Canada is a leader in public sector gender equality, says new report

Stay tuned for my upcoming analysis of current and historical EX diversity (women, visible minorities and Indigenous peoples):

Canada is a global leader when it comes to gender equality in the public sector’s senior levels, according to a recent report by Global Government Forum, a research group focused on issues facing civil servants.

At 46.4 per cent, Canada has the highest proportion of female senior civil servants of any G20 country, according to the report. Australia and South Africa trail close behind at 43.3 and 41.1 per cent, respectively.

“This kind of progress produces big rewards in terms of better decision-making, bigger talent pools and, ultimately, stronger public service delivery for the public,” Kevin Sorkin, Global Government Forum’s managing director said in a written statement.

“But there is more work to do: we hope that publishing this data will help senior officials both to make the case for change, and to identify the best ways to make progress.”

The index records the proportion of women employed in the top five grades of the senior civil service in each of the G20 countries. This group comprises of roughly the top one per cent of public officials, defined as non-elected senior executives across federal or national governments, or the executive ranks of the core civil service in central government.

In the report, Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick describes Canada as an early adopter of equal rights and anti-discrimination policies, arguing that the country is now experiencing a third wave of gender equality.

“First there were the real pioneers – the first women in jobs or at various tables – then the second wave was probably in the ‘90s, when you saw more and more women in positions of responsibility and the numbers started to move up quite a bit.

“So now we’re in the third wave, which is more about workplace culture: how meetings are conducted; avoiding ‘mansplaining’ and ‘manterruption’; tackling unconscious bias – that more subtle and nuanced stuff.”

Alongside the data on senior civil servants, the report includes figures about the proportion of women among the G20 member nations’ cabinet ministers, national parliamentarians, and directors on the boards of publicly-quoted private companies. A separate section tracks the proportion of women among the most senior civil service leaders of EU countries.

The research was supported by international business services firm EY, formerly known as Ernst & Young.

The top five G20 countries in the 2016-17 Index are:

  • Canada (46.4 per cent)
  • Australia (43.3 per cent)
  • South Africa (41.1 per cent)
  • U.K. (40.1 per cent)
  • Brazil (37.8 per cent)

Wernick said in a statement to the Citizen that “there has been some real leadership on increasing representation of women in positions across the full spectrum of public service jobs, starting with getting more women to the table and then into positions of responsibility.

“We are now tackling some tough issues with respect to inclusive workplaces, and the dialogue has shifted beyond representation and binary definitions of gender, to diversity as an asset that helps us better serve Canadians and creating a workplace where all employees feel engaged and respected,” Wernick said.

Source: Canada is a leader in public sector gender equality, says new report | Ottawa Citizen

Report link: Canada tops gender equality ranking – but Australia gaining fast. More…

Advertisements

Your name may dictate your apartment, degree, and career: Kutty

Ironically, although singling out the federal public service and its pilot project, Kutty is silent on the overall numbers which are largely representative of the visible minority population who are also Canadian citizens – 15 percent (some visible minority groups do better than others).

Above chart shows the 25 year trend for women, visible minorities and Indigenous peoples:

Having found the perfect rental property near the law school, a student of mine could not get a call back from the landlord despite repeatedly leaving messages. When a friend of his called, the call was returned within minutes.

Why?

Well, my student’s name was Mohamed. His friend used the name “Joe.”

Many Canadians with non-Anglicized names can speak of similar experiences. A CBC Marketplace segment from last year, for example, explored the idea of implicit bias affecting shoppers, apartment-seekers and job-hunters across Canada, finding that those with “foreign-sounding” names tended to face challenges that the “Joes” of the country did not.

That phenomenon in mind, then-rookie MP Ahmed Hussen — who has since been named immigration minister — introduced the idea of bringing name-blind recruitment to the civil service in Parliament last year. At the time, he said the move would “assist in our fight to end discrimination and attain real equality in our country.”

Ottawa has now adopted as a pilot project involving six federal ministries: National Defence, Global Affairs, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Public Services and Procurement, Environment and Climate Change and the Treasury Board.

