well as a strategy for the public service
Members of the Task Force
Name Title Organization
Steering Committee
Sharon DeSousa
Steering Committee Co-chair
(July 2017 to November 2017)
Ontario Regional
Executive Vice-President
Public Service Alliance of Canada
Larry Rousseau
Steering Committee Co-chair
(September 2016 to June 2017)
Regional Executive
Vice-President for the
National Capital Region
Public Service Alliance of Canada
Margaret Van Amelsvoort-Thoms
Steering Committee Co-chair
Executive Director
People Management and Community Engagement
Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer
Technical Committee
Bargaining Agent
Waheed Khan
Technical Committee Co-chair
Employment Equity and
Inclusiveness Champion
Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
Melanie Bejzyk Legal Officer Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers
Karen Brook Labour Relations Officer Canadian Association of Professional Employees
Andrée Côté Women's and Human Rights Officer Public Service
Alliance of Canada
Michael Desautels Human Rights and Aboriginal
Rights Program Officer
Public Service
Alliance of Canada
Seema Lamba Human Rights Programs Officer Public Service
Alliance of Canada
Lionel Siniyunguruza Research Officer Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
Employer
Louise Mignault
Technical Committee Co-chair
Senior Director, Employment Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer
Nadine Huggins
Acting Technical Committee Co-chair (May to August 2017)
Director and Executive Secretary
to the Interdepartmental Circles on Indigenous Representation
Justice Canada
Sonja Crosby Manager and Champion
of the Diversity Network
Public Service and Procurement Canada
Cheryl Grant Director General, Policy
Coordination and Planning
Health Canada
Andrea Markowski District Director and
Positive Space Champion
Correctional Service Canada and Positive Space Network
Manjeet Sethi Director General, Mental Health Branch Correctional Service Canada
Executive Community
Debbie Winker Visiting Executive Association of Professional Executives of the Public
Service of Canada

Short-term outcomes

  • establishing the case for diversity and inclusion
  • producing a mid-year report, including recommendations for immediate action
  • defining a vision statement for diversity and inclusion in the public service
  • summarizing best practices in diversity and inclusion initiatives across various levels of government and the private sector
  • identifying key themes from other diversity and inclusion initiatives to inform the federal public service action plan

Long-term outcomes

A Diversity and Inclusion Strategy that will include:

  • a 3- to 5-year plan
  • accountability and responsibility framework for departments and leadership
  • performance measurement, monitoring, reporting and an evaluation strategy
  • best practices and tools to support initiatives across the public service

Meeting frequency

The Steering Committee will meet on a quarterly basis, and the Technical Committee will meet on a biweekly basis. The co-chairs may be called upon on an ad hoc basis for meetings (as required). A draft meeting schedule will be tabled in September 2016.

Quorum

In order to have a quorum, the meetings will require attendance by the co-chairs of the Technical Committee as well as 4 members, comprising at least 2 bargaining agent representatives and 2 employer representatives.

Secretariat support

OCHRO and GPP Sector staff will provide secretariat support to the Steering Committee and the Technical Committee, including agenda management, advice to the chair, document distribution, meeting logistics, tracking and monitoring, and information management.

Communication and relationship to other committees

The Steering Committee and the secretariat team will ensure ongoing communication with leadership, various committees and other stakeholders. Communication with the Public Service Commission of Canada and the Canada School of Public Service will support the work and the course of action for the initiative.

The Technical Committee and the Steering Committee will ensure communication as required with the following stakeholders:

  • Privy Council Office
  • Public Service Management Advisory Committee
  • National Joint Council
  • Human Resources Council
  • Interdepartmental Network on Employment Equity
  • National Managers’ Community
  • additional groups and stakeholders (as required)

Governance principles

Committee chairs will ensure:

  • commitment to good governance: co-chairs will provide clear strategic direction, summarize the discussions and review standing items
  • commitment to official languages: chairs provide bilingual debriefs and item summaries/direction to committee members / item sponsors. Members will contribute to discussions in their language of choice
  • commitment to communication: in order to ensure efficient functioning and consistency in communication/messaging on the progress of the Technical Committee, the members (both union and employer) may debrief their management teams and employees on general presentations made to the committees; however, decisions or direction made by the Technical Committee should remain confidential
  • shared ownership: members will be collaborative and will contribute to the discussion from a horizontal perspective
  • perspective: members will contribute to the discussion from both a corporate- and sector-wide perspective. Selected members will be prepared to invest time and effort when needed, in order to support the work of the Technical Committee. Participation will likely consist of more than attending meetings
  • preparedness: members will have read the required material and will have consulted their teams in advance of meetings
  • risk lens: members will apply a risk lens when commenting on presentations
  • challenge: members will be encouraged to offer a constructive challenge function and will be encouraged to bring proposals forward at early stages
  • discipline: members will respect timing and planning requirements

Appendix C: consultation and engagement

The Task Force engaged public service employees in order to:

  • gather their ideas, experiences and opinions on the contributing factors and barriers to diversity and inclusion
  • hear their ideas about potential actions to help build a more inclusive workplace and more diverse workforce

The Task Force’s approach to consultation and engagement was twofold. The Task Force:

  • used “World Café” format discussion forumsFootnote 58 to facilitate open conversations with interest groups and regional employees
  • sent to employees of 30 departments an online questionnaire that had drop-down menus and space for comments

Online survey

Approach and methodology

Public service employees were invited to contribute to the dialogue through an online survey that had 5 questions about:

  • contributing factors and barriers to diversity and inclusion
  • perspectives on how diverse and inclusive their workplace is

Participants also provided:

  • their ideas for actions to foster diversity and inclusion
  • their choice of 4 words that best describe these concepts

For Question 1, respondents could select up to 3 options from a predetermined list of potential contributing factors to an inclusive workplace. Respondents could also select “not applicable” and/or provide additional factors under an “other” category. Table C.1 shows the complete list of options provided. The frequency with which each factor was selected was tallied and weighted against the total number of responses to arrive at a ranking based on percentages.

