PSAC’s Anti-Racism Action Plan: meaningful change means real action – not just words

In 2021, PSAC launched the Anti-Racism Action Plan to review how our union serves, mobilizes, engages and represents Indigenous, Black, Asian and racialized members and works to address harm and build a truly anti-racist union. 

This plan was built through consultations with Indigenous, Black, Asian and other racialized members to hear their lived experiences and be better able to address the barriers they face. Over the past year, we met with members across the country to discuss the impact of racism in their workplaces and within our union. 

What we heard 

As part of the initial consultations, we examined the impact of the transatlantic slave trade on women of African descent in the federal public service. PSAC’s Halifax Regional Women’s Committee called for this investigation more than ten years ago, through General Resolution 12/GEN-041.  

As part of our union’s internal work to prioritize, advance anti-racism, and redress harm, we worked with members, both past and present, to produce a paper investigating the impact of the transatlantic slave trade. The paper was launched at the Atlantic region’s first Regional Equity Conference

PSAC recognizes that Indigenous, Black, Asian and other racialized members continue to face discrimination and barriers in every region across the country.  

We know that members are not facing microaggressions – they are facing aggressions at work—period. We heard about the trauma and battle fatigue members experience when they are in constant anticipation of the next incident of racism in the workplace. When employers and workplaces are not equipped to recognize and address the racism that members experience, the impacts are demoralizing and impact members’ physical and mental well-being, their finances, families and communities. 

What we’re doing 

Our campaigns Still Thirsty for Justice and Illunnata have engaged PSAC members and community members across the country who are mobilized in the fight for clean water and food security in Indigenous communities.  

This fall, we will launch the Advocacy and Representation on Racial Discrimination course that is designed to equip stewards, local officers and union representatives to better intervene and support workers who experience racism in the workplace. 

A new course is in development examining Islamophobia and the intersection of race and religion that disproportionately impacts racialized communities. Members who take this course will be better able to dispel myths and stereotypes about Islam and Muslims. Work to promote an anti-racist labour movement will be launched in the coming year.  

Keeping the government accountable to racialized public service workers is a union priority. We will continue working to ensure that our recommendations to improve Canada’s federal Employment Equity Act are implemented.   

As a supporter of the Black Class Action (BCA) we continue to demand that the federal government to redress harm and settle a lawsuit for tens of thousands of Black public service workers. 

Next steps  

Systemic racism is pervasive, impacting workers in all aspects of their lives, including and beyond the workplace. We continue to reach out to our members through direct, grassroots communication and will be hosting national townhalls for members in all regions this fall.  

PSAC is committed to build on the objectives of the Anti-Racism Action Plan, and encourage members to get involved in their local human rights committees, area councils, and regional committees. 

June 2, 2023