PSAC calls for change to address anti-Black racism at the Canadian Human Rights Commission

PSAC and other unions representing Black federal employees are calling for urgent action following the release of a Senate report highlighting the entrenched anti-Black racism within the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC)

In a joint release alongside the Canadian Union of Professional Employees (CAPE) and the Association of Justice Council (AJC), unions are urging the federal government to fully implement all of the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights’ (RIDR) recommendations to address longstanding issues at the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) and take meaningful steps towards building a more inclusive federal public service. 

“Enough is enough. Our members deserve justice, they deserve respect, and they deserve to be made whole," said Chris Aylward, PSAC national president. "It’s time for this government to make things right so we can move forward in creating a more equitable and diverse federal public service, free of anti-Black racism.” 

The Senate investigation and subsequent report stems from policy grievances PSAC, CAPE and AJC filed in 2020 against the CHRC for not adequately addressing race-based complaints, tokenizing equity-deserving workers, and failing to consult with racialized staff on how to concretely address the systemic issues in their organization.  

In March, Treasury Board found the CHRC had discriminated against its own Black and racialized employees. 

PSAC outlined our concerns at the Senate Standing Committee this summer, and provided our recommendations to address the systemic barriers at the CHRC and more broadly PSAC’s work to address, fight, and sustain action against racism in the federal public service. 

PSAC fully supports report’s recommendations 

In its report, the Senate committee presents 11 recommendations, many of which both PSAC and the Black Class Action have been calling for, including: 

  • The appointment of a Black Equity Commissioner as an independent officer of Parliament; 

  • More mandatory anti-racism training for all federal public service workers; 

  • Immediate legal and mental health supports for complainants and their families from the Canadian Human Rights Commission; 

  • Modernizing the Employment Equity Act so that it better reflects the intersectional identities of workers, which is also a key recommendation of the Employment Equity Act Review Task Force. 

PSAC strongly supports our members who, despite facing significant risk of reprisals, had the courage to bring these concerns forward. PSAC also continues to support the Black Class Action in the fight to address decades of anti-Black racism across the entire federal public service. 

PSAC calls on this government to accept the report’s findings and adopt its recommendations to restore confidence in the CHRC and ensure all Canadians can depend on a human rights system that is fair, free of systemic barriers, timely, and effective. 


December 22, 2023