Table C.1. Responses to Question 1 of the Task Force’s online survey of public service employees: “Please identify what you think are the contributing factors to an inclusive workplace (up to three)”
Contributing factor Responses
Percentage No.
Respect and civility 65% 7,810
Fairness in all aspects of employment 64% 7,678
Cultural awareness and sensitivity 41% 4,880
Representativeness 33% 3,918
Effective workplace policies 30% 3,594
Fair/effective management practices or leadership 28% 3,399
Effective employment equity policies and programs 17% 2,046
Effective conflict resolution 8% 1,010
Other 3% 330
n/a n/a 41
Total responses from federal public service employees  11,956

For Question 2, respondents could select up to 5 options from a predetermined list of potential barriers to a diverse workforce and inclusive workplace. Respondents could also select “not applicable” and/or add their own answers under an “other” category. The same methodology was applied to analyze responses to Question 2 as for Question 1. Table C.2 shows the complete list of the barriers provided.

Table C.2. Responses to Question 2 of the Task Force’s online survey of public service employees: “Please identify what you think are the barriers to achieving diversity in the workforce and inclusion in the workplace (up to five)”
Barriers Responses
Percentage No.
Bias 73% 8,709
Discrimination 60% 7,179
Harassment 38% 4,547
Staffing and recruitment policies or practices 31% 3,647
Management or leadership practices 29% 3,446
Leadership accountability 28% 3,327
Organizational accountability 25% 2,981
Lack of education/awareness at the hiring manager’s level 24% 2,904
Limited access to training or developmental opportunities, including access to second official language 20% 2,394
Level of workforce accommodation and accessibility 16% 1,894
Lack of effective conflict resolution 12% 1,450
Employment equity policies and programs 10% 1,188
Other 5% 600
n/a 2% 284
Total responses from federal public service employees 11,956

For Questions 3a and 3b, respondents rated their workforce and workplace on a scale of 1 to 5 concerning the level of diversity and inclusion in their organization. The frequency of each response was aggregated and distributed by percentages of the total number of respondents (see Figures C.1 and C.2).

Figure C.1: Responses to Question 3a of the Task Force’s online survey of public service employees: “Please rate your workforce on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 represents ‘not at all diverse’ and 5 represents ‘very diverse’”
Rating Chart Percentage No.
1 Not at all diverse 4% 4% 502
2 16% 16% 1,967
3 30% 30% 3,597
4 27% 27% 3,212
5 Very diverse 20% 20% 2,375
n/a 1% 1% 85
Do not know  2% 2% 218
Total responses 11,956
Figure C.2: Responses to Question 3b of the Task Force’s online survey of public service employees: “Please rate your workforce on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 represents ‘not at all inclusive’ and 5 represents ‘very inclusive’”
Rating Chart Percentage No.
1 Not at all inclusive 4% 4% 523
2 14% 14% 1,652
3 29% 29% 3,478
4 30% 30% 3,547
5 Very inclusive 20% 20% 2,406
n/a 0% 0% 55
Do not know  2% 2% 295
Total responses 11,956

Question 4 was a free-text question in which respondents could provide 1 or 2 ideas or actions that would help foster diversity and inclusion in their own workplaces. This question generated 11,385 responses,Footnote 59 which were coded within the Task Force’s 4 strategies and an “other” category. A frequency distribution was compiled, and prominent ideas were tabulated (see Table C.3).

Table C.3. Responses to Question 4 of the Task Force’s online survey of public service employees: “Please suggest one or two ideas or actions that can help foster diversity and inclusion in your workplace (in 25 words each or less)”
Area of suggestion No.
People management and accountability for people management 5,555
Education and awareness 4,688
Leadership accountability 653
Integrated approach to diversity (D&I lens) 28
Other 461
Total responses from federal public service employees 11,385

For Question 5, respondents could provide 4 words that described a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace. These responses were used to develop two word clouds, with the words that appear in larger font being more frequently mentioned (see Figures C.3 and C.4).

