Why some people say Peel police diversity and inclusion committee isn’t enough to address anti-Black racism

I have sympathy with having an overall diversity and inclusion committee, with sub-committees for specific issues or communities as needed, to ensure better understanding of the both the commonalities and the differences needed to ensure more effective policies and programs. As well, care needs to be taken to ensure a variety of perspectives is heard in such consultations and discussions, including both activists and pragmatists:

Contrary to the wishes of many residents in Mississauga and Brampton to create an anti-Black racism advisory panel, the Peel Police Services Board (PPSB) has decided to move forward with a diversity and inclusion (D&I) committee instead.

Members voted to move ahead with the general organization, which will have a subcommittee dedicated to the Black community, at the October meeting following calls more than six months ago from local activist David Bosveld and others to create the panel.

In his latest deputation at the same meeting, Bosveld said a specific panel is needed because of “the disparate outcomes, interactions, violence, criminalization, over policing and systemic issues of anti-Black racism” experienced and documented in recent reports and findings from the force.

Board members went back and forth on the pros and cons of a general committee or specific panel, with newest member Martin Medeiros listing one con being other racialized communities may also want their own panel.

“Realistically, we can’t have four or five or six or seven boards; technically, it’s not sound,” he said at the meeting, while adding that choosing what groups get to have their own panels is like “picking winners and losers.”

The original recommendation for the D&I committee said the panel wouldn’t fill any gaps due to anti-racism work done across the region.

In August, the board moved to defer their decision on implementing the specific panel, requesting more information on how the D&I committee would operate and overviews of similar operations at other forces.

Executive director Rob Serpe delivered a report two months later that said the committee would “provide its advice and recommendations to the board,” on issues and policies “relating to system racism, equity, diversity and inclusion as well as issues relating to anti-Black racism.”

But as Dr. Tope Adefarakan, an equity, diversity and inclusion expert, explains, a D&I committee (even with a sub-committee), is not nearly enough to address specific issues of anti-Black racism within the realm of policing.

To understand why, the relationship between police and Black communities needs to be looked at historically.

“If you think of the history of policing, it’s about patrols who catch Africans that were enslaved,” she said.

Add to that the many stereotypes and racist tropes applied to Black individuals involving law enforcement, and this leads to a historical legacy impacting one community.

“Black communities are being seen as inherently criminal. That ideology is deeply embedded in policing in and of itself,” said Adefarakan.

She argues those views are uniquely applied to Black communities, saying “criminality or violence don’t get attached to other communities in the same way.”

This can be seen in countless reports on policing, including a recent study in Peel that showed Black individuals were 3.5 times more likely to be met with force from police than any other race.

“Black people are seen as the most threatening, the most dangerous, the most criminal, hence the over representation,” she said.

The report alone should be enough for members to implement the panel, since it echoes the same message Black residents have been talking about for years, said Adefarakan.

A panel would also be able to discuss solutions or make recommendations directly related to the report and work on other areas of policing that aren’t often looked at such as the impact on Black women, children and LGBTQI+ members.

But perhaps most topical is what Adefarakan says are the “beginnings of a shift” among the general public in understanding Black people’s experiences with police, following the murder of George Floyd.

“People in the Black community have been talking about police brutality for a long time,” which has only recently trickled into the greater population, she said.

Anu Radha Verma, who made a deputation at the August board meeting, said creating a general panel completely misunderstands Bosveld’s multiple asks and the “broader demands” from groups and individuals in Peel.

“The case is already made in the data that we need to actually talk about tackling anti-Black racism. One thing that we know, as a non-Black, south Asian person is, when we can address anti-Black racism within our community in Peel, it benefits everyone, and that should be justification enough,” she said.

She also pointed out there are no Black members on the board, and none of the current members have any skills or expertise on addressing anti-Black racism, gaps the specific panel could fill.

Also at the board meeting was Dr. Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, professor at the University of Toronto, who, when asked his opinion on the formation of a general committee, said “when the issues facing Black people are subsumed under diversity, which includes sexual orientation, religion, race and ethnicity, which are different, then those concerns do often get lost.”

Despite these multiple deputations, lengthy discussions and expert opinions, no such panel will be created, with Bosveld saying his request and other concerns from the Black community have been ignored.

“The issues faced by Black communities on policing are very specific and troubling and need to be addressed as such. How that cannot be obvious is beyond me,” he said.

