Long overdue staffing changes coming for public service

To build truly diverse and inclusive workplaces, we need to rethink how we hire and promote workers to create a staffing process that’s inherently free of biases and systemic barriers. 

“But we’re still far away from that goal,” says Djimy Theodore, a Canada Revenue Agency employee who has been passed over multiple times for promotions while white colleagues were appointed to management positions without a competition at his workplace. Indigenous workers, racialized workers, and workers with disabilities have had similar experiences where their knowledge and experience were overlooked for promotional opportunities. 

“It’s clear there’s whitewashing taking place at the management level in the public service,” adds Theodore, who serves as Equity Director for PSAC-Québec.

The federal government has committed to review the Public Service Employment Act to make it more inclusive. The government is also creating a task force to modernize the Employment Equity Act, which hasn’t been reviewed in almost 20 years. PSAC will ensure that the union is part of these reviews to address the unfair
and opaque staffing practices in the federal public service.

PSAC and activists like Theodore are fighting to overhaul the legislation to better collect disaggregated data with an intersectional lens, and introduce mechanisms to stop discriminatory practices in the hiring process — like more diverse hiring boards, unconscious bias training, and accountability for hiring managers.  

Contributor: Michael Aubry


May 21, 2021