Inclusion isn’t just a buzz word — and Canada can prove it: Opinion | Toronto Star

The UN special rapporteur needs to do her homework.

NCCM knows that Canadian public service diversity numbers are reasonably representative of the Canadian population as per the charts and analysis below (for visible minorities, the appropriate benchmark is the number who are also Canadian citizens – 15 percent of the total population). RCMP and municipal police force numbers, however, need improvement:

Federal Employment Equity

Religious Minorities in the Public Public Service

Consider the European Commission’s recent ruling that employers can now force their staff to remove their head scarves at work; it’s no small wonder that Canada sounds like “Disneyland” to minority groups there — this is a place where everyone can freely contribute to the country’s success without having to compromise their personal values or beliefs.

The federal government’s announcement last week that public service applications will be scrubbed of information revealing a person’s race and ethnicity is another noteworthy step. The hope is that such a measure will help reduce proven bias that tends to keep certain groups from accessing the same employment opportunities as everyone else, despite Canada’s Employment Equity Act.

“If you don’t have people represented in the institutions, how will they feel included? Decision making cannot be left to mono-ethnic, mono-linguistic, or mono-religious groups,” said Rita Izsák-Ndiaye, UN special rapporteur on minority issues, during her Ottawa visit. “Young people must see themselves in all state structures. If you don’t see a single policeman from your background, for example, how will you trust the institution?”

The lack of diversity in many of our key public institutions begs the need for more concrete action. Even Silicon Valley — often described as a progressive-haven — is struggling, according to an article in this month’s Atlantic. Companies there are trying all sorts of initiatives, including linking management bonuses to increasing diversity.

The need to address representation gaps are pressing, not only because it makes good business sense, as a new Canadian research study report out this week confirms, but that it reinforces the strength of our social fabric. If Canada is to be a global champion of inclusion it must both spotlight its successes and push harder to address systemic weaknesses by exploring all possible fixes and crafting made-in-Canada solutions.

Source: Inclusion isn’t just a buzz word — and Canada can prove it: Opinion | Toronto Star

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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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