Source: Why some people say Peel police diversity and inclusion committee isn’t enough to address anti-Black racism

Laurentian Bank CEO says diversity targets part of financial package for bank leaders

Money talks:

Laurentian Bank of Canada chief executive Rania Llewellyn says that early in her career, she was told by a manager that he was looking for a man to fill a job she was vying for.

“I remember, there was a vacant job. I was ready to go for it. I was trained,” said Llewellyn at a webcast event on Monday at The Empire Club of Canada, in a celebration of International Women’s Day.

“And he said, ‘I’m looking for a man and I’m looking for someone who’s older.’ And this was going to be my new boss. Right? So, I would say there’s lots of those little stories across along the way.”

Llewellyn’s speech came on the heels of a report from DBRS Morningstar, which found that the six largest Canadian banks score better than the Australian and U.S. bank averages on attracting, retaining and developing women into senior leadership positions.

But DBRS Morningstar also says BMO, Scotiabank, CIBC, National Bank, RBC and TD are on average falling behind the three large Australian banks on the issue of gender pay equity.

Llewellyn, who in October became the first woman to lead a major Canadian bank, said diversity and inclusion targets should be written into the financial packages that go to the board, just as there are financial targets for leaders at the bank.

Llewellyn said companies setting such targets should focus not only on recruiting diverse talent, but also on retaining women as they move up the ranks.

“That’s one thing I introduced at Laurentian. All of my leaders have targets on their scorecards, in terms of diversity targets. But more importantly, I’ve actually included in our financial package that goes to the board,” Llewellyn said.

Linda Seymour, chief executive at HSBC Bank Canada, also said on Monday that International Women’s Day had her “reflecting on what it took to get here.”

“I was recently asked if I had to fight to break through the glass ceiling. It wasn’t that I had to fight harder than my male colleagues,” Seymour wrote in a LinkedIn post. “It was that I had to navigate harder – to make sure I was heard, to constantly network, to demonstrate when I was not only as qualified, but more qualified than my male colleagues.”

Seymour wrote that she sees having a gender-balanced board and executive committee at HSBC Bank Canada as a business advantage, but called on leaders to generally be more open to being challenged by employees on diversity and inclusion progress.

The report from DBRS Morningstar said that the gender wage gap has been consistent for about 20 years for workers between 25 to 54 in finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing. But the report said that disruptions to the labour force caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may be behind a slight widening of the gap recently. Indeed, across industries, the female participation rate in Canada’s labour force fell during the pandemic, the report said.

Llewellyn said child-care infrastructure, flexible work arrangements in terms of time and hours, upskilling programs and early childhood financial literacy programs will be key to helping women recover from the effects of the pandemic.

“I think it’s systemic throughout our culture as well. I have a daughter and it starts very early on, in terms of some of these systemic biases in the system,” she said. “Words matter and how people behave and how we model is absolutely important.”

Source: Laurentian Bank CEO says diversity targets part of financial package for bank leaders

Trudeau government considers legislative changes to make public service more diverse

Of note. The most significant aspects IMO are:

  • ongoing improvements in data (the disaggregated data for visible minorities, Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities is incredibly useful);
  • the push for increased diversity among executives is buttressed by the DM performance commitment on diversity and inclusion;
  • review of the Employment Equity Act and representation benchmarks (review of the Act will likely generate some debate from all quarters although it’s approach of self-identification and annual reporting has resulted in increased in ongoing increased representation of the EE groups);
  • Review of the Public Service Employment Act and possible amendments to reduce systemic barriers (unclear what that will entail): and,
  • It remains to see how effective the various consultation and related initiatives such as the Centre for Diversity and Inclusion will be in affecting change.

For my analysis of disaggregated data see my What new disaggregated data tells us about federal public service … and What the Public Service Employee Survey breakdowns of visible minority and other groups tell us about diversity and inclusion:

The Trudeau Liberals are eyeing changes to the law governing public service hiring to help make federal departments and agencies more diverse.

They also plan to do further research on the makeup of the federal public service and will try to hire more senior leaders with varied backgrounds.

Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos and his parliamentary secretary, Greg Fergus, are spelling out the priorities today to foster greater diversity, inclusion and accessibility in the public service.

The government says while there has been some progress for Black Canadians, Indigenous Peoples and others who face racial discrimination in the workplace, too many public servants continue to face obstacles.

The Treasury Board Secretariat has begun discussions about the framework for recruitment in the public service and is specifically looking at “possible amendments” to the Public Service Employment Act.