According to the Treasury Board, the initiative will “conceal an applicant’s name, email addresses, employment equity information (i.e., gender, visible minority, person with a disability, Indigenous peoples), names of educational institutions, and country of origin at the initial screening stage.” The results will then be compared to outcomes from traditional applicant shortlisting and will be made available in a report due in October.

There is not much available data yet other than figures showing there has been a slight decrease in the number of visible minority applicants from the year 2012-13 to 2013-14 and subsequent years. One can hope that this initiative would reverse that trend.

As with most government pilots, there are surely some critics wondering why the federal civil service is busying itself with such projects.

Well, first off, there shouldn’t be any dispute that this is indeed a problem. A joint study from the University of Toronto and Ryerson University found that job applicants with Asian-sounding names received 20.1 per cent fewer calls from large organizations than those with Anglo names, and 39.4 per cent and 37.1 per cent fewer calls, respectively, from medium-sized and small employers.

A similar study by the U of T in 2011 — one called “Why do some employers prefer to interview Matthew, but not Samir?” — found that employers in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver were about 40 per cent more likely to interview candidates with Anglo-sounding names, as opposed to those with Chinese or Indian-sounding names, even if the candidates were equally qualified. The government’s pilot project aims to remedy this.

The idea is not new, in fact. Countries such as the U.K. and Australia have led the way in this regard. The British Civil Service and some of the large corporations including HSBC, Deloitte, BBC, and the U.K.’s National Health Service, initiated such a program in 2015. Last year, the Victoria Police, Australia Post and Ernst & Young (Australia) joined a recruitment program that strips out gender, age and cultural details.

Here in Canada, many law schools have implemented a blind grading system whereby students’ names are replaced by numbers to avoid instructor bias. And the Toronto Symphony Orchestra has demonstrated the success of blind auditions for years — evolving from a white, male orchestra in the 1970s to one that is now half female and much more diverse.

A name-blind recruitment process for the federal government is hardly more cumbersome in procedure, and the makeup of the civil service only stands to gain. A more reflective service will have more credibility with the populace but will also better understand the public it is serving. Moreover, as a recent study demonstrated there is a positive correlation between diversity and increased productivity.

That said, as many critics point out: name-blind screening is not a panacea — unconscious biases can’t be eliminated with one little recruitment remedy, and candidates will eventually be evaluated face to face. But removing a barrier to diversity in the federal civil service is a positive step, even if it is a minor one.

Let’s hope that this is just one component of a more comprehensive strategy involving: management acknowledging and confronting their own biases; better training on how biases impact decision-making; more objective hiring processes; and a more diverse group involved in the actual hiring process.

Source: Your name may dictate your apartment, degree, and career: Kutty | Toronto Star

With wider search for soldiers, Canada’s military broadens horizons [in hiring]

The The numbers are abysmal as shown above in the dated chart but it does appear that the military is taking more serious steps to address the gaps.

It would also be nice if their annual employment equity report would be posted publicly rather than having to request it from the Library of Parliament:

First, though, comes a significant and persistent challenge: getting more Canadians to join.

The Forces have struggled for years to hit recruiting numbers, resulting in thousands of unfilled positions such as pilots and technicians.

That’s why fixing the recruiting system is a top priority, said Lt.-Gen. Charles Lamarre, the chief of military personnel, whose role is to oversee all aspects of human resources in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Central to that goal is making the military more inclusive, diverse and attractive to all Canadians, regardless of their backgrounds.

“Our population doesn’t look like all white guys,” Lamarre said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

“If you want to get the very best people – the very smartest, most capable, most committed and most ingenious – then you need to look broadly and not exclude groups that would be very useful to you.”

There is more to the push towards increased diversity and inclusiveness than simply recruiting, though that part of the equation is vitally important.

Gen. Jonathan Vance, Canada’s chief of the defence staff, recently released a diversity strategy in which he noted that Canada was becoming more diverse – and the military needed to follow suit.

Doing so would be necessary to attract and retain people, Vance wrote, as well as to ensure the military continued to reflect the society it is sworn to protect, and to increase its effectiveness on missions abroad.

That’s why the Forces appear to be turning a page: leaders are recognizing the real importance of diversity, said Alan Okros, an expert on diversity in the military at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto.

“This idea that people with different views, different experiences, different skill sets are going to make the military stronger has been kind of coalescing and coming together for about a year and a half,” Okros said.