Figure C.3: Most frequently chosen words to describe a diverse workforce (Question 5 of the Task Force’s online survey)
Most  frequently chosen words to describe a diverse workforce (Question 5 of the Task  Force's online survey). Text version below:
Figure C.3 - Text version
Most frequently chosen words to describe a diverse workforce (Question 5 of the Task Force's online survey)
Labels Count of diversity
Respect 1 276
Representative 886
Openness 693
Multicultural 669
Fairness 663
Variable 488
Equality 482
Difference 444
Acceptance 410
Culture 335
Inclusion 323
Equity 255
Diversity 189
Understanding 179
Gender 172
Awareness 147
Tolerance 141
Welcoming 131
Race 116
Opportunities 112
Transparency 108
Ethnicities 107
Education 102
Balance 101
Age 99
Strength 98
Experience 97
Skills 93
Visible 90
Colourful 89
Competence 89
Creative 86
Flexibility 84
Open-minded 81
Unbiased 80
Background 78
Mix 78
Accommodating 77
knowledge 76
Merit 75
Equality 74
Rich 72
Variety 72
Team 72
Perspective 71
Innovative 71
Interesting 70
Dynamic 69
Collaboration 64
Effective 62
Ability 62
Communication 60
Heterogeneous 58
Minorities 57
Language 56
Accountability 56
Valued 55
Everyone 54
Generations 52
Adaptable 52
Bias-free 47
Engagement 47
Supportive 46
People 46
Multi-ethnic 43
Women 41
Leadership 41
Reflective 41
Civility 40
Unique 40
Talent 39
Multilingual  39
Safe 39
Productive 38
Honesty 37
Accessibility 35
Original 34
Appreciation 34
Sensitivity 34
Mosaic 33
Vibrant 33
Listening 33
Canadian 32
Barriers 32
Qualified 32
Sharing 32
Recognition 31
Training 31
EE (Employment Equity) 30
Individuality 30
Professional 30
Unity 28
Cooperation 28
Ideas 28
Hiring 27
Well-rounded 27
Multifaceted 26
Harmony 26
Celebrate 26
Nationality  26
Empathy 25
Figure C.4: Most frequently chosen words to describe an inclusive workforce (Question 5 of the Task Force’s online survey)
Most frequently chosen words to  describe an inclusive workforce (Question 5 of the Task Force's online survey). Text version below:
Figure C.4 - Text version
Most frequently chosen words to describe an inclusive workforce (Question 5 of the Task Force's online survey)
Labels Count of inclusion
Respect 1,701
Openness 1,038
Acceptance 693
Fairness 641
Welcoming 495
Equality 437
Accommodation 309
Understanding 287
Communication 266
Inclusion 231
Equity 223
Impartiality 223
Tolerance 222
Support 220
Flexibility 212
Transparency 191
Awareness 164
Teamwork 147
Collaboration 141
Opportunity 140
Education 134
Accountability 131
Accessibility 124
Representation 121
Diversity 118
Non-judgmental 107
Engagement 101
Sensitivity 97
Safety 93
Sharing 92
Leadership 90
Civility 89
Friendliness 89
Valued  88
Difference 86
All 85
Empathy 84
Listening 80
Knowledge 77
Adaptability 76
Cooperation 75
Honesty 68
Comprehension 68
Everyone 61
Non-discriminatory 60
Integration 57
Professionalism 56
Training 55
Compassion 55
Ability 55
Recognition 53
Innovation 53
Culture 51
Positivity 50
Freedom 50
Gender 49
Appreciation 49
Caring 49
Consideration 47
Participation 46
Harmony 46
Productivity 45
Merit 45
Belonging 45
Competence 45
Kindness 44
Integrity 43
Encouragement 42
Togetherness 41
Trust 40
Multicultural 40
Barrier-free 40
Effective 39
Embracing 38
Interest 38
Harassment 38
Justice 36
Celebration 36
Curiosity 36
Employment equity 35
Language 34
Discrimination 34
Learning 33
Age 32
Happiness 32
Work 31
Experience 29
Comfort 29
Community 27
Team 26
Promotion 26
Empowerment  26
People 25
Patience 25
Health 25
Variety 24
Action 24
Information 23
Balance 23
Creativity 23
Willingness 21

Results

Table C.4. Contributing factors to an inclusive workforce (responses to the Task Force’s online survey)
Contributing factors No. of responses
Effective workplace policies 101
Fair/effective management practices or leadership 91
Fairness in all aspects of employment 73
Cultural awareness and sensitivity 72
Respect and civility 44
Representativeness 33
Effective employment equity policies and programs 28
Effective conflict resolution 9
Other 57
n/a 0

In terms of people management, many respondents expressed support for name-blind recruitment, indicating that “actual skill, capabilities, and merit” should be considered above all else. Other respondents mentioned the need for more opportunities in regions outside the National Capital Region (especially in the North). Backlash against diversity and inclusion initiatives was another prominent “other” theme. Some indicated that these initiatives had gone too far or argued that able-bodied/Anglophone white men should be considered an equity-seeking group because of their under-representation in some fields. Overall, there was a resounding sentiment that the success of diversity rests on the public service’s ability to value differences and promote “acceptance and understanding of the power of those differences to create a positive and respectful work environment.”

Table C.5. Barriers to an inclusive workforce (responses to the Task Force’s online survey)
Barriers No. of responses
Staffing and recruitment policies or practices 90
Level of workforce accommodation and accessibility 58
Limited access to training or developmental opportunities, including access to second official language 55
Bias 55
Management or leadership practices 43
Lack of education/awareness at the hiring manager’s level 42
Discrimination 40
Leadership accountability 39
Employment equity policies and programs 37
Organizational accountability 24
Harassment 9
Lack of effective conflict resolution 7
Other 70
n/a 1

Although many respondents identified barriers related to public service programs and practices, the most commonly identified barriers related to attitude and value-based factors. Respondents highlighted the perception that candidate pools lack diversity and that equity group candidates do not possess the required transferable skills. Nepotism and favouritism also emerged as important concerns. Employees also indicated that managers hesitate to hire members of employment equity groups because of costly accommodations or training and development time commitments. Official languages emerged as an important barrier for various groups, including persons with disabilities, immigrants (for whom English or French may be a third or fourth language) and Indigenous employees (who may speak other languages).