The act is intended to ensure federal hiring is fair, transparent and representative.

The move would complement a review of the Employment Equity Act planned by Labour Minister Filomena Tassi.

The government recently released data that provides more detail about the composition of the public service.

Duclos and Fergus say the annual public service employee survey will help the government identify more precisely where gaps remain and what is needed to improve representation.

The government plans to increase diversity through promotion and recruitment, including introduction of the Mentorship Plus Program to allow departments to offer mentoring and sponsorship opportunities to high-potential employees who might currently face barriers.

The government says although progress will take time, the public service can be a model of inclusion for employers across the country and around the world.

“In time, we will build a public service that is the true reflection of our pluralism and diversity,” Duclos said in a statement.

Just last week, Privy Council Clerk Ian Shugart issued a call to action on anti-racism, equity and inclusion in the public service, setting out federal expectations for current leaders.

The government has also launched the Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, supported by a budget of $12 million, to create an ongoing discussion about change.

“There is much to do before all public servants can feel they truly belong in a public service that values inclusiveness and differences,” Fergus said.

“Outlining these key areas of focus is a key step in taking concrete action.”

Source: Trudeau government considers legislative changes to make public service more diverse

And the TBS announcement of the government’s strategy of January 26:

The public service has long made diversity and inclusion a core value and continuously reflects on the treatment of Black Canadians, Indigenous Peoples, and other individuals who face racial discrimination and other barriers in the workplace, and who are often underrepresented at the most senior levels of the public service. While there has been progress, too many public servants continue to face obstacles. It is time to close the gaps and eliminate the barriers that remain, ensuring the public service is truly representative of the people it serves.

The President of the Treasury Board, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, along with Greg Fergus, Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, has announced the government’s priorities to foster greater diversity, inclusion and accessibility in the public service. Among these efforts, there are several key initiatives:

Generating and publishing data for a more accurate picture of representation gaps

Already, the government has released disaggregated datasets, providing first‑ever views into the composition of public service employees who self‑identify in Employment Equity sub-groups, such as Black or Métis for example.

The annual Public Service Employee Survey, now underway, will generate data and insights to better understand the workforce at even more detailed levels. The results will help us identify more precisely, in particular demographic or occupational groups for instance, where gaps remain and what actions are required to improve representation. 

Increasing the diversity of the senior leaders of the public service

Departments, supported by the Treasury Board Secretariat, will work to increase diversity among senior leaders of the public service and establish a culture of inclusiveness that will combat racism and address systemic barriers. This includes increasing representation through promotion and recruitment and the introduction of the Mentorship Plus Program to allow departments to offer mentoring and sponsorship opportunities to high-potential employees who may currently face barriers. 

Ensuring appropriate benchmarks

The Treasury Board Secretariat will continue to work closely with partners, which includes supporting Employment and Social Development Canada on the review of the Employment Equity Act, to ensure that the public service applies appropriate benchmarks for diversity. 

Addressing systemic barriers

The Treasury Board Secretariat has initiated discussions with key stakeholders about the framework for recruitment in the public service and is specifically looking at possible amendments to the Public Service Employment Act and to support the review the Employment Equity Act, planned by the Minister of Labour.  

In addition to these initiatives, on January 22, 2021, the Clerk of the Privy Council and Head of the Public Service, issued a Call to Action on anti-racism, equity and inclusion in the federal public service. The Call to Action sets out common expectations for leaders to take practical actions that will form the basis for meaningful change.

Engagement, and education will underpin all this work. To that end, the President of the Treasury Board and his Parliamentary Secretary held a roundtable last week with employee communities and stakeholder groups that continue to face barriers to representation and inclusion. And the Government of Canada recently launched the Centre for Diversity and Inclusion. The Centre, supported by a budget of $12M outlined in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, will co-develop initiatives with these communities, leveraging the lived experiences of public servants to foster an ongoing dialogue for positive change. At the same time, the Canada School of Public Service is refreshing its diversity and inclusion curriculum and has launched an Anti-Racism Event Series.

Progress will take time. But concrete steps in these areas will bring the public service closer to its goal: to be more reflective of Canada and a model of inclusion for employers across the country and around the world. 

Source: https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/news/2021/01/government-announces-priorities-for-action-to-increase-diversity-and-inclusion-in-the-public-service.html

Clerk’s Call to action on anti-racism, equity, and inclusion in the Federal Public Service, DM performance commitments

While the call to action is the high level message, the implementation approach is covered by the 2020-21 DM commitments on diversity and inclusion, included below the call.