“This isn’t a luxury, this isn’t social engineering, this isn’t political manoeuvring or political correctness. This is now an operational requirement.”

Vance has since taken the unprecedented step of ordering the military to grow the percentage of female personnel to 25 per cent in the next decade, up from 15 per cent.

Recruiters are now launching targeted advertising campaigns and reaching out to women who previously expressed an interest in a military career but didn’t join.

Senior commanders, meanwhile, are reviewing everything from uniforms and ceremonies to food and religious accommodations to see whether they meet the requirements of a more diverse force.

Lamarre plans to speak Monday at a citizenship ceremony in Ottawa in hopes of explaining to new Canadians what he describes as “a tangible way in which they can serve their nation.”

And he hopes to sit down with Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde and other indigenous leaders to talk about ways to reach out and attract people from those communities.

Others within the military are getting in on the action too, with the head of the navy, Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, issuing a directive last week encouraging his sailors to attend Pride parades in uniform.

Vance is expected to issue a similar directive to the rest of the military in the coming days.

Not everyone agrees with what the military is doing, Lloyd acknowledged, including some of those who are already in uniform. But changing the face of the Forces isn’t just some feel-good exercise, he said.

“In order to be successful in the future, we need to be able to recruit from the entire population.”

There are other challenges to overcome besides convincing some current personnel of the importance of diversity.

The military is still trying to overcome years of bad headlines about the treatment of women and members of the LGBT community by adopting a zero-tolerance approach to sexual misconduct.

There has also been a historic lack of interest in the Forces by many ethnic communities, particularly those that trace their origins to countries where the military has a bad reputation.

And then there are the problems identified by auditor general Michael Ferguson last year, namely that the recruiting system is struggling with red tape and the effects of Conservative budget cuts.

Source: With wider search for soldiers, Canada’s military broadens horizons – The Globe and Mail

Ottawa pilots ‘name-blind’ recruitment to reduce ‘unconscious bias’ in hiring

This pilot will provide some real world data to the existing blind cv studies that have been conducted by Oreopoulos and Reitz.

Wisely, the government has chosen to pilot this in a number of departments with different representation challenges, as shown in the table below:

As the government has largely met the goal of being representative of the population it serves, implicit bias may be less of a factor in the government sector. Representation is somewhat less at more senior levels, where implicit bias is likely less of an issue given that candidates are known.

It would be ironic indeed if the pilot, intended to test for bias against visible minorities, would show a bias for visible minorities, given some of the “over-representation” in some departments. In any case, a valuable exercise.

Ottawa has launched a pilot project to reduce biases in the hiring of federal civil services through what is billed “name-blind” recruitment, a practice long urged by employment equity advocates.

The Liberal government’s move came on the heels of a joint study by University of Toronto and Ryerson University earlier this year that found job candidates with Asian names and Canadian qualifications are less likely to be called for interviews than counterparts with Anglo-Canadian names even if they have a better education.

“It’s not just an issue of concern for me but for a lot of people. A number of people have conducted research in Canada, the U.K., Australia and the U.S. that showed there is a subliminal bias in people reading too much into names,” said Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, who first delivered the idea to Parliament last year as a rookie MP from Toronto.

“Name-blind recruitment could help ensure the public service reflects the people it serves by helping to reduce unconscious bias in the hiring process.”

Some companies in the private sector, including banks and accounting firms, have already adopted the practice, which removes names from application forms in order to stop “unconscious bias” against potential recruits from minority backgrounds.

In the United Kingdom, the government now requires name-blind applications for university admissions service and other applications for organizations such as the civil service, British Broadcasting Company and local government.

U of T sociology professor Jeffrey Reitz said the initiative is an important step forward but cautioned officials they must consult independent experts in developing the process and reviewing the results to make sure it is done correctly.

To conduct name-blind screening, he said, recruiters must remove any information on a resumé that would reveal the ethnicity of the person, such as name, birth place and membership in an association before coding the candidates in the talent pool.

“If the government is serious about it, they need to make the process transparent and allow researchers to look at the new procedures and the results,” said Reitz, a co-author of the Canadian study on name discrimination against Asians.