Some of the most common ideas were as follows:

People management

  • Implement merit-based recruitment initiatives (name-blind recruitment)
  • Centralize funding for accommodation to alleviate the financial burden on departments when hiring a person with a disability
  • Address gaps in workforce availability (WFA) estimates so that comparisons are timely (by using Statistics Canada projections of WFA between Census years)
  • Make government offices accessible by default, instead of by request, including software, ramps, and all-gender and private washrooms
  • Provide better and consistent access to second language training

Accountability and leadership

  • Identify indicators of success and increase senior management accountability (the Management Accountability Framework (MAF) should include specific indicators and year-by-year performance)
  • Ensure collaboration between the employer and bargaining agents in all aspects of the diversity and inclusion agenda (in providing training and in consulting on diversity and inclusion initiatives)

Education and awareness

  • Explain how focusing on diversity and inclusion does not disadvantage “non-diverse” people

An integrated approach and the D&I lens

  • Evaluate all existing (and potential) policies, programs, initiatives and practices in terms of their impact on all groups, particularly disadvantaged ones

Discussion forums and employee and stakeholder engagement

Approach and methodology

Face-to-face discussion forums engaged public service employees and promoted awareness of the objectives and expected results of the Task Force. These forums:

  • were facilitated by the Joint Learning Program of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and the Public Service Alliance of Canada
  • used a “World Café” format, which is conversational forum that allowed participants to talk about their ideas, experiences, and opinions about diversity and inclusion

Three questions guided the discussions:

  1. What elements currently exist in your workplace to make it diverse and inclusive?
  2. What are the barriers to diversity and inclusion in your workplace?
  3. What are the contributing factors to a diverse workforce and inclusive workplace?

For analysis, the Task Force’s secretariat coded the responses to the second and third questions against the predetermined lists of barriers and contributing factors from the Task Force’s online survey. Doing so allowed the Task Force to capture recurring themes and key areas of interest expressed in the discussion forums.

Over 500 public service employees participated in 20 face-to-face and video-conference discussion forums across the country. The following groups were consulted:

  • Regions
    • British Columbia (Vancouver)
    • Atlantic (Halifax and Moncton)
    • Quebec (Montréal)
    • Prairies (Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton and Calgary)
    • Ontario (Toronto)
    • the North (Yellowknife)
  • Interest groups
    • Public Service Alliance of Canada’s National Equity Conference (March 26 to 27, 2017)
    • Human Resources Council
    • Interdepartmental Network on Employment Equity
    • Community of Federal Visible Minorities
    • the LGBTQ2+ community
    • National Women’s Network
    • Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada (APEX)
    • Federal Youth Network
    • National Managers’ Community
    • bargaining agents
    • Persons with Disabilities Champions and Chairs Committee
    • Interdepartmental Collaboration Circle on Indigenous Representation in the Federal Public Service

Persons with disabilities provided their views via email, and the views of Indigenous employees were contributed through:

  • the Interim Report of the Interdepartmental Collaboration Circle on Indigenous Representation in the Federal Public Service
  • the results from the 2017 Survey of Federal Indigenous Employees

Results

Contributing factors

Participants indicated that effective workplace policies, including those that promote employment equity, contribute significantly to a diverse and inclusive public service. As in the online survey, respondents emphasized the need for fair people management practices.

Respondents also indicated that new public service employees (including students) need to be given meaningful work to enrich their work experience in the public service.

It is worth noting that the recommended strategies to effect change were different in the discussion forums than the online survey. The latter suggested consequences for infractions or lack of implementation, while the former recommended training in cultural awareness, sensitivity and unconscious bias to create culture change and to further promote diversity and inclusion.

Barriers

The most common barriers to diversity and inclusion were indicated as being unfair and non-inclusive staffing and recruitment practices (assignments and promotions), particularly for bargaining agents and people with disabilities. People with disabilities highlighted accommodation gaps and strongly pushed for greater access to programs that would help people with disabilities do their work. Many discussed the difficulty in recognizing foreign credentials as a barrier to entry into the public service. Stringent language requirements represent a barrier as well, especially for new Canadians. Numerous barriers to diversity and inclusion related to accountability also arose, including:

  • red tape and burdensome reporting
  • the need to update the Employment Equity Act (to have “teeth” and reflect current society)
  • insufficient resources
  • a lack of commitment and engagement from all levels of management

Appendix D: summary of the Interim Report of the Interdepartmental Collaboration Circle on Indigenous Representation in the Federal Public Service

“In the spirit of reconciliation and a nation-to-nation relationship, it is time for the Federal Public Service to take concrete action toward an end state where Indigenous peoples seeking and living a public service career enjoy a feeling of well-being resulting from full inclusion and respect. Respect stems in part from non-Indigenous people better understanding Indigenous histories and cultures. Inclusion is the outcome of concrete changes in behaviors and approaches by managers and peers that result in positive workplace experiences for Indigenous employees.”

