Core public administration representation

The core public administration (CPA) population for employment equity purposes includes indeterminate employees, term employees of three months or more, and seasonal employees of organizations listed in Schedules I and IV of the Financial Administration Act. The CPA population is based on the effective classification which includes acting assignments. Employees on leave without pay, term employees less than three months, students and casual workers, Governor in Council appointees, Ministers’ exempt staff, federal judges, and deputy ministers are excluded.

Internal representation is based on those who have voluntarily chosen to self-identify and self-declare to date as an Indigenous person, a person with a disability and/or a person in a visible minority group, while sex information is taken from the pay system.

Workforce availability (WFA) is calculated based on the 2016 Census and the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability.

Figures in square brackets represent the change since the previous year or fiscal year.

Core public administration population

253,411 [+17,278]

Employment equity population

176,441 [+14,792]

As of March 2023, the size of the CPA increased by 17,278 to a total of 253,411 employees. The number of employeesFootnote 5 who identify as belonging to one or more employment equity groups increased by 14,792, accounting for a total of 176,441 employees and representing 69.6% of the CPA.

Three of the four employment equity designated groups are above their WFA at the aggregate level.

Core public administration representation and workforce availability

Representation WFA
Women 56.6% [+0.6] 53.7% Met
Indigenous Peoples 5.3% [+0.1] 3.8% Met
Persons with disabilities 6.9% [+0.7] 9.2% Not met
Members of visible minorities 21.7% [+1.5] 17.3% Met

Representation data for the four designated employment equity groups increased since the previous year, with the largest increase (1.5 percentage points) among members of visible minorities.

Although the representation of persons with disabilities has increased by 0.7 percentage points since the previous year, this group continues to be under-represented. As indicated in the About the data section of this report, WFA estimates for persons with disabilities increased substantially between the 2011 and 2016 Census and the 2012 and 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability. This increase is because the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability expanded the definition of “persons with disabilities” to include disabilities related to pain and mental health. The self-identification data collected for the public service is not based on this expanded definition. A new Self-Identification Questionnaire has been developed and is expected to provide a more accurate picture that reflects this new definition once fully implemented in 2024.

Figure 1: Representation of employment equity groups in the core public administration, 2000 to 2023
Text version below:

Figure 1 – Text version

Year Women Indigenous Peoples Persons with disabilities Members of visible minorities
2000 51.4% 3.3% 4.7% 5.5%
2001 52.1% 3.6% 5.1% 6.1%
2002 52.5% 3.8% 5.3% 6.8%
2003 52.8% 3.9% 5.6% 7.4%
2004 53.1% 4.1% 5.7% 7.8%
2005 53.5% 4.2% 5.8% 8.1%
2006 53.8% 4.2% 5.8% 8.6%
2007 53.9% 4.2% 5.7% 8.8%
2008 54.4% 4.4% 5.9% 9.2%
2009 54.7% 4.5% 5.9% 9.8%
2010 54.8% 4.6% 5.7% 10.7%
2011 54.8% 4.7% 5.6% 11.3%
2012 54.6% 4.9% 5.7% 12.1%
2013 54.2% 5.0% 5.8% 12.6%
2014 54.1% 5.1% 5.7% 13.2%
2015 54.3% 5.1% 5.6% 13.8%
2016 54.4% 5.2% 5.6% 14.5%
2017 54.5% 5.2% 5.5% 15.1%
2018 54.8% 5.1% 5.3% 15.7%
2019 54.8% 5.1% 5.2% 16.7%
2020 55.0% 5.1% 5.2% 17.8%
2021 55.6% 5.2% 5.6% 18.9%
2022 56.0% 5.2% 6.2% 20.2%
2023 56.6% 5.3% 6.9% 21.7%

Between March 2000 and March 2023, the CPA saw growth in its workforce, from 141,253 (as of March 31, 2000, and excluding Revenue Canada) to 253,411. Women represented 51.4% of the CPA population in March 2000, increasing to 56.6% by March 2023. Notably, the visible minority group experienced the most substantial percentage point increase, increasing from 5.5% in March 2000 to 21.7% by March 2023. Representation of Indigenous Peoples grew from 3.3% to 5.3%, and representation of persons with disabilities increased from 4.7% to 6.9% during the same period.

