Eliminating barriers for equity-seeking groups in the federal public service

On May 13, 2021, PIPSC President Debi Daviau appeared before the Senate Committee on Social Affairs (SOCI) to provide our feedback on how changes to certain provisions of Bill C-30, the Budget Implementation Act, 2021, may help eliminate the barriers that affect equity-seeking groups in the federal public service.

Our overall position is that the proposed changes represent an improvement on the existing Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) by recognizing the impact of biases and barriers on the selection and promotion of candidates from equity-seeking groups.

In late January, we participated in a National Joint Council Employment Equity Committee consultation on this issue, where we outlined a number of our concerns:

  • we don’t have a lot of confidence in federal staffing processes
  • the delegation of staffing authority to local managers has played a key role in creating the barriers to equity, diversity and inclusion our members encounter today
  • the system pits employees against employees
  • our members are frustrated about how positions are staffed and how promotions are handed out
  • the “right fit” is often used to exclude better qualified candidates
  • acting appointments are made and extended without any rationale through non-advertised processes

Decisive and immediate action must be taken to finally create a federal workplace that reflects the people of Canada and their values. The representation of equity-seeking groups in the federal workplace can’t improve in the current context. It’s time to stop putting in band-aid solutions to this critical problem.