Order of Canada 2013-22 Diversity Analysis

For the last ten years, I have been tracking the diversity of Order of Canada appointments, from the perspective of gender, visible minorities and Indigenous peoples, along with regional and occupational backgrounds.

In many ways, these appointments are emblematic of other recognition and award programs in that they generally reflect the views and perspectives of those nominating and, in the case of the Order, a medium and longer-term track record and contribution in contrast to awards programs focussed on new talent.

In many ways, this results in an understandable backward looking perspective. Moreover, unlike employment equity programs where managers are empowered to factor diversity in hiring and promotion decisions, awards programs have less latitude to do so as they have to make their assessments based upon the nominations received.

The Governor General’s Office has over the years made several attempts to encourage more diverse nominations, including funding under the Conservative Government in 2015 to encourage more nominations for more business and regional nominees. The data suggests that these efforts had limited effect in the longer term.

The most striking findings of this analysis are that women appointees average around one third of the total, ranging from a low of 29 percent (2019, 2022) to a high of 46 percent in 2015 and visible minority appointees have increased from a low of 4 percent in 2014 to an exceptional high of 13 percent in 2021 before reverting to a more typical 7 percent. The two groups that are over-represented in comparison of their share of the population are men and, more recently, Indigenous peoples in 2021 and 2022 at eight percent.

Of note, while visible minority appointments are 71 percent men, Indigenous peoples appointments are equally balanced between men and women.

Occupation data ranges from categories that are clear such as arts, health and sports, and those that have less clear “boundaries” such as business and philanthropy and I have tried to be as consistent as possible.

Advisory council correction.

For those interested in the nomination process and the review committee the links are: Nominate someone, Advisory Council. The Advisory Council has gender balance, 20 percent visible minorities and 10 percent Indigenous. In terms of the Office of the Governor General (the public servants) which review nominations for the Advisory Council, 14.9 percent are visible minorities with the number of Indigenous public servants is 5 or less (out of a total of 141).

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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