Debbie Douglas of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants said she hopes the pilot could benefit other minority groups, given studies have shown that white English- and French-speaking able-bodied women have been the primary beneficiaries of current employment equity programs.

“We hope as the government moves proactively to ensure diversity in hiring it will review the existing program and strengthen it to ensure the intentional inclusion of racialized and indigenous job seekers,” said Douglas.

Treasury Board President Scott Brison, who championed Hussen’s initial idea, said he welcomed the opportunity to explore new ways of recruiting talent for the public service.

“A person’s name should never be a barrier to employment. Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is critical to building an energized, innovative and effective public service that is better able to meet the demands of an ever-changing world,” said Brison at the launch of the pilot at Ryerson Thursday.

The six departments participating in the pilot include Department of National Defence; Global Affairs Canada; Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; Public Services and Procurement Canada; Environment and Climate Change Canada; and the Treasury Board Secretariat. A report on the pilot is expected in October.

Using data from a recent large-scale Canadian employment study that examined interview callback rates for resumés with Asian and Anglo names, U of T and Ryerson researchers found Asian-named applicants consistently received fewer calls regardless of the size of the companies involved.

Although a master’s degree can improve Asian candidates’ chances of being called, it does not close the gap and their prospects don’t even measure up to those of Anglo applicants with undergraduate qualifications.

Compared to applicants with Anglos names, Asian-named applicants with all-Canadian qualifications had 20.1 per cent fewer calls from organizations with 500 or more employees, and 39.4 per cent and 37.1 per cent fewer calls, respectively, from medium-sized and small employers.

Source: Ottawa pilots ‘name-blind’ recruitment to reduce ‘unconscious bias’ in hiring | Toronto Star

How do the feds track diversity of appointments? – Policy Options

My latest, analyzing what PCO ATIP documents reveal about their tracking of GiC diversity, with my usual series of charts, including 25 year series data with respect to women’s representation:

As I have been taking a closer look at diversity in Governor in Council and judicial appointments, the gaps in the available data have become much clearer. Documents I received under the Access to Information Act revealed that while the Privy Council Office (PCO) has been systematically tracking representation of women and French/English speakers in these appointments, there has been limited tracking with respect to the other employment equity groups, that is, Indigenous peoples, visible minorities and persons with disabilities.

A number of the documents appear to reveal a certain scramble to prepare this data for the incoming Liberal government.

Source: How do the feds track diversity of appointments? – Policy Options

New task force aims for diverse public service where everyone feels welcome

tbs-ee-2015-analysis-007Above slide shows how diversity has changed 2008-15 for executives, slide below for non-executives.

tbs-ee-2015-analysis-006Would be interesting to see the agenda and how it evolves over time, particularly expanding diversity beyond the four employment equity groups:

It’s important not only for the federal public service to be comprised of a fair representation of Canada’s various kinds of people, but also that these employees feel comfortable in their surroundings, says the head of Canada’s largest public service union.

Robyn Benson, president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), said this is among the reasons the Joint Union/Management Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion has been established.

“We, as a union, have great concerns about our workplaces and whether the workplaces are safe for our members, whether or not they are harassment-free, whether or not there is violence in the workplace,” she said. “We wanted to make sure we were part of ensuring that the workplace was safe.”

She added: “While we strive to hire individuals who fall within the equity groups (aboriginals, visible minorities, people with disabilities, and women), you need to not just hire them; you need to provide a workplace where they are safe, where there is no harassment, where there is no violence, where they can be engaged in all levels of the public service, and certainly where there’s accommodation for people with disabilities.”

The new task force includes representation from the following unions: PSAC, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE), and the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO). It also has members from management of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Correctional Services, Public Safety, Agriculture, and Public Services, as well someone from the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada (APEX).

Larry Rousseau, PSAC’s vice-president for the national capital region and co-chair of the task force’s steering committee, echoed the idea that it’s not just about quotas, but making sure those working for the government are comfortable in their surroundings.

“The way to make sure that people feel respected is that they feel included in the processes, in the decision-making, and just the overall work of the public service,” he said. “It’s one thing to have diversity in the workforce. It’s what you do with it that is going to be very, very important.”

