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.


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

For Affirmative Action, Brazil Sets Up Controversial Boards To Determine Race: NPR

Orwellian. Self-identification is the only way, even if it risks some “gaming:”

Siqueira considers himself to be mixed race, known in Brazil as pardo, or brown.

“I consider myself to be a very typical Brazilian and I’ve always been very proud of it. In my dad’s family, my grandfather is black, my grandmother has Indian and white roots. And on my mother’s side they are mostly white, mostly Portuguese,” he said.

How he defines himself matters because he was required to self-identify on his application. In 2014, the government introduced a quota system for federal jobs. The affirmative action regulations require that 20 percent of all government positions be filled by people of color – either black or mixed race.

The problem came once the announcement of the appointments was made public.

People started investigating the background of who had gotten the slots. They got into Siqueira’s Instagram, his Facebook feed and they sent his personal photos to the government.

“A lot of people sent pictures saying, ‘Oh, this dude is white, he’s a fraud,'” Siqueira says.

Job Offer Put On Hold

People basically said he was gaming the system, lying about who and what he is to get one of the jobs. The backlash shocked him. He said he hadn’t even considered the quota system. He just put down what he considered himself to be.

But the controversy wouldn’t go away. The government was getting so much flack that it put Siqueira’s offer on hold.

And then the government went a step further.

In response to the outcry, they set up a kind of race committee to review his case, and a few others.

He was asked to present himself to a panel of seven diplomats in a room who would decide if he was really Afro-Brazilian, as he claimed.

They asked him a bunch of questions such as, “Since when do you consider yourself to be a person of this color?”

And then it was over.

What they decided was that he was not pardo, or mixed race. No explanation. No discussion. So he decided to sue.

And that’s when this story gets even more complicated. Because in order to “prove” that he was Afro-Brazilian, his lawyers needed to find some criteria. He went to seven dermatologists who used something called the Fitzpatrick scale that grades skin tone from one to seven, or whitest to darkest. The last doctor even had a special machine.

“Apparently on my face I’m a type four. Which would be like Jennifer Lopez or Dev Patel, Frida Pinto or John Stamos. On my limbs I would be type five, which is Halle Berry, Will Smith, Beyonce and Tiger Woods,” he said.

Like most people he has different skin tones on different parts of his body. But in none of these tests did he come out as lighter skinned.

He says the whole thing struck him as completely bizarre because identity, he says, is made up of more than just physical characteristics.

But this wasn’t just an isolated incident.

Mandatory For All Government Jobs

A few weeks ago, these race tribunals were made mandatory for all government jobs. In one state, they even issued guidelines about how to measure lip size, hair texture and nose width, something that for some has uncomfortable echoes of racist philosophies in the 19th century.

Source: For Affirmative Action, Brazil Sets Up Controversial Boards To Determine Race : Parallels : NPR

Feds prefer proactive take on pay equity: document

Will be interesting to see where the Government takes this in its report back to the Pay Equity Committee October 7:

The federal government would prefer a proactive approach to ensuring that men and women get equal pay for work of equal value, a newly released memo suggests, but officials expressed some caution over how much it could accomplish.

“The proactive approach is generally considered to be more effective at addressing systemic wage discrimination,” said a backgrounder on pay equity legislation provided to Labour Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk on Feb. 1.

“It is less adversarial than a complaints-based approach, with the focus being on assisting employers to comply with the law rather than placing the burden on a complainant to build a case of discrimination,” said the memo from the deputy minister.

The Canadian Press obtained the document through access-to-information legislation.

The document was prepared ahead of an NDP motion that called on the House of Commons to strike a special committee on pay equity to come up with a plan to adopt a proactive pay equity regime, rather than leaving individual women who believe they are being treated unfairly to file complaints.

The motion passed with support from the Liberals and the committee released its report in June.

The report recommended doing away with the controversial Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act brought in by the previous Conservative government.

It also called on the government draft proactive pay equity legislation within 18 months — with the NDP asking for it by the end of this year.

It also urged the government to accept the overall direction — and majority of recommendations — from the 2004 report of the federal Pay Equity Task Force.

Neither Mihychuk nor anyone from the Department of Employment and Social Development was available Monday for an interview.

