Government of Canada announces first steps in its Action Plan to support Black public servants

News release

February 21, 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario – Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Across the country, systemic racism continues to be an everyday reality for Black communities, including in the workplace. The Government of Canada is committed to fostering a safe, healthy, and inclusive environment, where Black public servants are equally recognized for their important contributions and provided every opportunity to succeed.

In Budget 2023, following the invaluable work of several Black public servants’ networks in 2022, the Government of Canada committed an additional $45.9 million to complement the initial funding in Budget 2022 for a Black mental health fund. As a result, nearly $50 million is supporting the creation and development of the Action Plan for Black Public Servants (Action Plan) to establish career development programs and mental health supports for Black public servants.

Today, the Honourable Anita Anand, President of the Treasury Board, announced the first initiatives of the Action Plan, which will continue to be refined through meaningful input from Black public servants. Specifically:

  • Health Canada is receiving funding for Black-centric enhancements to the Employee Assistance Program provided to more than 90 federal departments and agencies. This includes the recruitment of 19 additional Black counsellors this year alone, which brings to a total of 60 Black counsellors, to provide culturally competent and trauma-informed mental health support to public servants and their immediate family members.
  • Following a successful pilot, the Canada School of Public Service is receiving funding to launch an executive leadership program for Black executives in groups EX-01, EX-02, and EX-03 to support their career advancement.
  • The Public Service Commission (PSC) is receiving funding to provide individualized assessment, counselling and coaching services to Black public servants. The PSC will also build on their current expertise and leverage available research and feedback from Black employees to improve the delivery of its career development services for all levels of Black public servants.

The implementation of the Action Plan will be led by an internal task force made up of primarily Black employees. In the coming days, weeks and months, the task force will engage through check-ins with employee networks, surveys, and discussions with Black public servants to further engage on the implementation of current and future initiatives under the Action Plan.

The Government of Canada is committed to making real and lasting change to create a workplace that is safe, inclusive, and free of all forms of racism and discrimination. This work will be guided by lived experience and collaboration with Black public servants. 


“These and future investments will continue to be guided by the lived experiences of Black public servants. There is much more to be done to develop initiatives to help ensure that Black public servants are healthy and supported throughout their careers. We will keep working with Black public servants to address all forms of anti-Black racism and discrimination because a diverse, inclusive, safe, and rewarding public service not only benefits employees, but it also strengthens our organizations and improves our service delivery for Canadians.”

-       The Honourable Anita Anand, President of the Treasury Board

“Every employee should feel valued and be safe at work and we know that the stress caused by racism can greatly affect a person’s mental health and well-being. This is why we are providing better supports, including for mental health, with Black-centric programs to address the needs of our Black colleagues.”

-       The Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health

“We recognize the significant and unique challenges faced by Black public servants, including anti-Black racism and its significant impacts on mental health. These Black-centric enhancements to the Employee Assistance Program will help the government ensure that employees can access the culturally safe mental health supports they need and deserve.”

-       The Honourable Ya’ara Saks, Minister of Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Quick facts

  • For more information about the Action Plan, public servants can contact the Task Force for Black Public Servants at

  • During the 2021-22 fiscal year, there were 9,809 employees who identified as Black out of 236,133 overall in the core public administration, or 4.2%. Of those, 168 executive employees self-identified as Black out of a total of 7,200, which represented 2.3% of the executive population.

  • According to the 2022 Public Service Employee Survey results,11% of Black public servants reported experiencing discrimination on the job, compared to 6% reported from non-racialized, non-Indigenous populations.

  • According to the 2021-22 Employment Equity in the Public Service of Canada report, when compared to other employment equity groups, the proportion of Black employees is higher in the $50,000 to $74,999 salary range and is lower in all other salary ranges between $75,000 and $250,000.

  • In October 2023, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) announced the members of the panel of experts tasked with providing recommendations to the government on the design and creation of a new Restorative Engagement Program for public service employees.

  • In 2018, Canada endorsed the UN International Decade for People of African Descent, which runs from 2015 to 2024. On February 7, 2024, the Prime Minister announced an extension, until 2028 of the federal government’s efforts.

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Ronny Al-Nosir
Press Secretary
Office of the President of the Treasury Board of Canada

Media Relations
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Telephone: 613-369-9400
Toll-free: 1-855-TBS-9-SCT (1-855-827-9728)

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