CSIS hiring human rights specialist to address workplace discrimination

Hiring comes after a complaint from intelligence officer to human rights commission

CSIS hiring human rights specialist to address workplace discrimination

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) has agreed to hire an independent human rights specialist as part of a settlement following a complaint from a Black woman who worked there as an intelligence officer.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) said in a statement the specialist will be hired within 18 months to review the organisation's DEI Strategy as well as the other public interest commitments in the settlement.

CSIS agreed to share the executive summary of the specialist's findings and recommendations, as well as share the full report to the parties of the complaint. It also agreed to share its responses to the recommendations with the CHRC.

Information officer's complaint

The move comes after the woman who worked for CSIS as an intelligence officer filed a complaint to the CHRC, which was referred to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.


The CHRC in its statement did not disclose further details on the complaint, but it said the matter was settled without the need for a tribunal hearing.

"Although the parties do not necessarily agree on all of the matters raised in the complaint, they have agreed to the public interest remedies described in this settlement," the CHRC said in its statement.

In addition to hiring an independent human rights specialist, CSIS also agreed to:

  • re-communicate the objective approach used to assign developing Intelligence Officers to work placements, including tenure
  • receive input from the Commission as part of the review of its "right fit" policy

Affirming DEI commitment

As part of the settlement, CSIS also said it re-affirms its commitment to actions outlined in its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy 2022.

The service has agreed to "review and validate its policy and approach to applying 'right fit' in hiring decisions, under which right fit decisions are based on candidates' asset qualifications and the relative strength of their qualifications."

It also agreed to promote greater diversity on its selection panels and run an executive recruitment process for employees from employment equity groups and prioritise the placement of qualified participants.

According to the statement, CSIS also agreed to train employees on unconscious bias and anti-racism, include discrimination as a ground for appealing staff decisions, and review HR assessment tools to reduce potential bias.

"These commitments will foster CSIS’s goal of building a healthy and respectful workplace comprised of highly skilled employees who are truly representative of the diversity of Canadians," the CHRC said.

The announcement also comes weeks after a Canadian Press report exposed an alleged toxic culture in the CSIS British Columbia office. CSIS director David Vigneault has since told the media that the accused officer has been "removed from the workplace."

Latest stories