These are significant given that DM commitments cascade down to all executives, with the strongest one, from a measurement and accountability perspective, being:

Deputies will be required to present a staffing plan demonstrating the rate of hiring and promotions of individuals at the executive and non-executive levels, who self-identify in at least one of the EE groups, that will aim close the gap within the next 4 years, with demonstrable and steady progress made annually starting in 2021.

As the above chart shows, there has been a steady increase in visible minorities and Indigenous peoples representation at both the all employee and EX levels.

I have obtained from TBS disaggregated date for visible minorities and Indigenous peoples covering hirings, promotions and separations for the years 2017-19 and will publish my analysis when complete in a few weeks which will refine the baseline by which to measure the impact of the performance commitment and call to action:

The past several months have precipitated deep reflection on the unjust treatment of Black people, other racialized groups, and Indigenous peoples in our society. As public servants come forward and courageously share their lived experiences, the urgency of removing systemic racism from our institutions and from our culture becomes more evident.

Our leadership across the Public Service must be more diverse. Unless swift action is taken, we will fall short of effectively supporting the Government and serving Canadians. We have an obligation to our employees, and to all Canadians, to do better by ensuring that we are putting the full capacity of our entire pool of talent at the service of Canadians.

Grassroots networks and communities have opened conversations, often reliving their own personal traumas, in an effort to increase our collective awareness and to build paths forward. More data is being disaggregated, helping us to further understand where gaps exist and to inform direction and decisions. Training and new recruitment models are being developed. We are by no means where we want to be and much work still remains, but these efforts across the Public Service are creating a foundation for change.

As we focus on combatting racism, it is not sufficient to simply equip ourselves with knowledge and tools. We must take action in ways we know will be meaningful in addressing all barriers and disadvantages. Being a leader means taking an active role in ending all forms of discrimination and oppression, consciously and constantly challenging our own biases, and creating an environment in which our employees feel empowered and safe to speak up when they witness barriers to equity and inclusion. Inaction is not an option.

With the Accessibility Strategy for the Public Service of Canada, we have seen how concerted, system-wide efforts, together with strong commitment and leadership, can generate necessary momentum. Although much work remains, setting out a plan with concrete actions, bringing the voices of those most impacted to the forefront, and holding ourselves accountable for success is a model worth following.

We must encourage and support the voices that have long been marginalized in our organizations. We must create opportunities where they have long been absent. We must take direct, practical actions to invoke change. This is a true test of leadership, and one we must meet head on. Now.

I am therefore calling on all Public Service leaders to:

  • Appoint Indigenous employees and Black and other racialized employees to and within the Executive Group through career development and talent management
  • Sponsor high-potential Indigenous employees and Black and other racialized employees to prepare them for leadership roles
  • Support the participation of Indigenous employees and Black and other racialized employees in leadership development programs (for example, the Executive Leadership Development Program) and career development services (for example, official language training)
  • Recruit highly qualified candidates from Indigenous communities and Black and other racialized communities from across all regions of Canada

I am further calling on all Public Service leaders to invest in developing inclusive leadership skills and in establishing a sense of belonging and trust for all public servants, as well as those joining us now and in the future, regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation or gender expression by:

  • Committing to personally learning about racism, reconciliation, accessibility, equity and inclusion, and fostering a safe, positive environment where these conversations are encouraged throughout our workplaces
  • Combatting all forms of racism, discrimination and other barriers to inclusion in the workplace by taking action on what we have learned, empowering employees to speak up about bias and oppression, and better equipping managers to address these issues
  • Enabling and advancing the work of grassroots networks and communities within the Public Service by providing necessary resources and bringing them into discussions at senior executive tables
  • Including voices from diverse backgrounds in the identification of systemic racism, discrimination and barriers to inclusion, and the design and implementation of actions to address them
  • Measuring progress and driving improvements in the employee workplace experience by monitoring disaggregated survey results and related operational data (for example, promotion and mobility rates, tenure) and acting on what the results are telling us

This call to action represents specific and meaningful actions. My expectation is that progress will be measured and lessons shared. While senior leaders are accountable, this set of actions demands our collective responsibility – at all levels – and a recognition that the existing equity work underway must continue. We have already seen the value of this work in early implementation of recommendations from reports such as Many Voices One Mind: A Pathway to Reconciliation.