Figure 2: Employment equity groups by region of work
Text version below:

Figure 2 – Text version

Note: Figures in square brackets represent the change since March 2022.

Following are percentages by province, territory and other categories:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 58.7% [increase of 1.6 percentage points]

  • Prince Edward Island: 69.9% [decrease of 0.2 percentage points]

  • Nova Scotia: 57.5% [increase of 1.0 percentage points]

  • New Brunswick: 66.1% [increase of 0.9 percentage points]

  • Quebec (without the National Capital Region): 65.4% [increase of 1.6 percentage points]

  • National Capital Region (Quebec): 72.1% [increase of 1.0 percentage points]

  • National Capital Region (Ontario): 70.7% [increase of 1.0 percentage points]

  • National Capital Region: 71.1% [increase of 1.0 percentage points]

  • Ontario (without the National Capital Region): 71.9% [increase of 1.4 percentage points]

  • Manitoba: 73.4% [increase of 0.8 percentage points]

  • Saskatchewan: 74.4% [increase of 0.3 percentage points]

  • Alberta: 72.2% [increase of 0.9 percentage points]

  • British Columbia: 68.5% [increase of 1.6 percentage points]

  • Yukon: 74.7% [increase of 1.7 percentage points]

  • Northwest Territories: 71.8% [increase of 1.9 percentage points]

  • Nunavut: 81.4% [increase of 0.7 percentage points]

  • Outside Canada: 66.7% [increase of 2.7 percentage points]

  • Not available: 76.0% [increase of 7.5 percentage points]

Note: A portion of the geographic data is not available due to changes in the central data systems.

Representation, as defined by the percentage of CPA employees that identify as belonging to one or more employment equity group, has increased since the previous year in all but one region of work. Representation of employment equity employees is highest in Nunavut (81.4%), Yukon (74.7%) and Saskatchewan (74.4%). Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia have the lowest representation, at 58.7% and 57.5%, respectively.

Figure 3: Salary range distribution by employment equity group
Text version below:

Figure 3 – Text version

Salary range Core public administration Women Indigenous Peoples Persons with disabilities Members of visible minorities
Under $50,000 2.2% 2.6% 2.3% 2.6% 2.1%
$50,000 to $74,999 40.7% 46.9% 43.2% 43.9% 45.5%
$75,000 to $99,999 31.9% 28.8% 34.6% 29.7% 29.2%
$100,000 to $124,999 17.0% 14.8% 14.1% 16.0% 16.6%
$125,000 to $149,999 5.8% 4.7% 4.0% 5.5% 4.8%
$150,000 and over 2.4% 2.2% 1.8% 2.3% 1.7%

Compared with the CPA, the proportion of the four designated employment equity groups is higher in the $50,000 to $74,999 salary range and lower in the salary ranges of $75,000 and over, except for the $75,000 to $99,999 salary range, where there is a higher proportion of Indigenous employees. For salaries under $50,000, the proportions of women, Indigenous Peoples and persons with disabilities are higher compared with the CPA.

Hires by employment equity group 2016–17 to 2022–23
Fiscal year All employees Women Indigenous Peoples Persons with disabilities Members of visible minorities
Number % of hires Number % of hires Number % of hires Number % of hires
2016–17 16,081 9,281 57.7 703 4.4 603 3.7 2,875 17.9
2017–18 19,249 11,290 58.7 767 4.0 685 3.6 3,402 17.7
2018–19 23,334 13,181 56.5 962 4.1 866 3.7 4,510 19.3
2019–20 24,901 14,505 58.3 988 4.0 977 3.9 5,302 21.3
2020–21 24,229 14,592 60.2 927 3.8 1,053 4.3 5,148 21.2
2021–22 28,929 17,392 60.1 1,209 4.2 1,601 5.5 6,723 23.2
2022–23 33,361 20,378 61.1 1,471 4.4 2,295 6.9 8,960 26.9

  • The share of women among new hires increased from 57.7% in 2016–17 to 61.1% in 2022–23.

