psaee discussions & developments
Recruitment and Hiring in the Public Service
Hiring discrimination in the public service can have a significant impact on visible minority citizens. When individuals from minority backgrounds are not fairly considered for jobs in the public service, it can perpetuate systemic inequalities and limit their opportunities for advancement. This can also lead to a lack of representation of diverse perspectives in the public service, which can negatively impact decision-making and service delivery for communities who are underrepresented. Moreover, discrimination in hiring can cause feelings of alienation and marginalization among visible minority citizens, which can lead to distrust in government and a lack of civic engagement. It is important for the public service to have policies and practices in place to ensure that hiring decisions are based on merit and that candidates from diverse backgrounds are given equal consideration. Since 2020 the PSAEE has been working to have these discussions with various HR departments and elected representatives. The PSAEE is the first non-profit organization aimed at facilitating the development of a representative public service by focusing on the hiring processes and policies.
Challenging "minimum experience" criteria in the job posters
Proving that a claim of a bona-fide occupational requirement is false can be difficult, as it often requires demonstrating that the requirement is not essential to the performance of the job or that it disproportionately excludes certain groups of people.
One way to prove that the claim of a bona-fide occupational requirement is false is to gather evidence that demonstrates that the requirement is not necessary to perform the job. For example, this could include evidence of individuals who have performed the job effectively without meeting the requirement, or evidence that the requirement is not necessary to ensure the safe and efficient performance of the job.
Another way to prove that the claim is false is to demonstrate that the requirement disproportionately excludes certain groups of people, such as those who have pursued continuous education and have limited work experience.
Additionally, it's worth noting that an individual or organization can file a complaint to the relevant human rights commission if they believe that a bona-fide occupational requirement is being used in a discriminatory manner. The commission will investigate the complaint and may make a determination on whether discrimination has occurred.
In any case, it's important to gather and present evidence that supports one's claim, and to have a clear and convincing argument, that the requirement is not necessary to perform the job and disproportionately excludes certain groups of people.
Minimum experience criteria in the public service should be challenged when it is believed that the criteria are discriminatory or unjustified. This can happen in a few different situations:
When the criteria disproportionately affects certain groups of people, such as visible minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, or aboriginal persons, and is not related to the duties of the position.
When the criteria are not job-related and do not accurately measure the qualifications required to perform the duties of the position.
When the criteria are arbitrarily applied and are not consistently enforced among all applicants.
When the criteria creates barriers for candidates who have obtained their qualifications through non-traditional routes, such as on-the-job training or self-study.
When the criteria are used as an excuse to exclude certain groups of people from the selection process.
Discrimination in the Public Service exists.
Some notable cases of discrimination in the public service hiring process:
In 2004, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had discriminated against women in its hiring and promotion practices. The Tribunal found that the RCMP had not done enough to address the underrepresentation of women in the organization and that this had resulted in discrimination.
In 2010, the Canadian Human Rights Commission found that the federal government had discriminated against Indigenous people in its hiring practices. The Commission found that Indigenous people were underrepresented in the public service, and that the government had not done enough to address the issue.
In 2013, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ordered the Department of National Defence to pay $35,000 in compensation to a Black employee who had been subjected to racial discrimination during the hiring process.
In 2015, the Canadian Human Rights Commission released a report on discrimination in the federal public service, which found that visible minorities were underrepresented in the public service and that Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities were disproportionately represented in lower-paying jobs.
In 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Commission found that Black employees in the federal public service were disproportionately represented in lower-paying jobs and underrepresented in senior positions. This case was settled with the government agreeing to a settlement that included measures to promote diversity and inclusion in the public service.
In 2018, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that the federal government had discriminated against employees with mental disabilities, and ordered the government to pay $20 million in compensation to affected employees. The Tribunal found that the government had not done enough to accommodate employees with mental disabilities, and that they had been disproportionately represented in lower-paying jobs.
In 2019, the federal government settled a class-action lawsuit brought by Indigenous employees who had experienced discrimination in the public service. The settlement included measures to improve Indigenous representation in the public service and to provide compensation to affected employees.
These cases demonstrate that discrimination in the public service hiring process is a real issue and that it has been addressed by the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in the past. It is important for the public service to have policies and practices in place to ensure that hiring decisions are based on merit and that candidates from diverse backgrounds are given equal consideration.
Considerations for BIPOC job seekers
Focus on collecting data, not arguing with HR.
When you receive a questionable evaluation in a public service competition, it is important to collect relevant information in an objective way and focus on that, rather than arguing with HR personnel. One way to do this is by requesting to see the grading rubric for the competition, so that you can better understand the marks that were assigned to you. Additionally, you can request informal feedback on your performance. It is important to remember that grading is not always as objective as it may seem and that the mark you received alone may not provide a full understanding of the reliability of the evaluation system. It's also important to consider how other candidates were marked and the overall consistency and reliability of the grading criteria and their application. If you need the PSAEE's assistance, reach the organization.
Document everything carefully without delay.
Create a Word document. Keep detailed records of all job processes you participate in. This is very important. This should include:
Dates, Durations, Chronology of progression
Original job poster, the resume you submitted in response to it, and cover letter (if any)
Any conversations/communications with HR throughout the process
Store the (i) grading rubric and any (ii) informal feedback you received
Make notes on any documents that you sign during the process
Note any 'technical issues', 'mistakes', 'delays', 'revisions', or 'cancellations' that occur during the process
If you identify as a visible minority citizen and have concerns about the job process, it is very important that you first document it properly. Discrimination is often difficult to prove, but when different individuals document their issues and it emerges that the same administrative configurations are affecting a group of people, it becomes more readily apparent.
Any Canadian citizen of colour who is rejected in a public service competition and comes to hold a reasonable concern over discrimination, unfairness, or error in the hiring process is encouraged to write to us. It would be important for you to maintain detailed notes of everything (dates, times, persons, communications, job poster, reasons provided, etc). Our office is fully aware of the complex challenges that Canadian citizens of colour face in proving discrimination. When you explain the circumstance to us, we will know immediately. We are here to help. We are not a legal clinic. If you find yourself out of options, and have a mind to challenge discriminatory treatment, come to us - this is why we are here.
Challenging Hiring processes Of the Public Service which tend to "Screen Out" Rather than "Bring In" citizens of colour
CONTACT THE PSAEE
Be Aware of the bigger picture when applying for jobs
When considering applying for a job in the public service, it's important to consider the area you want to work in and the historical hiring outcomes of the department. Some departments have a history of hiring patterns that show preference for certain groups of people over others, particularly in terms of citizen identity and race. This may be reflected in the department's lack of diversity.
For example, if you are applying for a role in business administration, your chances of meeting the merit criteria may be different than if you were applying for a role in policing. The RCMP, for example, has a history of not hiring visible minority citizens at the same rate as other groups, and so if you were to apply, your probability of not meeting the merit criteria would be higher. This is a systemic issue, and while HR may try to justify it by pointing to individual deficiencies, it is important to consider the bigger picture.
On the other hand, if you identify as a visible minority and you apply for a role in the IT sector, which is traditionally more receptive to diversity, your chances of success may be different.