As we are bringing these actions to life, we must also recognize that experiences vary across different regions of Canada, and that interconnected dimensions of identity, such as race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identification and expression, physical or mental ability, and other individual characteristics, often create varying and complex experiences of bias. As persons with visible and invisible disabilities continue to face physical and technological barriers, the approaches we develop must be truly inclusive by also being truly accessible.

Building a diverse, equitable and inclusive Public Service is both an obligation and an opportunity we all share. We must advance this objective together, acting both individually and collectively, and recognizing that our progress will rely on amplifying the voices of those within our organizations to help lead the way. In my role as the Head of the Public Service, I will keep close to the voices of public servants. I am calling on you to do the same.
Ian Shugart
Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet

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And the substance behind the statement:

2020/2021 Deputy Minister Commitments on Diversity and Inclusion 

The Federal Public Service is stronger and most effective when we reflect the diversity of Canada’s populations we serve.  While progress has been made in recent years to achieve gender parity in the Deputy Minister community, there is more progress to be made in increasing representation of Black people and other racialized groups, Indigenous People, and persons with disabilities. At the enterprise level, strong partnerships are in place between departments, the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, the Public Service Commission and the Canada School of Public Service on horizontal initiatives, such as data analysis, training and development programs as well as recruitment.

To further expand on actions meant to tackle racism and improve representation at all levels, the April 1, 2020 Treasury Board Directive on Employment Equity, Diversity and Inclusion requires Deputies to designate a senior official responsible for developing a comprehensive action plan, in collaboration with equity-deserving groups that will explain how barriers to inclusion will be identified, removed and prevented, and that:

  • Establishes a baseline of where the Department is at today;
  • Sets out objectives, to increase representation through recruitment and promotion within the organization and to respond to Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) results related to the perception of harassment and discrimination;
  • Explains how equity-deserving groups are engaged in the plan’s development and will continue to be; and
  • Is updated annually, and results reported publicly.

Targets play an important role in driving organizations to achieve measurable change in advancing diversity and inclusion objectives. As a goal for 2021, departments will consider their Workforce Availability statistics as the floor and not the ceiling with regards to diversity targets.

Deputies will be required to present a staffing plan demonstrating the rate of hiring and promotions of individuals at the executive and non-executive levels, who self-identify in at least one of the EE groups, that will aim close the gap within the next 4 years, with demonstrable and steady progress made annually starting in 2021.

In keeping with the Treasury Board Directive and the Performance Management Program’s Corporate Priorities, Deputies must also add focus on efforts and results to build a more inclusive and diverse workforce. Therefore, they are to select three measures from the list below that will enable their leadership teams to advance measureable change in their organizations. As such, they are encouraged to select these measures from one or more themes that go beyond what is currently being done in their organizations, and recognize the different scope of authority at various executive levels within the organization. In reporting on these commitments, Departmental management teams will need to provide clear and measureable results on what the measures have accomplished in achieving progress to address under-representation.