  • The share of hires for persons with disabilities almost doubled from 3.7% in 2016–17 to 6.9% in 2022–23.

  • The share of new hires among members of visible minorities increased from 17.9% in 2016–17 to 26.9% in 2022–23.

  • The share of hires of Indigenous Peoples fluctuated between 3.8% and 4.4% between 2016–17 and 2022–23.

Promotions by employment equity group 2016–17 to 2022–23
Fiscal year All employees Women Indigenous Peoples Persons with disabilities Members of visible minorities
Number % of
Number % of
Number % of
Number % of
2016–17 17,487 10,120 57.9 836 4.8 693 4.0 2,788 15.9
2017–18 20,660 12,260 59.3 1,015 4.9 837 4.1 3,560 17.2
2018–19 25,489 15,390 60.4 1,217 4.8 1,097 4.3 4,770 18.7
2019–20 27,211 16,628 61.1 1,332 4.9 1,133 4.2 5,405 19.9
2020–21 24,919 15,106 60.6 1,223 4.9 1,181 4.7 5,227 21.0
2021–22 29,295 18,256 62.3 1,493 5.1 1,681 5.7 6,818 23.3
2022–23 33,194 20,975 63.2 1,698 5.1 2,230 6.7 8,024 24.2

The data reveals an increase in the number of promotions for all four employment equity groups since 2016–17, especially among women and members of visible minorities. The percentage point increase in the share of promotions for women and members of visible minorities is higher compared to Indigenous Peoples and persons with disabilities.

Separations by employment equity group 2016–17 to 2022–23
Fiscal year All employees Women Indigenous Peoples Persons with disabilities Members of visible minorities
Number % of
Number % of
Number % of
Number % of
2016–17 12,491 7,249 58.0 602 4.8 902 7.2 1,490 11.9
2017–18 12,937 7,349 56.8 685 5.3 994 7.7 1,310 10.1
2018–19 12,898 7,381 57.2 655 5.1 850 6.6 1,260 9.8
2019–20 13,043 7,459 57.2 697 5.3 931 7.1 1,371 10.5
2020–21 12,446 6,996 56.2 590 4.7 841 6.8 1,354 10.9
2021–22 16,687 9,443 56.6 850 5.1 1,097 6.6 2,033 12.2
2022–23 17,510 9,835 56.2 897 5.1 1,202 6.9 2,478 14.2

The share of separations for women and persons with disabilities declined when comparing 2016–17 to 2022–23; for Indigenous Peoples and members of visible minorities, the share of separations fluctuated but increased overall.

Representation in the largest five occupational groups (100 or more employees)
Occupational group Women Indigenous Peoples Persons with disabilities Members of visible minorities
PA: Program and Administrative Services 72.4% [-0.2] 6.4% [0.0] 8.1% [+0.7] 22.8% [+1.8]
EC: Economics and Social Science Services 59.8% [+0.6] 4.2% [+0.1] 8.1% [+1.1] 27.9% [+1.9]
IT: Information Technology 22.5% [-0.2] 3.4% [+0.1] 6.8% [+0.4] 26.6% [+1.1]
TC: Technical Services 32.9% [+0.6] 4.9% [-0.1] 4.7% [+0.4] 12.7% [+0.5]
SV: Operational Services 21.2% [-0.1] 5.3% [0.0] 3.9% [-0.1] 5.8% [+0.3]

The largest occupational group in the CPA is in the Program and Administrative Services (PA) group, followed by the Economics and Social Science Services (EC) and the Information Technology (IT) groups. Compared with the previous fiscal year, representation rates in these groups for women, Indigenous Peoples and persons with disabilities differed by less than 1 percentage point except for the EC group for persons with disabilities, which saw a 1.1 percentage point change. The representation rates for members of visible minorities increased in all five of these groups, with the most substantial changes in the EC group, with an increase of 1.9 percentage points, followed by the PA group, with an increase of 1.8 percentage points.

