Employment Equity in the Public Service: 2018-19 Numbers and report

The latest employment equity report shows a slight uptick in representation compared to the previous year of women EX (from 49.1 to 50.2 percent, visible minorities (all, from 15.7 to 16.7 percent and EX, from 10.1 to 11.1 percent) and Aboriginal (Indigenous) EX (from 3.7 to 4.1 percent).

This year report provides breakdowns within each group (intersectionality):

  • Women: 17.0 percent visible minorities, 5.8 percent Indigenous
  • Visible Minorities: 55.6 percent women, 2.4 percent Indigenous
  • Indigenous: 61.5 percent women, 7.7 percent visible minorities

TBS is also providing sub-group info, with the chart below summarizing the breakdown among visible minority groups:

Historical charts below:

Source:  Annual Report Publication

Public service hiring up, but report finds manager, employee concerns around feds’ new staffing process

As I am in the process of analyzing the impact on visible minority appointments of the 2016 New Appointment Policy (providing more flexibility for non-advertised staffing processes), found this coverage of the PSC annual report of interest:

Although a recent government report shows fairly substantial growth in the federal public service, as well as an increase in the promotion rate within the service for the sixth year in a row, there are concerns among both managers and employees around a new staffing policy—as well as perceptions of fairness around hiring.

The Public Service Commission tabled its 2018-19 annual report on Feb. 6, which found that hiring was up 4.6 per cent across the public service with close to 60,000 hires in the fiscal year. Slightly more than 8,000 of those hires were from the federal student work experience program, with slightly less than 5,400 from the post-secondary co-op/internship program.

But the report also found that according to a “staffing and non-partisanship” survey (SNPS), 87.9 per cent of managers find a new staffing policy framework “burdensome,” that only 53.8 per cent of employees say people hired in their unit can do their job, and only 46.4 per cent of employees viewed staffing as fair.

“We weren’t surprised that the results were a little bit lower than we would want them to be, said Patrick Borbey, president of the Public Service Commission in an interview with The Hill Times.“There was a lot of change in the system and there was still a fair amount of confusion or adjusting to the new reality, both on the part of employees, as well as on the part of managers.”

The New Direction in Staffing (NDS) was introduced in 2016, which the government called“the most significant change to the staffing system we have seen in over 10 years.”

Designed to promote more variety in the hiring processes, “agile approaches” to staffing and policies, allow for more room for managers to apply their own judgment when staffing, as well as “increase focus on outcomes, including the quality of the person hired, and less on process,” the report highlights how the NDS reduces times to staff, makes it easier for candidates to find public service jobs, as well as modernizing recruitment tools like GC Jobs.

“As you can see in the results, managers continue to think that the staffing system is too complicated, too lengthy,” said Mr. Borbey. “However, when it comes to merit, managers had a very different perspective on the issue than employees, because they felt that by and large, the people that they were hiring did meet the requirements of the position.”

“So it’s a bit in the eye of the beholder,” said Mr. Borbey. “Obviously, if you’re an employee who was hoping for a promotion and didn’t get it, then you might question as to whether the process was fair, transparent and led to merit.”

“But one of the things that we’ve we did a little bit more digging on is to make a link between employees’ perception and managers being comfortable in terms of applying the flexibilities of the new regime and communicating both their intentions as well as the results to employees,” said Mr. Borbey. “And we did see a certain correlation—those departments where managers seem to be more comfortable with the change, and perhaps could speak more completely about their intentions and the justifications behind their results, their departments had higher levels of satisfaction on the part of employees.”

Mr. Borbey said he thinks it’s a question of a transition within the system, as well as providing the right tools to mangers to be able to properly plan and communicate their intentions and decisions around staffing.

“The other thing that we wanted to check, is whether there was, in fact, a change in terms of merit being applied in staffing processes,” said Mr. Borbey, which prompted a system-wide compliance audit following the survey.

“The results that we got were extremely high,” said Mr. Borbey. “[There] was a 95 plus per cent compliance rate, and in those cases where there was not compliance with merit, at the end of the day, we’re down to errors of interpretation on the part of managers, particularly when it came to applying preference for Canadian citizens or for veterans.

“And so we felt that that was a pretty good result that indicated that, notwithstanding the perceptions, merit is being preserved across the system.”

Mr. Borbey said the government will be conducting their next round of surveys in the spring, and said they’ve taken steps to modify the survey to better capture more information that will be valuable for future planning.

Stan Lee, vice-president of oversight and investigations with the public service commission, said one of the things they observed in the previous survey, was that there was an association between organizations that had hiring managers who understood NDS and the perception of fairness.”

“So an organization that has hiring managers that understand the new direction in staffing really well generally have employees who have a higher perception of merit in the staffing system,” said Mr. Lee. “We were interested by this, so we added an additional question to employees, as well as to hiring managers, and one of the questions we want to ask hiring managers, is whether they feel comfortable explaining their staffing decisions to their employees.”