Margaret Van Amelsvoort-Thoms, the Treasury Board’s executive director of people management and the other co-chair of the task force’s steering committee, said: “We want every employee to be able to bring their whole self to work, and so [the task force] is the strategy that says, ‘How do we do that and make this an inclusive workplace.’ ”

Mr. Rousseau said one of the task force’s objectives will be defining what diversity is. The federal government already has policies intended to ensure that women, aboriginals, visible minorities, and people with disabilities are adequately represented in the public service. He said preventing discrimination and harassment of people in the LGBTQ community is another issue that has emerged as something all employers should strive for.

Ms. Van Amelsvoort-Thoms added that other demographic factors, such as age, where people are from geographically, and their family structure, can also be part of the conversation about diversity.

The task force was modelled on the Mental Health Joint Task Force that was established in March 2015 under the former Conservative government and continues to function.

Ms. Benson described the roots of this newer Task Force on Diversity: “[Treasury Board President Scott] Brison and I had a discussion several, several months ago about the work around diversity and inclusion. We thought it would be good to construct committees that look like our Mental Health [Task Force],” she said, adding that the Mental Health Task Force “has worked really well.”

While the government didn’t officially announce the Task Force on Diversity until late November, it’s been quietly in operation since September.

Ms. Van Amelsvoort-Thoms said part of the work so far has been doing an “environment scan” of what various employers, in both the private and public sectors, are doing in terms of diversity and inclusiveness. She said the federal government is behind some sectors in its approach to this issue, while it’s ahead of others.

Mr. Rousseau made note of the technology sector, which he said during the 1990s boom years realized the practical benefits of staff diversity and how it brings an array of different perspectives to achieving business goals.

Source: New task force aims for diverse public service where everyone feels welcome – The Hill Times – The Hill Times

Black or white? In Brazil, a panel will decide for you

While the policy intent was understandable, implementation is another matter. Having officials develop an assessment table was bound to end up like this (like the history categorizing Blacks by their percentage of Black bloodline):

Public-service jobs in Brazil pay significantly better than private-sector ones and come with a host of generous benefits such as meal and transport allowances; workers are rarely fired and can retire at age 55 with large pensions. Competition, consequently, is fierce. Candidates must pass a gruelling exam that some study for and take repeatedly for five or six years.

Until August of this year, the quota system relied on candidates’ self-identification of their race. That system was being abused, by white people claiming to be mixed-race (although researchers estimate that no more than 5 per cent of applicants were lying).

Under pressure by some advocates from the black community, the government decided the solution was “commissions of verification” – tribunals that would evaluate each candidate. Guidelines from the Ministry of Planning said that panels should consider only physical attributes: “The forms and criteria for verifying the veracity of self-declaration should only consider the phenotypic aspects of the candidate, which will be checked in the presence of the candidate.”

That means that a panel of assessors (three, five or seven people) would look at each candidate and decide if their appearance matched their self-declared race.

Last August, officials in Para, Ms. Chaves’s state, released a chart of criteria for investigators to use, with a point system for physical characteristics such as “lips: thick,” “gums: pink,” “hair: frizzy.” It caused such an uproar that it was hastily withdrawn. But no information has been disclosed about what criteria examiners are using instead. Some tribunals work purely from physical appearance; some panelists apparently see race as more than that and ask candidates about their experience of discrimination, or their families.

The end result, frequently, is confusion. Ms. Chaves has no idea how the three people who made up her tribunal concluded she was white.

Eduardo Sobral, 30, a geologist who says he is mixed-race, was rejected for a reserved position with the Ministry of Planning in Brasilia. He was examined by video-conference, then asked about his “day-to-day life as a brown person.” He replied that it was “normal,” the interview ended and he was rejected. He is suing the ministry.

Rodrigo Campos, an electrician in the central state of Minas Gerais who says he is black, never even got before the assessors: They rejected him based on photos they asked him to submit. Meanwhile Igor Anatoli, a mixed-race police officer from Rio who is trying to join the diplomatic corps, went before a panel of seven in Brasilia in September; they chatted at length about his family and his experience of prejudice and ruled that he is, as he had declared, black.

Source: Black or white? In Brazil, a panel will decide for you – The Globe and Mail

Apple’s executive ranks are still overwhelmingly white and male – Recode

The latest diversity reports from Apple and Microsoft:

Even tech companies with a commitment to boosting the diversity of their workforce are finding gains hard to come by.