Representation in the executive ranks

Overall, three of the four employment equity designated groups are above their WFA in the executive ranks.

Core public administration representation and workforce availability in the executive ranks

Representation WFA
Women 54.2% [+1.0] 48.0% Met
Indigenous Peoples 5.2% [+0.3] 5.4% Not met
Persons with disabilities 7.7% [+1.2] 5.3% Met
Members of visible minorities 15.2% [+1.2] 10.8% Met

Executive level All employees Member of at least one EEtable 8 note * group % of EX level
EX-01 3,935 2,689 68.3
EX-02 1,986 1,245 62.7
EX-03 1,323 824 62.3
EX-04 269 167 62.1
EX-05 130 73 56.2
Total 7,643 4,998 65.4


Table 8 Note *

EE: employment equity

Return to table 8 note * referrer

Executive level All employees Women Indigenous Peoples Persons with disabilities Members of visible minorities
Number % of EX Level % of EEtable 9 note * group Number % of EX Level % of EEtable 9 note * group Number % of EX Level % of EEtable 9 note * group Number % of EX Level % of EEtable 9 note * group
EX-01 3,935 2,226 56.6 53.8 230 5.8 57.9 320 8.1 54.6 637 16.2 54.7
EX-02 1,986 1,029 51.8 24.9 92 4.6 23.2 151 7.6 25.8 288 14.5 24.7
EX-03 1,323 684 51.7 16.5 56 4.2 14.1 94 7.1 16.0 184 13.9 15.8
EX-04 269 139 51.7 3.4 13 4.8 3.3 14 5.2 2.4 41 15.2 3.5
EX-05 130 61 46.9 1.5 6 4.6 1.5 7 5.4 1.2 15 11.5 1.3
Total 7,643 4,139 54.2 100.0 397 5.2 100.0 586 7.7 100.0 1,165 15.2 100.0


Table 9 Note *

EE: employment equity

Return to table 9 note * referrer

When considering the total number of employees in the executive category (7,643), members of the designated groups account for 65.4% of the executive workforce:

  • women represent more than half of the overall total of executives at 54.2%, with their representation ranging from 56.6% at the EX‑01 level and decreasing to 46.9% at the EX‑05 level

  • members of visible minorities account for 15.2% of the executive group, persons with disabilities account for 7.7% and Indigenous Peoples account for 5.2%

It is worth noting that the percentage of designated group members is more prominent in the EX‑01 and EX‑02 levels but decreases in the levels that progress to EX‑05.

Share of hires, promotions and separations in the executive ranks

Women Indigenous Peoples Persons with disabilities Members of visible minorities
Hires 52.3% [-4.3] 6.8% [+0.2] 11.4% [+4.0] 15.2% [-2.0]
Promotions 59.4% [+1.3] 6.3% [+0.4] 9.1% [+2.3] 17.9% [-1.2]
Separations 51.1% [+4.3] 4.1% [-0.1] 11.0% [+3.6] 10.9% [+1.1]

Among the 132 new executive hiresFootnote 6 in 2022–23, women had the largest share at 52.3%, followed by members of visible minorities, persons with disabilities and Indigenous Peoples. The same trend is observed for promotions. There were 1,247 EX promotions in 2022–23.Footnote 7 Women had the largest share of separations, followed by persons with disabilities, members of visible minorities and Indigenous Peoples.

