FAQ: PSAC Anti-Racism Action Plan

Why do we need an Anti-Racism Action Plan?

We need this plan to address the legacy of colonialism, slavery, residential schools and systemic racism that our union and our members are not immune from. We know that we live in a world where right-wing political groups and individuals are becoming more emboldened, and we need to fight back.  

We know that our Indigenous, Black, Asian and other racialized members continue to experience racism. It is clear that current policies and practices have not worked to bring about systemic change – racism continues to be pervasive and persistent.  

What is systemic racism?

Systemic racism is the institutionalization of discrimination through policies, procedures and practices which may appear neutral on the surface, but which have an exclusionary or adverse impact on groups protected by human rights legislation, such that they are discriminated against, intentionally or unintentionally.  

This occurs in laws, as well as institutions and organizations where policies, practices, and procedures (e.g., job requirements, hiring practices, etc.) exclude and/or act as barriers to the participation of marginalized groups.  

Systemic discrimination can be found in education, housing, health care, employment, social and public services, media, banking, criminal justice and law enforcement, immigration, religion, etc. 

What does it mean to be anti-racist? 

Anti-racism is a transformative process and way of engaging with the world that acknowledges the existence of racism and that seeks to identify, challenge and eliminate racism in all its various forms, wherever it exists.  

Anti-racism is an active way of seeing and being in the world, in order to transform it. Because racial hatred, bias and systemic racism occurs at all levels and spheres of society (and can act to produce and maintain exclusionary "levels" and "spheres"), anti-racism education and activism is necessary in all aspects of society. In other words, it does not happen exclusively in the workplace, in the classroom, or in selected aspects of our lives.  

A person who practices anti-racism is an anti-racist or someone who works to become aware of:  

How racism affects the lived experience of Indigenous, Black, Asian and other racialized people.   How racism benefits and privileges those who are not Indigenous, Black, Asian and other racialized people.    How racism is systemic and has been part of many foundational aspects of society throughout history and can be manifested in both individual attitudes and behaviours as well as formal (and "unspoken") policies and practices within institutions.   How they can take action that promote racial equity and equality and support Indigenous, Black, Asian and other racialized people.

How will PSAC’s Anti-Racism Action Plan address issues of systemic racism within the union? 
  • An audit of all union documents such as constitutions, collective agreements and policies
  • Providing members with anti-racism and anti-oppression training
  • Applying an anti-racist lens to our materials and educational resources and language in our communication with members
  • Increase representation and diversity of union leadership
How will the Anti-Racism Action Plan address systemic issues of racism in the workplace for members?  
  • Delivering the Advocacy and Representation on Workplace Discrimination course this fall. 
  • Address issues of diversity within the bargaining process including anti-racism as a bargaining issue and increasing representation of Indigenous, Black, Asian and other racialized members on bargaining teams.  
  • Lobby the federal government to take stronger action on anti-racism issues. 
  • Our union has also met with the legal team from the Indigenous Class Action lawsuit and plans to support their class action as it moves ahead.
  • As a union, we’ve been calling for the federal government to settle the Black Class Action that was launched in 2020 for tens of thousands of Black federal public service workers.
How can I get involved? 
  • Join your regional council, get involved in regional and national equity committees, attend regional or national conferences, and participate in panels, discussions and other union events.   
  • ​Visit the PSAC Anti-Racism Action Plan hub for information on upcoming activities.  
  • Keep your contact information up to date in the PSAC member portal to receive the latest news. 
June 2, 2023