Changing the Public Service Culture
Establish a culture of inclusiveness that values diversity and will combat racism and address systemic barriers
  • Fostering inclusive leadership by:
    • Ensuring all executives complete anti-racism and unconscious bias training by March 2021; and
    • Engaging senior management tables on anti-racism via facilitated group discussions on unconscious bias and systemic racism to start the de-stigmatization of discussions on racism and particularly anti-Black racism.
  • Providing adequate support by:
    • Ensuring that employee mental health and wellbeing supports are culturally sensitive and adequately tailored to address issues of racism, discrimination and hate in the workplace; and
    • Ensuring departmental Ombudsman Offices are trained and equipped to create safe spaces for employees facing racism or experiencing discrimination. Also, providing concrete tools for employees to respond to micro-aggressions in the workplace.
  • Engaging in dialogue that will de-stigmatize discussions on racism and systemic barriers by:
    • Hosting monthly organizational fireside chats where subject matter experts deliver relevant presentations on racism, ableism or other discrimination-related topics;
    • Developing a value statement on anti-racism and ableism and proactively seeking opportunities to talk about the value of diversity and inclusion;
    • Promoting and supporting the planning of organizational initiatives, celebrations and respectful incorporation of diverse histories and cultures into the workplace; and
    • Frequently meeting departmental employee equity committees and/or networks and inviting representatives of these committees and/or networks to attend meetings of the senior executive on a regular basis in order for a diversity of perspectives to be considered.
Reflecting Diversity and Promoting Inclusion
Increase the representation of Black, other racialized and Indigenous People as well as persons with disabilities within all levels of the organization
  • Actively supporting the recruitment and retention of Black people and other racialized groups, Indigenous People, and persons with disabilities by:
    • Establishing clear targets to increase the representation of Black people and other racialized groups, Indigenous People, and persons with disabilities within all levels of the organization through recruitment, with particular attention to and especially key organizational communities such as human resources and communications;
    • Partnering with equity-deserving communities to attract and retain new talent that reflects Canada’s diversity;
    • Reviewing and ensuring that hiring processes are culturally sensitive and driven to remove barriers to appointment for Black people and other racialized groups, Indigenous People, and persons with disabilities;
    • Supporting non-imperative staffing and language training for managerial positions where Black people and other racialized groups, Indigenous People, and persons with disabilities are being considered for appointment.
  • Actively supporting the promotion, sponsorship and career development of Black people and other racialized groups, Indigenous People, and persons with disabilities by:
    • Establishing clear targets to increase the representation of Black employees and other racialized employees, Indigenous employees, and employees with disabilities within all levels of the organization through promotions, with particular attention to and especially key business lines, including human resources and communications;
    • ADM or DM-level sponsoring of Black employees and other racialized employees, Indigenous employees, and employees with disabilities who are identified by their managers as high-potential for executive roles or to advance to the ADM level;
    • Reviewing and ensuring that talent and performance management processes are culturally sensitive and driven to remove systemic barriers to Black employees and other racialized employees, Indigenous employees, and employees with disabilities;
    • Supporting language training for career development of Black employees and other racialized employees, Indigenous employees, and employees with disabilities;
    • Adopting the Aboriginal Leadership Development Initiative (ALDI) operating at Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada / Indigenous Services Canada to identify and cultivate Indigenous talent;
    • Implementing a mentoring program for Black employees and other racialized employees, Indigenous employees, and employees with disabilities within the organization and requiring that all DMs and ADMs shadow mentees that belong to one of the aforementioned equity-deserving groups.
Updating Policy and Programs: Our Future Workplace
Ensure that internal and external policies and programs are inclusive and free of systemic racism and barriers
  • Reviewing and adapting all external public oriented policies and programs to ensure they meet the government requirements for accessibility, equity and transparency by:
    • Identifying and addressing systemic racism and barriers to accessibility and disability inclusion within those policies;
    • Ensuring transparency and accessibility of departmental Grants and Contributions’ programs with specific initiatives targeted at equity-deserving groups and individuals;
    • Reporting on the year over year incremental departmental measures in place to support the intent of s. 10.1, 10.2 and 11 of the Indigenous Languages Act if applicable.
  • Establishing and overseeing a review of all internal systems, policies, programs and initiatives by:
    • Setting up panels to hear how existing programs and policies are being experienced by equity-deserving groups and what they think needs to be addressed;
    • Reviewing HR, Procurement, Communications policies, programs and initiatives using Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) and considering various identity factors including race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identification and expression as well as and mental or physical disability to identify systemic racism and barriers to accessibility and disability inclusion;
    • Ensuring Black employees, other racialized employees, Indigenous employees and employees with disabilities have membership and their view represented at executive tables, advisory councils, occupational health committees and other horizontal committees to foster diverse perspectives on internal policies, programs and operations.
  • Increasing accessibility internally by:
    • Ensuring new systems, including internally developed or procured hardware and software, meet modern accessibility standards;
    • Requiring that any documentation distributed across the organization (e.g. presentations, videos, briefing notes and papers, publications) be accessible and ensuring staff have the necessary training to achieve this goal;
    • Addressing systemic discrimination and barriers to accessibility and disability inclusion within all internal operational policies, programs and initiatives;
    • Developing and communicating proactive, streamlined workplace accommodation processes and practices in the organization, including for those working from home, as well as putting in place the necessary supports for employees and their managers.

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Trudeau appoints seven new senators: Diversity and inclusion in this first batch

The first batch of Senate appointments provide initial confirmation of the Government’s intent to diversity and inclusion in appointments. The chart above contrasts appointments by previous Prime Ministers with those made Friday (former PM Martin made no appointments during his short tenure).

Prime Minister Harper made many visible minority Senate appointments, partially as part of its engagement strategy with new Canadian voters and to address representation gaps elsewhere.