A case in point is Apple.

The iPhone maker released new data Monday night showing that the company’s highest ranks remain even more white and male than the company as a whole.

Just 20 of Apple’s top 107 executives are women, according to a government filing, while only five are from underrepresented minority groups (defined as black, Hispanic/Latino, Native American or Hawaiian/Pacific Islander). Another 14 executives are Asian, while the remaining 88 are white.

Those numbers are roughly unchanged from a year ago.

In the next layer of management, women made up 27 percent of the workforce. More than 65 percent of those managers and mid-level executives are white, 23 percent are Asian, with just 11 percent from underrepresented minority groups and 1 percent who define themselves as multiracial. As with the executive ranks, those numbers are little different than they were in 2015.

The data is included in a form known as the EEO-1, which companies must file with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Even while publicly sharing the data, Apple has said that the EEOC data doesn’t reflect how the company itself breaks down its workforce, and is not the way it measures its diversity progress.

In August, Apple released its last public numbers, noting that 32 percent of its workforce was female and 22 percent of employees were from underrepresented minorities. The numbers, which represented slight increases from 2015, reflect global hiring for women, and only the U.S. with regard to underrepresented minorities.
Apple HR executive Denise Young Smith, speaking with Recode's Ina FriedApple

In terms of new hires, Apple’s figures were higher than its workforce as a whole, with 37 percent being women and 27 percent being from underrepresented minorities. (The data used for both the EEOC and Apple’s companywide diversity report covers the same time period.)

But if Apple’s gains are small, at least it’s moving in the right direction.

Microsoft, by contrast, released figures last week showing that the overall number of women at the company dropped in 2016 for the second year in a row. Microsoft blamed layoffs in its phone unit for the decline. The total number of black and Latino employees at Microsoft did go up compared to last year, but just barely.

And at least Microsoft and Apple continue to share their data. While many tech companies started sharing diversity reports several years ago, many have yet to offer updates this year, and fewer still have shared this year’s EEO-1 filing.

The EEOC, meanwhile, has used aggregate data to highlight that whites, men and Asians are overrepresented in high-tech jobs, while women, blacks and Latinos are less present in the high-tech industry than in the workforce as a whole.

While Apple is ahead of many peers in its percentage of women, and a leader in terms of employing underrepresented minorities, it has not been immune to criticism. Earlier this year, reports from Mic and Gizmodo raised allegations that some corners of Apple were home to a significantly sexist culture.

In an exclusive interview with Recode, Apple HR chief Denise Young Smith said the incidents described in the articles didn’t reflect the Apple she knows, but that the company did investigate, adding that “commensurate actions have been taken.” Such actions can range from an informal conversation to dismissal, and Apple didn’t disclose what actions it took.

Source: Apple’s executive ranks are still overwhelmingly white and male – Recode

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

‘There seems to be a paralysis’: Trudeau government has backlog of more than 300 appointments

Almost a year in, one would expect more vacancies to have been filled, given the overall policy – greater diversity – is clear. But I can also see the wish to ensure that the details of the policy and its implementation are addressed first.

One of the key things to look for is the degree of transparency in political appointments, with comparable employment equity reporting to the public service and federally-regulated sectors (telecoms, banking, transport). Currently for judges, only gender is tracked. For other GiC appointments, while gender has been tracked comprehensively for 25 years (as has official languages), there has been little systemic tracking of the other groups (visible minorities, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities).

And in some cases, there has been backsliding: the GiC appointment index (top view) has less information than previously, requiring more looking at the individual organizations than before.

For my baseline study, see my short ebook, “Because it’s 2015 …” Implementing Diversity and Inclusion, available either in an iPad/Mac version (iBooks) or Windows (pdf) Version.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet have accumulated a backlog of more than 300 appointments that are due to be filled, a CBC News investigation has found.

Almost 20 per cent of governor in council (GIC) appointments, which include roles with Crown corporations, port authorities, agencies and tribunals, are currently vacant or occupied by a Conservative appointee whose term is past its expiry date.

