Auditor general says federal government’s hiring practices lack performance standards

Canada’s auditor general says the Trudeau government has to do a lot more than simply commit to diversity hiring to have an inclusive civil service.

“It’s not enough to achieve the change needed to create a truly inclusive workplace,” Karen Hogan said. “For that change to happen, departments need to actively engage with their racialized employees to meaningfully use the data they have to inform decisions and to hold their leadership accountable for delivering change.”

The auditor released a new report on racial inclusion and diversity policies across six government organizations on Thursday including Canada Border Services Agency, Correctional Services Canada, Public Prosecution Service, Public Safety Canada, the Department of Justice and RCMP.

The report finds there is little to no measurement by the government of performance or progress of its inclusion programming, management is often not evaluated on the implementation of these policies and racialized employees reported feeling the government does not take inclusion, equity and diversity seriously enough.

It also finds that between 2018 and 2020, reports of discrimination by employees stayed the same or did not change significantly.

Hogan said all this needs improvement and it should start with the Treasury Board implementing a system that effectively measures and monitors diversity and inclusion policies across all government departments.

At a news conference Thursday, Treasury Board Minister Anita Anand agreed.

“We are heading up 250,000 employees in the public service across the country and it is the logical place for that leadership to occur,” she said. “We need to make sure we are continuing to support those individuals who are already in the public service who are racialized or in any other minority category.”

Anand also said the government has work to do in creating a culture where employees believe reports of discrimination will result in meaningful change.

“We are striving for a world whether it’s government or any other institution where that view is no longer present and it’s going to take time. We will address it through proactive reforms.”

In all the auditor general presented five new reports on Thursday including ones on government progress in modernizing technology systems and improving wait times for those seeking permanent residency.

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