This quote comes from the Interim Report of the Interdepartmental Collaboration Circle on Indigenous Representation in the Federal Public Service, which makes early recommendations in 5 areas for action and provides options for actions in each area. The recommendations are geared toward:

  • encouraging and promoting promising current initiatives
  • leveraging and establishing partnerships for action
  • engaging deliberately
  • identifying areas for a deeper diagnostic

Action area 1: establish a public service culture of inclusion, respect and accountability
Recommendation: Address racism, discrimination, harassment and bias in the public service.

Action area 2: modernize outreach and encourage innovation
Recommendation: Modernize and diversify Indigenous student outreach and recruitment approaches with colleges and universities, including targeting Indigenous students in high school (as early as Grade 10) to encourage them to plan for a federal public service career, and address regional mobility issues (such as moving from the National Capital Region to a regional office and institutional mobility), including moving into and out of government to other public, private or Indigenous organizations.

Action area 3: strengthen innovation, enhance institutional supports and administration
Recommendation: Improve departmental readiness to respect, welcome and include Indigenous employees over the course of their public service career.

Action area 4: communications and engagement
Recommendation: Develop and support comprehensive and integrated communications and engagement approaches to maximize promotion of current innovations and to collect input for the next phases of the Interdepartmental Circle’s work.

Action area 5: pursuing a deeper diagnostic
Recommendation: The Collaboration Circle recommends a deeper diagnostic to understand factors that contribute to retention and those that contribute to Indigenous employee exits:

  • clarify Inuit and Northern dimensions of Indigenous employment in the federal public service
  • explore Indigenous employee career progression, notably into the executive group, and the challenges and opportunities faced by Indigenous executives
  • round out data evidence and explore meaningful measurement of government initiatives

Appendix E: student recruitment

Figure E.1. Percentage of students hired through the Research Affiliate Program, 2013 to 2016Footnote 60
Percentage of Students Hired through RAP. Text version below:
Figure E.1 - Text version
Percentage of students hired through the Research Affiliate Program
2013 to 2014 2014 to 2015 2015 to 2016
Aboriginal peoples 1.00% 0.89% 1.53%
Persons with disabilities 1.00% 1.12% 0.51%
Member of visible minorities 12.60% 10.33% 4.87%
Total 387 445 390
Figure E.2. Percentage of students hired through the Federal Student Work Experience Program, 2013 to 2016
Percentage of students hired through the Federal Student  Work Experience Program. Text version below:
Figure E.2 - Text version
Percentage of students hired through the Federal Student Work Experience Program
2013 to 2014 2014 to 2015 2015 to 2016
Aboriginal peoples 2.90% 2.79% 2.88%
Persons with disabilities 2.16% 2.03% 2.02%
Member of visible minorities 18.73% 19.54% 19.17%
Total 6,198 6,544 7,041
Figure E.3. Percentage of students hired through the Co-op/Internship Program, 2013 to 2016
Percentage of students hired through the Co-op/Internship  Program. Text version below:
Figure E.3 - Text version
Percentage of students hired through the Co-op/Internship Program
2013 to 2014 2014 to 2015 2015 to 2016
Aboriginal peoples 0.39% 0.43% 0.33%
Persons with disabilities 0.31% 0.52% 0.47%
Member of visible minorities 6.18% 7.38% 6.02%
Total 3,801 4,157 4,417

Appendix F: representation by employment equity group

In the past 20 years, the core public administration of the Government of Canada has made significant progress regarding employment equity representation. All 4 groups are now represented at higher rates than their workforce availability (WFA) estimates.

Figure F.1. Representation and WFA estimates of women in 5-year intervals, 1996 to 2016 (%)
1996 2001 2006 2011 2016
Representation 48.2 52.1 53.8 54.8 54.4
WFA 48.7 52.2 52.3 52.5
Figure F.2. Representation and WFA estimates of Aboriginal people in 5-year intervals, 1996 to 2016 (%)
1996 2001 2006 2011 2016
Representation 2.3 3.6 4.2 4.7 5.2
WFA 1.7 2.5 3 3.4
Figure F.3. Representation and WFA estimates of persons with disabilities in 5-year intervals, 1996 to 2016 (%)
1996 2001 2006 2011 2016
Representation 3.1 5.1 5.8 5.6 5.6
WFA 4.8 3.6 4 4.4
Figure F.4. Representation and WFA estimates of members of a visible minority group in 5-year intervals, 1996 to 2016 (%)
1996 2001 2006 2011 2016
Representation 4.5 6.1 8.6 11.3 14.5
WFA 8.7 10.4 12.4 13

Appendix G: glossary of terms relating to education

Definitions of terms in this glossary have been adapted from the Final Report of the Working Group to Define Business Requirements for Enterprise Learning.

