Public service survey continues to show discrimination and unequal treatment of workers with disabilities, Indigenous and racialized workers

The results of the 2017 Public Service Employee Survey continue to show disturbing results for employees from equity-seeking groups.

“The survey shows us that the federal public service still has a long way to go to make the workplace one where all employees are treated equitably and feel welcome in the workplace,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC National President.

Discrimination and harassment hits employees with disabilities, Indigenous employees hardest

The most significant differences found in the survey results were among employees with disabilities and Indigenous employees.

One in four employees with a disability reports having been the victim of discrimination on the job in the last two years.  Indigenous employees reported discrimination at a rate of 15 per cent. Discrimination also affected 13% of racialized employees (“visible minorities”).

Indigenous employees and those with disabilities were also much less likely than others to feel:

  • that they were accepted as an equal member of the team,
  • that their department or agency respects individual differences, and
  • that they are valued at work

Rates of harassment also continue to be alarmingly high. Harassment was identified by 37% of employees with disabilities and 28% of Indigenous employees (compared with an average rate of 18% for all employees).

Higher work-related stress for marginalized groups

Overall, employees from equity-seeking groups reported higher work-related stress in general than other employees. Indigenous employees and employees with disabilities were also less likely to say that their workplaces were “psychologically healthy”.

Harassment and discrimination can be one cause this additional stress at work. Almost half of employees with disabilities reported that it caused them stress at work, while more than one third of Indigenous and racialized employees said the same.

Unequal access to promotions and training

Indigenous and racialized employees and those with disabilities had less confidence in the fairness of the staffing process and were less likely than others to feel that they had opportunities for promotion.

Fewer than one-third of employees with disabilities feel they have opportunities for promotion, compared with almost half of employees without disabilities. They were also much less likely to feel that they got the training they need to do their job.

Time to take action on diversity and inclusion

Last year, the Joint Union/Management Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion released its final report, which made recommendations to make Canada’s public service a more diverse, inclusive and innovative workforce and workplace.

“Survey results like these underline the need to implement the Task Force’s recommendations as quickly as possible,” said Aylward.





June 4, 2018