“The reason why we’re adding this, is because hiring managers who have a poor understanding of NDS may have difficulties explaining their staffing decision to employees, and employees walk away unsatisfied or dissatisfied with the answers that they’ve been provided,” said Mr. Lee. “We’re going to be asking employees as well whether or not they believe that job opportunities are well communicated in their organization, and whether they feel they are being kept well-informed by their hiring managers regarding staffing decisions.”

Mr. Borbey also noted that the government uses investigations as a way to provide the commission with a sense of how satisfied or unsatisfied people are with the staffing system.

“Notwithstanding the important changes we made to the system a couple of years ago, we haven’t seen a big bump in terms of the number of cases that are referred to us with allegations that either managers or individuals committed fraud or mistakes or other issues related to the staffing system,” said Mr. Borbey. “We’re monitoring those results as well to make sure that again, we make whatever changes we can if we’re seeing any trends from an investigations perspective.”

Perception of staffing fairness highest in Northern regions

According to the SNPS, managers who indicated that the administrative process to staff positions in their organizations is burdensome was highest in both Quebec (excluding the National Capital Region) and in British Columbia, at 92 per cent each.

However, 62 per cent of managers in the National Capital Region (NCR) and in Quebec (excluding the NCR) indicated that the NDS has improved staffing in their organization, with managers in British Columbia coming in at the low end at 43 per cent.

In terms of fairness, employees in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, 58 per cent of employees surveyed indicated that staffing activities are conducted fairly in their work unit, compared to 37 per cent in Ontario (excluding the NCR)—and 46 per cent public service-wide.

According to the commission’s report, as of March 31, 2019, hiring in all regions outside of the National Capital Region combined increased by 6.2 per cent, and the total population (indeterminate, term, casual and student) was up across all regions except Nunavut.

Despite this growth according to the report, the regional population as a percentage of the workforce has been in decline, from 56 per cent five years ago to 53 per cent in 2018-19.

In 2018–19, 69.1 per cent of all external indeterminate and term hires from advertised processes were of applicants from outside the National Capital Region. This share has been steadily decreasing since 2013–14, when it was 79 per cent.

Source: Public service hiring up, but report finds manager, employee concerns around feds’ new staffing process

Employment Equity in the Public Service of Canada for Fiscal Year 2017 to 2018

My updated charts reflecting the latest government EE report. Most noteworthy is the small downtick in visible minority and Indigenous executive numbers.

The report does not provide an explanation for this decline. This may be due in part to the greater use of non-advertised processes (see Non-advertised appointments on the rise in the public service, PSC data show).

I am awaiting for the release of  PSC data contrasting advertised/non-advertised/unknown staffing processes for 2018-19 to ascertain whether two-year data suggesting this impact of the new appointment policy is confirmed with three years data:

Source:  Annual Report Publication

Annual Report on the operation of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act: Building a diverse and inclusive society

The 2014-15 report was released discretely (no press release, no announcement), given that it covers the period of the previous government. The only changes that could be made were largely cosmetic in nature.

The sub-title changes to Building a diverse and inclusive society, and Minister Joly picks up on the now standard language:

In Canada, we are recognized worldwide for our successful approach to multiculturalism, which focuses on building a diverse and inclusive society by promoting and encouraging awareness, understanding and respect for the many different cultures that contribute to the economic and social wealth of our country. While the Government of Canada sets the stage through the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, it is thanks to the full participation of our provincial and territorial partners, stakeholders and the Canadian public that we are able to find unity in our diversity and to learn from one another.

…As Canadians, we know that our country is made stronger because of our diversity, not in spite of it. By working together, we are advancing respect and appreciation for multiculturalism across the country while fostering a sense of inclusion and belonging in all Canadians.

In contrast, the previous report, consigned to Former Minister Kenney, reflects a different tone:

Our government is committed to promoting integration, intercultural understanding, peaceful pluralism as well as religious freedom—in Canada and abroad. I have been pleased to meet with many community organizations and international partners over the past year to advance our values and goals.

…By working together, we are making strides in celebrating our multicultural heritage, strengthening the value of citizenship and ensuring the successful integration of newcomers to Canada.

One of the disconnects or ironies is of course that the period under question, and thus the report, reflects the language, approach and activities for that period, with only really the Minister’s message reflecting the change. I was in a similar position when Minister Kenney had to sign-off on a report that largely reflected the priorities and language of the previous government.

No where is this more apparent than in the report’s vaunting of the changes to citizenship, both legislative and administration, many of which are being undone by the current government.

The other striking aspect is what appears to be under-spending in multiculturalism grants and contributions, $3.9 million, compared to the $8.5 million indicated in the DPR. This may reflect ongoing financial commitments in multi-year projects (which next year’s DPR will indicate).

Annual Report on the operation of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act: Building a diverse and inclusive society