Vaunted First Nations jobs plan misses target inside Indigenous Affairs Ministry

Harder to achieve than it sounds but still striking. As to the comment of the frustrated applicant, there is a distinction between the role of a public servant and an activist:

The Liberals’ vaunted support for First Nations, Métis and Inuit job-seekers appears to be absent in the government’s own hiring practices.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada went on a hiring spree this year — and so far there are relatively few Indigenous workers among the lucky recruits for stable, full-time jobs.

In a 1996 written agreement with First Nations, the department promised to “make every reasonable effort” to hire one Indigenous employee for every two new job vacancies.

But for more than two decades officials have failed to deliver, often arguing that hiring freezes tie their hands or that there are no suitable or willing Indigenous candidates for jobs that do come open.

The Liberal government of Justin Trudeau has since opened the jobs spigot, with plans to hire 278 people in the department this fiscal year alone to help administer new water-quality and infrastructure programs, among others. Another 184 jobs will be created in the following three years.

‘Extremely frustrating’

But of the 117 new workers hired so far, just 21 are self-identified Indigenous people.

That works out to 18 per cent, far fewer than the long-standing promise of 50 per cent. It’s even lower than the current makeup of the department’s 4,100-member workforce, which is about 30 per cent Indigenous.

“For me it is extremely frustrating, not just as an individual who is more than qualified and looking for a career,” said a First Nations woman with two degrees who has repeatedly applied without success for full-time work at the department.

“But on a larger scale, I find it frustrating for all Indigenous people and for Canada as a whole. Here we have a new government that talks about a nation-to-nation relationship and engagement and all that good stuff.

“But wouldn’t the best way to start that process be to hire more Indigenous staff who are passionate about working with the government and their people to bridge gaps and make positive changes?”

CBC News has agreed to withhold the identity of the woman because she worries any publicity will damage her job prospects.

A spokeswoman for Carolyn Bennett, the minister responsible, confirmed the 50 per cent hiring target still stands, as the government works on “advancing reconciliation” with Indigenous people.

Source: Vaunted First Nations jobs plan misses target inside Indigenous Affairs Ministry – Politics – CBC News

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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