In an emailed statement, departmental spokesman Josh Bueckert pointed to what the minister said during her May 3 appearance before the committee: “Our government’s goal is to stop this discrimination related to the undervaluation of work traditionally performed by women.”

As for how it plans to do that, the statement said the government will table a comprehensive response to the committee report by Oct. 7.

The briefing note mentions that employers can be taken to task by the Canadian Human Rights Commission without employees or their unions having to file a complaint.

“If an inspector has reasonable grounds to believe that there is gender-based wage discrimination in an establishment, he or she may notify the commission, which can then initiate an investigation. However, there are no known cases of this occurring,” it said.

Barbara Byers, secretary-treasurer of the Canadian Labour Congress, said that should not deter the government from taking a proactive approach.

“Human rights commissions don’t necessarily go out and look for that work, because they’ve got other things they are dealing with as well and they are already understaffed for that,” said Byers.

“If complaint-based was going to work, then quite frankly it would have worked by now,” she said.

New Democrat MP Sheila Malcolmson, who put forward the motion on pay equity, said she hopes the Liberals follow through quickly.

“This is a policy that they can bring in which actually puts some action to their words on gender equality,” said Malcolmson, the status of women critic for her party.

“If they don’t leave a legislative record like this, they will have failed in their commitment around this being the gender parity Parliament,” she said.

Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu, who sat on the special committee, supports proactive legislation.

“Where there was the most success in getting equitable pay, it was legislated,” she said.

Source: Feds prefer proactive take on pay equity: doc

Watchdog condemns lack of diversity in CSIS senior staff

Military, RCMP, CSIS.001Valid observations but in the context of other security-related agencies, the RCMP and the Canadian Forces, CSIS looks good as indicated in the above chart:

The federal government’s human-rights watchdog has repeatedly admonished the Canadian Security Intelligence Service over a lack of diversity in its upper echelons, according to newly disclosed reports.

Records obtained by The Globe and Mail show that the Canadian Human Rights Commission has conducted two employment equity audits of CSIS over the past decade and, on both occasions, the spy agency was criticized because it had not hired a sufficient number of visible minorities, people with disabilities and indigenous Canadians.

The 2014 and 2011 audits found that none of CSIS’s senior managers were indigenous or visible minorities, and only 17 per cent are women, a decrease of 13 per cent since 2009. “Your organization has a lower overall EE [employment equity] result when compared to separate agencies and is therefore considered to be a less successful employer with respect to EE,” the commission wrote, urging the agency to close gaps in its hiring practices. One of its main challenges, the commission noted, was to increase the diversity of its managerial staff.

Formed three decades ago from a former RCMP intelligence division, CSIS is a $500-million-a-year organization with 3,000 employees. Many of its staff are intelligence officers who work to identify terrorists and other threats to national security. Such work has sometimes led to tensions with indigenous and Muslim groups, who have accused the agency of racial profiling.

The documents, obtained under Access to Information laws, offer a sober assessment of an agency that has at times struggled to attract recruits from varied backgrounds, and sheds new light on the workplace culture of the country’s secretive spy service.

One of the areas in which CSIS exceeded the commission’s targets, which are based on the availability of people from different groups in the work force, is gender equity across its departments. According to a 2014 equity report, 48 per cent of CSIS employees are women, a figure that is above the government average.

And over all, 2 per cent of its employees are indigenous, 3.6 per cent have disabilities and 14.4 per cent are visible minorities. Those numbers are generally representative of the country’s population, but they are slightly below the commission’s targets.

A spokeswoman for CSIS said the agency sees diversity as a “core business strategy,” one that allows its agents to “better understand the demographics of the Canadian communities we protect, therefore better equipping us to collect relevant and accurate intelligence.” The human-rights commission investigates government departments that are less diverse than their peers. Under federal law, every department and agency with at least 500 employees is subject to a review of its work force every three years. If a group of Canadians is not well represented, an audit is done.

The documents also suggest visible minorities and indigenous people were sometimes undervalued within CSIS. Members of those groups faced “attitudinal barriers” from colleagues and did not always receive the training needed to “advance to a higher level either due to lack of time, funding or management support,” a report said.

Source: Watchdog condemns lack of diversity in CSIS senior staff – The Globe and Mail