In addition to the large share of women appointed, the presence of one visible minority, one Indigenous person, and one person with disability (although given her accomplishments, hard to consider Chantal Petitclerc as such), the regional balance of these initial appointments include three from Ontario and two each from Quebec and Manitoba.

The real challenge for the Government will be less with respect to these high profile announcements but the more mundane Governor-in-Council appointments that will be made over coming years (about 1,500 positions, currently just over 1,300 filled) and the range of judicial appointments that will emerge in coming years:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is appointing the head of his transition team and six other Canadians to the Senate in the first injection of fresh blood to the scandal-plagued institution in three years, sources said.

Mr. Trudeau is set to announce on Friday that he is calling on Peter Harder, a retired senior bureaucrat and high-level corporate adviser, to be the Liberal government’s leader in the Senate. In addition to Mr. Harder, the six new senators will be:

  • Raymonde Gagné, former president of Manitoba’s Université de Saint-Boniface;
  • Frances Lankin, a minister in the former Ontario NDP government and a national security expert;
  • Ratna Omidvar, an expert on migration and diversity, and executive director at Ryerson University’s Global Diversity Exchange;
  • Chantal Petitclerc, a champion Paralympic wheelchair racer and Team Canada chef de mission at the Rio Paralympic Games;
  • André Pratte, an award-winning editorial writer and federalist thinker from Quebec;
  • Murray Sinclair, a retired Manitoba judge and former chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into residential schools.

Mr. Harder will face the tough task of moving government legislation through a fractious Senate in which the Liberal Party has no control over any other members. Still stinging from a recent spending scandal, the institution is also set to release on Monday a final report on the expenses claims of 14 senators who challenged the Auditor-General’s call for reimbursements.

Mr. Trudeau’s six other appointees will be expected to act as independent-minded legislators, as the Prime Minister aims to eliminate partisanship in the upper chamber and improve its reputation.

The Senate is currently composed of 42 Conservative senators, 26 Liberal senators (who are not part of the Liberal caucus of MPs) and 13 non-aligned senators.

Source: Trudeau set to appoint seven new senators – The Globe and Mail

Women to outnumber men on Ottawa’s influential council of economic advisers

Another sign of the Government’s commitment to diversity and inclusion:

Women will outnumber men on what could turn out to be the most influential group of people around Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

The Canadian Press has learned that Morneau will unveil the federal government’s new advisory council Friday – a team that will help draw up a plan designed to get Canada’s economy out of a rut.

In total, the lineup of business and academic leaders will include eight women and six men.

The advisers, who will be paid a salary of $1, are responsible for helping the government prepare a long-term growth strategy that will be released by the end of the year.

The council members’ names are being made public just days before the release of the Liberal government’s first budget.

The budget, to be tabled next Tuesday, is expected to spell out much of Ottawa’s plans to spend billions of dollars on measures – such as infrastructure – aimed at boosting the country’s productivity and economic growth.

Last month, Morneau announced that the advisory council would be chaired by Dominic Barton, the global managing director of consulting giant McKinsey & Company.

At the time, Morneau said council members would meet with him regularly and provide advice “on concrete policy actions to help create the long-term conditions for economic growth focused on the middle class.”

The council will also include prominent business figures such as Canada Pension Plan Investment Board president and CEO Mark Wiseman and Michael Sabia, CEO of the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, the province’s largest pension fund manager.

Other council members:

  • Elyse Allen, president and CEO, General Electric Canada
  • Katherine Barr, general partner, Mohr Davidow Ventures
  • Jennifer Blanke, chief economist, World Economic Forum
  • Kenneth Courtis, chairman, Starfort Investment Holdings
  • Brian Ferguson, president and CEO, Cenovus Energy Inc.
  • Suzanne Fortier, principal and vice-chancellor, McGill University
  • Carol Anne Hilton, CEO, Transformation
  • Carol Lee, CEO and co-founder, Linacare Cosmotherapy Inc.
  • Christopher Ragan, associate professor of economics at McGill University and chair of the Ecofiscal Commission
  • Angela Strange, partner, Andreessen Horowitz
  • Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS Discovery District

“I look forward to working with the council members, whose diverse backgrounds and impressive expertise will inform our work as we develop and implement a strategy that will build on the foundation we will lay with budget 2016,” Morneau said in a statement.

One visible minority by my count.

Source: Women to outnumber men on Ottawa’s influential council of economic advisers – The Globe and Mail