common curriculum
Learning that is provided by the Canada School of Public Service.
department-specific learning
Learning that is specific to an organization’s mandate and its programs; a course or learning object that is relevant only to that specific department (for example, Public Services and Procurement Canada’s “Meet and Greet” events for new employees and orientation sessions at the Department of Justice Canada).
horizontal learning
Learning that is provided across more than one organization that is not covered under the definition of common curricula.
A course or other learning object that is required to be delivered to a specific target audience that covers more than one organization (such as a marine safety project, a partnership with 5 departments that need to share courses and training with a small target population within each of the partner departments, for example, Shared Services Canada’s need to deliver important IT security content to all members of the CS group in the federal public service).
learning
The acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study or by being taught.
legislated training
Training that is mandated by legislation to perform either tasks or jobs. Note: Legislated training is not particular to the federal government.
mandatory training
Training, learning paths or curricula mandated by deputy heads for their own employees (all or specified group), irrespective of where it is delivered (internally, at the Canada School of Public Service, or through a third party).
non-government training
Training that is offered by a training body that is not part of the federal government.
required training
Training covered under the Directive on the Administration of Required Training, as well as one-off mandatory training that is centrally managed (such as the Canada School of Public Service’s “Performance Management for the Government of Canada” (G140), which is not covered under the Directive on the Administration of Required Training but is required for all public service employees according to the Directive on Performance Management). Required training is at the enterprise (or core public administration) level.
training
The action of teaching a person a particular skill or type of behaviour.

Appendix H: what are public service employees saying about diversity and inclusion?

The Task Force received almost 12,000 responses from employees in 30 departments to its online survey, and over 500 employees participated in discussion forums, both of which asked public service employees for their views and ideas about diversity and inclusion. Here are some comments that reflect key themes throughout the responses.

What contributes to a diverse and inclusive workplace? (online survey and discussion forums)

  • “Technology and tools accessible and usable by persons with disabilities”
  • “Recognizing that not everyone is (officially) bilingual and valuing other cultures and languages”
  • “More language training so it stops being a barrier to inclusion”
  • “Dealing with unconscious bias”
  • “We are quick to hire anyone like-minded, but very few people hire folks who do not think or process information like they do.”
  • “Expanding Employment Equity beyond the four designated groups…this is ancient”
  • “Dedicated Champions in each office for D&I. Ensuring these Champions have time to focus and perform in this role, to attend training, and disseminate information appropriately. Allocation of time and budget, dedicated resources.”
  • “Mentoring/developmental opportunities,” “effective role models,” that is, “women in leadership” and “LGBTQ allies in management”
  • “Leadership, it starts at the top. Deputies have to realize they are people managers first, and they set the tone for the public service.”
  • “Transparency with respect to the hiring process” and “accountability on the part of management”
  • “Actively promote merit / competency-based assignments without regard to gender, ethnicity, [age], etc.”
  • “Safe process/mechanism for employees to raise concerns about workplace environment without having to file grievance or enter formal mediation, especially unrepresented employees, they have no independent advocates”
  • “Review (by TBS-OCHRO) of HR policies with a D&I lens, especially recruitment, performance management, and talent management. Just as gender-based analysis is being done, a D&I-based analysis can also be undertaken.”
  • “Bring the outside in: selection boards, consultations, panels, focus groups, etc. Maybe we should not only be talking amongst ourselves all the time. We desperate need this sort of enrichment.”

What barriers inhibit diversity and inclusion? (online survey and discussion forums)

  • “Discrimination against women…the hiring manager asked in a reference check whether the applicant was ‘finished having babies.’”
  • “Aboriginal people…can have a difficult time adjusting to environments not similar to theirs, with people unfamiliar with their culture.”
  • “Blockage of advancement for Francophones…because all written work is done in English.”
  • “…lack of awareness, training and discussion to create a culture of respect for diversity…”
  • “Lack of education and awareness at the EX level…lack of initiatives to promote diversity.”
  • “Groupthink, negating any potential benefit from varied opinions and ideas”
  • “Official languages is a huge barrier for hiring visible minorities and Aboriginal peoples and all new recruits.”
  • “We do not use diverse hiring boards when recruiting.”
  • “Piecemeal approach, some organizations have a great approach, some don’t, need a more uniform approach”
  • “Some diversity groups have conflict with other diversity groups, that is, views on gender equality, LGBTQ, etc.”; “conflicting values”
  • “Pushback...from other employees to participate in diversity programs; still a lot of pushback about employing immigrants”
  • “Too much lip service, not enough action”; “senior executives just want to check the box and not walk the talk”
  • “Lack of critical thinking around diversity and inclusion, beyond food, folklore, and festivities”
  • “Concern of negative impact (of being out as LGBTQ2+) on an individual’s career; lack of a clear message that being your ‘true self’ will not impact your career”

Ideas or actions than can help foster diversity and inclusion (online survey)

  • “Hold management accountable for diversity and inclusion in their performance reviews.”
  • “Continually promote, monitor, and report on (results from diversity and inclusion actions).”
  • “Diversity and inclusion should be an organization-wide (commitment) and be communicated in the vision and mission and part of senior executive performance agreements.”
  • “Review policies (and practices) with a diversity lens.”
  • “language training for under-represented groups”
  • “training for hiring (managers) to improve understanding of unconscious bias”
  • “Ask for advice (and ideas) from the working level.”
  • “More discussion and debates around fostering diversity and inclusion…more training and awareness”
  • “Create a diversity app that allows users to experience different situations from the perspective of people who do not share their backgrounds or personal circumstances.”
  • “A more robust diversity network with actual support in people and money that allows development of quality awareness…events”

Appendix I: the Task Force’s proposed diversity and inclusion lens

Recognizing diversity in ourselves and others can help us understand how numerous factors influence how federal public service employees:

  • provide services
  • design policies and programs
  • interact with employees and clients

“Diversity” includes inherent diversity (ethnicity, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, neurodiversity,Footnote 61 different abilities, etc.) and other differences that affect and enrich our work, including:

  • values
  • communication styles
  • ways of thinking
  • interests and passions
  • upbringing
  • approaches to work
  • job group and level
  • education
  • other aspects

When we question our own ideas and perspectives, we can open ourselves to new ways of understanding.