Overall, 170 GIC positions are listed as vacant. Another 116 are past their appointment’s expiry date but the incumbent has been allowed to remain in the role until he or she is either replaced or renewed.

Currently, 61 federally appointed judge positions are vacant, including one seat on the Supreme Court of Canada.

In the Senate, 20 per cent of the 105 seats are empty. The government has pledged to fill the 21 spots “by the end of the year.” Three more senators are due to retire in January.

Taking a toll

In some cases, incumbents have been temporarily renewed only a day or two before their appointments were set to expire because the government had not yet launched the process to find a replacement.

For example, Graham Fraser’s appointment as commissioner of official languages, which was set to expire Sunday, was extended Thursday for two months. The government has yet to issue a job posting to find his successor.

The backlog has taken a toll on the operations of some boards and government bodies.

The CRTC hasn’t been able to hold a planned hearing on French music since November because it doesn’t have the necessary three French-speaking commissioners.

The parole board, where 21 per cent of positions are currently vacant, says it’s being stretched, with its remaining part-time board members putting in additional hours to ensure the work is done.

Alberta judges warned a Senate committee in late September that the 61 vacant judge positions could affect court proceedings, saying the province’s justice system is so backlogged they are now setting trial dates for 2018. Last week, an Edmonton judge stayed a murder charge against Lance Matthew Regan, citing delays in bringing the case to trial caused in part by the backlog in Alberta’s justice system.

‘Overwhelmed’

Liberal government insiders privately point to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Privy Council Office as the source of the problem, saying “the centre” has been “overwhelmed.”

The government is confident the problem will be resolved soon. It says the backlog was caused in part by the decision to overhaul the appointments process and bring in a more open, balanced, merit-based system. The new system is now up and running and vacancies are being filled, officials say.

Source: ‘There seems to be a paralysis’: Trudeau government has backlog of more than 300 appointments – Politics – CBC News

Sean Fine of the Globe focusses on the impact on the court system:

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is considering his first appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada – a vacancy became available on Sept. 1 – the shortage of lower-court judges may make it difficult for some jurisdictions to meet constitutional guarantees of timely criminal trials.

In July, the Supreme Court of Canada set a deadline of 30 months in superior courts (such as the Court of Queen’s Bench) from the time a charge is laid until the trial is completed. In Calgary, the wait is now just short of 15 months – 63 weeks – to schedule a trial of five days or more. (It can take months from the time a charge is laid until a trial is scheduled.) The situation is about the same in Nova Scotia, where the Supreme Court is now booking criminal trials of five days or more for next fall.

Civil trials, too, face long delays, which Chief Justice Wittmann said is especially hard on families seeking resolutions to legal problems. The lead time to schedule a civil or family trial of five days or more in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Calgary is now 138 weeks – bookings are being accepted for April, 2019. The Court of Queen’s Bench is Alberta’s top trial court, and it has seven vacancies and 59 full-time judges in office, according to the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs. The province’s Court of Appeal has two vacancies and 12 full-time judges in office.

In Nova Scotia, the Supreme Court (the top trial court) has five vacancies and 31 full-time judges in office. The Court of Appeal has one vacancy and seven judges in office.

“On rare occasions in the past we’ve had to cancel matters. However, this is the first time we’ve had to send out multiple letters the month before suggesting that trial dates be rescheduled due to the shortage of judges,” Jennifer Stairs, the communications director for the Nova Scotia judiciary, told The Globe in an e-mail.

“That’s very difficult on the lawyers and on the litigants who are anxious to have their matters heard.”

B.C. has eight vacancies and 82 judges in office on its Supreme Court, and three open spots and 12 judges in office on its appeal court. Five-day criminal trials are available in January, 2017, while five-day civil trials, other than motor-vehicle actions, can be booked from August, 2017, onward. Dates for five-day motor-vehicle action trials are fully booked for the next 18 months, according to Superior Courts communications officer Bruce Cohen.

The Canadian Bar Association, representing the country’s legal profession, is also upset at the delays in appointing judges.

“We are very concerned. Ongoing judicial vacancies have created significant delays in the court system. These delays have a serious impact on separating families and their children, on criminal justice, on business in Canada,” CBA president René Basque said in an e-mail.

Canadian courts languish as vacancies on bench remain unfilled