Treasury Board boosts focus on diversity, inclusion

'Outlining these key areas of focus is a key step in taking concrete action'

Treasury Board boosts focus on diversity, inclusion
The Treasury Board of Canada has announced several initiatives it will take to foster greater diversity, inclusion and accessibility in the public service.

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has announced several initiatives it will take to foster greater diversity, inclusion and accessibility in the public service. These include improved data, appropriate benchmarks and addressing systemic barriers.

“As I’ve said before, I’m committed to achieving this ambitious change, and I know that co-developing our policies and programs with our partners will lead to more innovation, more experimentation, and new ways to address the challenges ahead,” says Jean-Yves Duclos, president of the Treasury Board. “In time, we will build a public service that is the true reflection of our pluralism and diversity.”

The secretariat says that progress will take time but concrete steps will bring the public service closer to its goal: To be more reflective of Canada and a model of inclusion for employers across the country and around the world.

“Representation within all sectors of government matters. To achieve this, we must address all forms of systemic racism so that individuals of all backgrounds can feel safe and truly included within their workplace,” says Bardish Chagger, minister of diversity and inclusion and youth. “The actions outlined today are another step forward in building a whole-of-government approach that is consciously more inclusive.”

The announcement comes a month after the government launched a “50 – 30 Challenge” to advance and recognize diversity, inclusion and economic prosperity across the country.

Earlier, it published the final Regulations Amending the Employment Equity Regulations to introduce new pay transparency measures in federally regulated workplaces.

Initiatives for diversity

The secretariat said it is pursuing the following initiatives:

Generating and publishing data for a more accurate picture of representation gaps: The government has released disaggregated datasets that provide – for the first time ever – views into the composition of public service employees who self‑identify in Employment Equity sub-groups, such as Black or Métis. Through the annual Public Service Employee Survey, now underway, the government will generate data and insights to better understand the workforce at even more detailed levels. This will help in identifying precisely where gaps remain and what actions are required to improve representation.

Increasing the diversity of the senior leaders of the public service: Departments will work to increase diversity among senior leaders of the public service. They will also establish a culture of inclusiveness that will combat racism and address systemic barriers, including increasing representation through promotion and recruitment; and the introduction of the Mentorship Plus Program to allow departments to offer mentoring and sponsorship opportunities to high-potential employees who may currently face barriers.

Ensuring appropriate benchmarks: The Treasury Board Secretariat will continue to work closely with partners to ensure that the public service applies appropriate benchmarks for diversity. This includes supporting Employment and Social Development Canada on the review of the Employment Equity Act.

Addressing systemic barriers: The Treasury Board Secretariat has initiated discussions with key stakeholders about the framework for recruitment in the public service and is specifically looking at possible amendments to the Public Service Employment Act and to support the review of the Employment Equity Act, planned by the minister of labour.

Half of working Canadians (54 per cent) say that they have observed instances of discrimination towards other employees. This includes less than equal treatment based on their race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, or anything other than their skill, according to a survey by market research company Abacus Data.

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