PSAC has filed a policy grievance against Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada on behalf of the Canada Employment and Immigration Union based on the disproportionate and adverse treatment of racialized members. The grievance was filed on March 15, one week ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The policy grievance argues that the ongoing and systemic discrimination against IRCC employees based on race, national or ethnic origin, and/or colour is a violation of both the collective agreement and the Canadian Human Rights Act.
“A troubling and unacceptable number of public service workers continue to face discrimination and harassment in the federal public service,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC national president. “PSAC will continue to take action until our workplaces are anti-racist, and free from discrimination and oppression.”
Systemic discrimination includes behaviours, policies or practices that are part of the structures of an organization and create or perpetuate disadvantages for racialized persons. In this case, IRCC has shown they are incapable or unwilling to proactively address issues of racial discrimination and harassment when they arise, such as excluding racialized employees from hiring and promotional opportunities.
PSAC and CEIU are seeking several corrective measures, such as concrete action to eliminate discrimination in the workplace and prevent discriminatory practices in the future. We are also calling for all affected members to receive compensation for damages.
“We are committed to fighting racism in the workplace, and continuing to build a strong, unified and anti-racist union that leads the fight against systemic oppression and discrimination,” said Eddy Bourque, CEIU national president. “We will be advancing this case on behalf of our racialized members to say enough is enough.”
While we are hopeful for dialogue with the employer, there is a possibility the grievance will be scheduled for adjudication by the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board, depending on the outcome of the final level hearing with the IRCC. While the grievance process typically has multiple levels of hearings, a policy grievance goes straight to the final level hearing. The date for that hearing has yet to be determined.
In the meantime, PSAC is renewing its call for mandatory training that would address systemic racism, harassment, and discrimination in the federal public service after Treasury Board outright rejected the proposal at the Common Issues bargaining table in December.
Members are encouraged to learn more about what steps PSAC is taking to advance employment equity, as well as what PSAC has been doing to support the Black Class Action, by attending “Fighting for Equity: A panel on the Black Class Action Lawsuit” on March 21 at 7 p.m. (EDT).