Ask about inclusion

By always asking 3 simple questions, we can integrate diversity and inclusion into all our work:

  1. Who is not included in the work you do?
  2. What could be contributing to this exclusion?
  3. What can you do differently to ensure inclusion?Footnote 62

The Task Force’s proposed diversity and inclusion lens (D&I lens) analyzes the 3 principal areas of the public service’s work (developing policies and practices, providing programs, and managing people) to consider all groups, not only the 4 groups designated in the Employment Equity Act,Footnote 63 to ensure that everyone experiences and benefits from government initiatives equitably.

The D&I lens does not replace existing government tools such as gender-based analysis “plus” (GBA+) and other reviewing protocols. It complements them, promotes thoroughness, and is designed to be used in conjunction with them.

The D&I lens is meant to help public service employees:

  • take into account aspects of diversity
  • promote inclusion
  • improve workplace morale
  • reward innovation
  • produce better results

It is a “thinking cap” of sorts to encourage consideration of the impact on diverse groups of decisions about policies, programs, legislation and people management, with the objective of creating an equitable workplace for everyone.

You can use the D&I lens to:

  • become more aware of diversity around you
  • incorporate diverse perspectives to strengthen the capacity of work teams
  • create a positive and respectful work environment
  • recruit and retain employees who are representative of the communities we serve
  • develop and provide services and programs that are responsive to the clients and communities we work with every day
  • identify and address systemic barriers and inequities that people faceFootnote 64

Examples of how to apply the D&I lens

Using and benefiting from the D&I lens requires conscious effort and an open mind. Questioning your own assumptions will allow you to discover and learn new things. Table I.1 provides examples of how to use the D&I lens.

Table I.1. Examples of how to use the D&I lens
In these scenarios, Employees should consider… Managers should consider… Executives should consider…
During meetings
  • Expressing their ideas because they have a perspective that others may not.
  • Thinking critically about programs and policies to determine whether they affect groups inequitably.
  • Promoting an environment for meetings that is conducive to people speaking up, where people feel comfortable to bring up their ideas.
  • Encouraging all team members to speak openly about programs and policies, and to suggest possibilities that may not have been considered.
  • Fostering inclusive and welcoming work environments.
  • Using self-awareness skills to ask whether bias plays a role in how they form opinions.
  • Playing the devil’s advocate role and critically analyzing standard protocols.
Job interviews
  • Conducting themselves respectfully and professionally, and being open to learning new things.
  • Asking questions for clarity.
  • Taking into account how cultural backgrounds and differences may influence behaviour (such as lack of eye contact or interrupting the interviewer, which may be seen as confidence by dominant groups but as rudeness by subordinate groups).
  • Ensuring that hiring managers are trained in unconscious bias and in diversity and inclusion considerations.
Interpersonal interactions
  • Identifying their pronouns (for example, he/him, she/her, they/them) when meeting someone new, and possibly asking a person’s pronouns when meeting a person for the first time.
  • Inviting people to identify their pronouns at meetings or events so that everyone can know each other.
  • Spreading awareness of gender diversity and introducing gender-neutral pronouns.
  • Avoiding making assumptions about a person (for example, that they are heterosexual and/or cisgenderFootnote 65 how they socialize at work and outside work, or about their religion, beliefs or values.
  • Asking instead of assuming if unclear about someone’s identity.
Language
  • Being aware of and questioning the use of language and its impact, and using inclusive and neutral language to ensure everyone feels comfortable.
  • Using up-to-date and preferred terms.
  • Educating oneself about such terms by consulting with colleagues and using available tools.
  • Double-checking the language in official documents such as memoranda to Cabinet and Treasury Board submissions to ensure they use language that is inclusive and respectful.
Procurement decisions
  • Suggesting that managers approach companies that have demonstrated that they are diverse and inclusive.
  • Including diversity and inclusion factors in requests for proposals to suppliers and in requests for quotes, and favourably considering organizations that have proven to be diverse and inclusive.
Event planning
  • Respecting cultural factors when planning events by:
    • ensuring that they do not conflict with religious and cultural holidays
    • respecting dietary restrictions (for example, halal, kosher, vegetarian)
    • ensuring that the location is physically accessible and comfortable for all (for example, it is scent-free and has no inappropriate imagery)
    • respecting participants’ family responsibilities as they may relate to the scheduling of the event
    • inviting the significant others of all participants when such invitations are made (regardless of gender or sexual orientation)
    • subsidizing the cost to ensure that no cultural, economic or other barriers to participation exist
Developing forms
  • Raising concerns to their supervisor regarding the appropriateness of collecting demographic information.
  • Questioning the necessity of asking for gender information, especially if it provides only binary options for “male” and “female.” If such information is not necessary, consider not collecting it, as one would with racial information that is not necessary.
Training
  • Educating themselves about aspects of diversity, for example, through courses offered by the Canada School of Public Service.
  • Ensuring that all employees can access training equally and that they have time during business hours to do so.
  • Allocating funding for training only if access to training is equal for all employees.
Drafting budgets
  • Providing input into drafting budgets by raising concerns, making suggestions, and identifying gaps regarding diversity and inclusion.
  • Taking into account how programs and policies affect or benefit people differently.
  • Including diversity and inclusion considerations when justifying budgets.

