Government announces priorities for action to increase diversity and inclusion in the public service

On January 26, 2021, the Treasury Board of Canada secretariat announced priorities for action to increase diversity and inclusion in the public service. OSPE commends the Treasury Board of Canada secretariat for taking concrete actions to increase diversity and inclusion. The Treasury Board of Canada secretariat is a valued partner of OSPE.

In early 2020, OSPE met with Treasury Board of Canada to provide recommendations regarding how to advance diversity and inclusion, with a specific focus on International Engineering Graduates, and demanding diversity reporting for large government procurement projects. We believe the following are important steps to a more inclusive public service and ultimately a more inclusive economy.

The Treasury Board of Canada announced several key initiatives, including:

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

The government has released disaggregated datasets, to provide insight into the composition of public service employees who self‑identify in Employment Equity sub-groups, such as women, Indigenous, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minorities. The annual Public Service Employee Survey, now underway, will generate data and insights to better understand the workforce at even more detailed levels.

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.

The Government of Canada recently launched the Centre on Diversity and Inclusion. The Centre, supported by a budget of $12M outlined in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, will co-develop initiatives with 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.

To learn more about OSPE’s Diversity and Inclusion work visit

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