Self-identification in the Public Service: Yes, count me in!

The commitment

The Government of Canada is committed to employment equity. The goal for the Public Service is to have a representative workforce and to achieve equitable participation by eliminating any disadvantage in employment experienced by the designated groups – women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and persons in a visible minority group. Federal departments and agencies, along with bargaining agents, support the principles of employment equity.

Commitment to employment equity means

  • ensuring effective and fair human resources management by recognizing the value of diversity, promoting full participation and ensuring dignity and respect for all employees
  • planning and implementing programs, systems, policies and practices that are free of barriers to equal access to employment
  • enhancing opportunities based on fairness and supporting the achievement of a representative workforce.

Our commitment is to all our employees.

Merit and equity

The commitment recognizes merit and equity as cornerstones of human resources management in the Public Service. Employment equity helps ensure that staffing decisions and access to training and other opportunities are based on merit and that no one is excluded for reasons unrelated to qualifications and ability.

Everyone counts

The commitment can be fully supported only when all employees count themselves in, whether they are members of a designated group or not.

Your participation

Self-identification is about you. It is about your participation to ensure accurate information on the composition of the Public Service workforce as a whole and the workforce of this department.

Self-identification is voluntary. However, we can only have accurate information on our workforce if you complete a self-identification form as fully and accurately as possible.

How you can help meet the commitment

The participation of every employee is important in helping to:

  • get an accurate profile of who we are and how representative we are of the workforce
  • identify areas where changes in policies, practices and systems are likely to be most effective in achieving fairness and equity in employment
  • pinpoint where we need to eliminate barriers which limit or exclude designated groups from opportunities which should be open to all employees.

Collecting and using the data

Some important facts that you should know.

  • Why should everyone complete the self-identification form? The information you provide will be used to determine the relationship between representation in the Public Service and that of the Canadian workforce. All employees are part of our workforce, whether or not you are in a designated group. Completing the form ensures that information on our workforce is complete and accurate.

    The Treasury Board Secretariat and departments will use this information to assess designated group representation in different occupational groups and levels, to set goals, and to monitor progress in reaching those goals.

    The President of the Treasury Board is required by legislation to submit to Parliament an annual report on employment equity in the Public Service.

  • I have already self-identified; do I have to complete a new form? By self-identifying you will ensure that our information is up-to-date and complete. Even if you have self-identified in the past, you are asked to complete the form at this time to ensure that you are counted in and that you are counted in correctly.
  • How will my self-identification data be used? What does self-identification do for me if I am a person in a designated group? All self-identification information will be used for statistical purposes,
    • in compiling workforce representation figures for the department
    • for a report to Parliament on employment equity in the Public Service.

If you are in a designated group, you may also consent to your self-identification information being used for human resources management. If you wish to do so, remember to tick off (4) section E on the form. This will identify you for specific initiatives which may be directed at the designated groups. These could include:

  • identification of job opportunities for which you may be qualified,
  • accommodation to address the job-related needs of persons with disabilities,
  • seeking your participation on advisory committees,
  • gaining your input on specific employment equity issues.
  • Can anyone else identify me for employment equity purposes? No. You are responsible for completing a self-identification form and thus self-identifying. Only you can identify yourself as an Aboriginal person, a person in a visible minority group, or a person with a disability. Your manager or supervisor, or even your colleagues are not permitted to provide this information without your authorization.
  • Is the information confidential? Your self-identification information is confidential. It will be stored in the Employment Equity Data Bank (EEDB) in the Treasury Board Secretariat (code number TBS PCE-706) and is protected by the Privacy Act. Should you consent to your information being used for human resource management purposes, it would also be stored in the department’s personal information bank (TBS PSE-918) and be similarly protected by the Privacy Act.
    • In addition, all information is protected by a Code of Confidentiality. You may review the code at any time by contacting the department’s Employment Equity Coordinator.

  • Who has access to my self-identification responses? Only the department’s Employment Equity Staff and a small number of Treasury Board Secretariat employees responsible for maintaining the Employment Equity Data Bank have access to your self-identification information.
  • Why is a personal record identifier (PRI) included? It is necessary to link self-identification information with that on occupational group, salary ranges, hirings, promotions and separations in order to determine how the Public Service is doing in meeting its employment equity goals. Rather than collect all this information on the self-identification form, the PRI is used to gather it from existing information systems.
  • I have a disability, but have been accommodated in the workplace. Should I still self-identify as a person with a disability? All persons with disabilities including those who have been accommodated in the workplace are asked to self-identify. This is the only way that information on our workforce will be complete and accurate.
  • Can I identify in more than one group? Employment equity legislation permits employees to identify in more than one designated group. The self-identification form includes definitions to help you accurately identify which group(s) you belong to under this legislation.
  • What if my information changes later on? If you wish to update information about yourself, you should contact departmental employment equity staff and complete a new form. You may also review and correct your own information at any time by contacting the department’s Employment Equity Coordinator.

How do I participate?

Only you can count yourself in!

  • Complete a self-identification form as fully and accurately as possible and return it as soon as you can.
  • Make a personal commitment to ensure fairness in the Public Service. Self-identifying is a contribution only you can make.
  • If you need more information or require assistance to complete this form, please contact your departmental EE coordinator.
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