We as federal public servants:

1. Respect the lived experience of diverse groups and individuals by:

  • valuing and actively seeking different perspectives
  • drawing on a range of perspectives at all stages of a process
Considerations
  • How consistently do we apply our policies? How can we truly examine this?
  • How might our practices adversely affect particular groups? Are we providing the intended benefits?
    • How and from whom can we collect feedback about repercussions and gaps?
  • How can we further promote mutual trust, equitable treatment and non-discrimination in everyone’s daily experience of the workplace?
  • How can we be more accepting of differences in values, communication styles and behaviours from people who have different backgrounds?
  • Who is knowledgeable about such differences? Who can help us to provide input about barriers and opportunities?
  • What other approaches can we try in order to reach additional groups?
  • When creating advisory groups, how can we reflect our commitment to inclusion?
  • How can our staffing and talent management decisions create teams that are (more) diverse and inclusive, and that bring a range of skills, competencies, strengths and approaches to work?
  • How can we create meaningful opportunities for greater involvement for diverse individuals?
  • How can we better leverage the knowledge, expertise and lived experience of staff who have insight into these barriers and groups, and involve them in design and review processes?
  • How can we ensure that diverse groups and inclusion are considered from the inception of a program, as opposed to adapting practices afterward for diversity? How can we integrate diversity and inclusion throughout the process?

2. Question our own assumptions

Considerations
  • From where have I learned my assumptions? How can I ensure that what I believe is true to life?
  • How do my own intersecting factors of diversityFootnote 66 cause me to view other people and issues?
  • How can we guarantee that the attitudes and norms of the organization and workforce do not limit options from being considered or prevent people from being involved and contributing?
  • How can we ensure that our policies and programs affect everybody equally and/or are neutral in impact?

3. Sharpen our inclusion skills and practices by challenging ourselves to undertake honest and multi-layered assessments

Considerations
  • How can we keep ourselves up-to-date on new insights about diversity and inclusion, and about the lived experiences of diverse people?
  • How do we integrate such learning into our practices and be accountable and transparent to our stakeholders and interest groups?
  • How can we help others (organizations and employees) leverage diversity and inclusion in their own workplaces to create healthier, more open and better-performing environments?
  • How can we better use recent research and data to understand how our policies might affect groups differently?
  • How can we ensure that certain groups do not have an unnecessary burden or added duty concerning our programs?
  • How do we improve our monitoring and evaluation processes? Can stakeholder groups be involved? How do we measure progress on identified barriers?

4. Take actions to remove barriers to employment and promote inclusion

Considerations
  • How can we further support inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility? How can we engage others to help us find solutions to eliminate barriers, especially those that affect minority groups?
    • How can we follow through with our commitments to these principles in all aspects of our work (for example, in staffing, promotions, retention, partnerships and procurement, and with suppliers)?
  • How clearly do we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive, barrier-free work environment that supports the well-being of all employees? How can we promote and publicize this commitment further?
Figure I.1: Diversity in Canada’s public service
Diversity  in Canada's public service. Text version below:
Figure I.1 - Text version

Figure I.1 consists of two components. The one at the left comprises three circles that surround a central circle. The component at the right consists of a large circle that has various sub-components.

The component at the left is called “Diversity in the public service.” It has a central circle that has the words “Diversity and inclusion” inside it. Three other circles surround the central circle and have words inside them that read “Our people,” “Our programs” and “Our policies and practices,” respectively.

The component at the right is called “Diversity in Canada in an evolving concept.” It consists of one large circle that is split into three segments that are called “Human rights,” “Social and economic context” and “Employment context,” respectively. A graphic of an individual is in the middle of this large circle and is labelled “Individual.”

The “Human rights” segment of the large circle contains the following words to describe aspects of diversity: “age,” “sex,” “religion,” “marital status,” “colour,” “sexual orientation,” “pardons,” “gender identity and expression,” “ethnic or national origin,” “race,” “genetic characteristics,” “disability” and “family status.”

The “Social and economic context” segment of the large circle contains the following words to describe aspects of diversity: “education,” “geographic location,” “income,” “personal habits” and “work experience.”

The “Employment context” segment of the large circle contains the following words to describe aspects of diversity: “merit,” “management status,” “work location,” “employment status,” “work content and field,” “unionization,” “functional level and classification,” “department, unit and group,” and “professional occupation.”

There is an outer ring surrounding the circle labelled “National and international context.” It lists the following as aspects of this context: “technology,” “legislation,” “demographics,” “official languages,” “political system,” “economy,” “national values” and “reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.”

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the President of the Treasury Board, 2017,
ISBN: 978-0-660-24009-1

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