Message from Clerk to departments: departmental progress reports on anti-racism due August 31

By June 30, 2021Anti-racism

On Monday, the Interim Clerk issued a message to departments: they must submit a report outlining the concrete actions they’ve taken to implement meaningful change around anti-racism and also equity and inclusion in the public service.

This follows the “Call to action on anti-racism, equity, and inclusion in the Federal Public Service” from the Clerk to departments earlier this year, which “set common expectations for leaders across the public service to take practical actions that will be the basis for systemic change. It is about getting going on actions that are long overdue.”

For their reports, the Interim Clerk asked departments to apply an intersectional lens, considering the interconnected dimensions of identity (e.g. race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identification and expression, and physical or mental ability).

These reports will be made public for all to see and determine which departments have been advancing real change and which ones have the most work to do.

The Interim Clerk said the purpose of this is to be authentic and transparent but also, “to learn from each other, surface key challenges, and identify best practices to tackle barriers and generate and sustain the momentum necessary to achieve meaningful results. Success requires us to do things differently, and this extends to the way we share our progress.”

“I have also heard that barriers remain and entrenched mindsets are obstacles to necessary progress.”

– Janice Charette, Interim Clerk, June 28, 2021

At a Canada School of Public Service virtual event back in April titled, “Systemic racism and the public service,” the Interim Clerk gave opening remarks and acknowledged the slow, uneven progress on anti-racism efforts and recognized that the public service doesn’t look like the public it serves, in terms of representation.

Public servants have been speaking in the media about their truths and about their experiences of racism and discrimination in the federal public service, specifically at: Rideau Hall; the Canada Revenue Agency; Indigenous Services Canada; Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and; even the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

In addition to her message on Monday, the Interim Clerk also provided departments with guidance on how they could structure their reports with questions to answer, specifically about Indigenous, Black, and other racialized employees.

The Interim Clerk suggested departmental reports could be organized into the following sections:

  • Actions
  • Measurements and results
  • Challenges and barriers
  • Employee response
  • Momentum

The Interim Clerk also encouraged departments to provide a “Data Annex,” a section based on facts with metrics to clearly show how departments have been increasing representation and to answer questions such as:

  • How many Indigenous employees and Black and other racialized employees:
    • joined your organization in 2020/2021 compared to the total number of employees who joined in 2020/2021*;
    • left your organization in 2020/2021 compared to the total number of employees who left in 2020/2021*; and,
    • were appointed to Executive positions in 2020/2021 compared to the total number of employees appointed to Executive positions in 2020/2021*?

* A comparison to the previous fiscal year may also be illustrative, if available.

  • What department-specific recruitment approaches do you have that are geared towards Indigenous employees and Black and other racialized employees?
  • What department-specific sponsorship, leadership or other career development services are available to Indigenous employees and Black and other racialized employees?

Departments have until August 31 to submit their reports to the Interim Clerk.

Other links:

Message and guidance for letters on the implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion

Call to action on anti-racism, equity, and inclusion in the Federal Public Service