Compared to last fiscal year:

  • women had a decrease in the share of executive hires of 4.3 percentage points and an increase in the share of separations of 4.3 percentage points

  • persons with disabilities had a 4.0 percentage point increase in the share of hires and a 3.6 percentage point increase in the share of separations

Public service–wide initiatives on diversity and inclusion: five areas of focus

1. Generate and publish data for a more accurate picture of representation gaps

Creating a representative and inclusive workplace that reflects the population it serves begins with improving the availability and reliability of existing data.

TBS’s Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) has continued to enhance the dissemination of disaggregated data:

Since the first release of disaggregated data in September 2020, OCHRO has continued to update the information and expand the breakdowns available. For example:

  • public service–wide employment equity representation data is available by:

    • province or territory of work

    • occupational group in force

    • occupational category

    • executives by level

    • salary range

    • age range

    • tenure

    • language requirement of the position

    • linguistic status of incumbents

    • level of second language proficiency

    • first official language

  • Further disaggregated representation data for Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities is available by:

    • department or agency

    • province or territory of work

    • occupational group in force

    • occupational category

    • salary range

    • age range

    • tenure

WFA estimates were incorporated into OCHRO’s Human resources data visualization tool, giving the public access to estimates for the CPA population and executives by organization. As a result of changes to the Public Service Employment Act, WFA estimates have expanded beyond Canadian citizens to include permanent residents.

TBS’s Self-Identification Modernization Project will allow for measurement and analysis of public service employee representation beyond the four employment equity designated groups by including more identities and by being centrally hosted on the TBS Application Portal.

In 2022–23, OCHRO continued to develop a new Self-ID Questionnaire with updated language and expanded identity options informed by a series of consultations with equity-seeking groups and stakeholders. Objectives of the project include enabling TBS and departments to meet legislative requirements of the Employment Equity Act and support the public service to provide an inclusive workplace and a greater sense of belonging for employees. The new self-ID application is anticipated to launch in 2024.

In collaboration with Statistics Canada, the 2022–23 Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) collected important employee sentiment data and gathered insight on how equity-seeking groups were experiencing their workplace. As the largest universal collection of employee sentiment data in the public service, the PSES is invaluable to supporting evidence-based decision-making within departments, agencies and policy centres that shape programs enterprise-wide. The 2022–23 PSES was in collection from November 2022 to February 2023, with 91 participating organizations and a 53.4% response rate. Of interest are the following:

  • 49% responded positively that the Clerk’s Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service had a positive impact in their organization (for women, the figure was 53%; for racialized groups, the figure was 55%).

  • More than four out of five employees feel that their organization treats them with respect, and three out of four employees feel that their organization respects individual differences.

  • Overall, on questions about how employees feel toward whether their organization treats them with respect, respects individual differences, and whether the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service has had a positive impact in their organization, employees who identify as persons with disabilities and Indigenous Peoples are less positive than the overall public service response. Employees who identify as members of a racialized group or as women are generally more positive in their response to these questions than the overall public service population.

  • Generally, results for employees who identified as being part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community are less positive than the rest of the public service. For example, 80% of employees who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+ compared to 82% of employees who do not identify as 2SLGBTQIA+ felt that every employee in their work unit is accepted as an equal member. Further information is available at the 2022 results for 2SLGBTQIA+ communities.

The most recent PSES adopted an early version of the new Self-ID Questionnaire, which allowed employees to self-identify based on their gender, racial group, ethnic origin, 2SLGBTQIA+ identity, Indigenous identity, and as a person with disabilities. The same questions were used in the collection of the Student Experience Survey, which supports interoperability of the results with the PSES data and allows for insight on how students belonging to one or more of the equity-seeking groups are experiencing the workplace in comparison to the broader public service. By using the new Self-ID Questionnaire as the standard, these insights can be integrated with other sources of administrative data available to:

  • conduct deeper analysis

  • identify trends

  • bring into focus the data story of employees

The Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC) continues to maintain a collection of online visualization and forecasting tools. A publicly available interactive Data visualization hub is updated regularly, providing users with easy access to PSC data about the staffing system, including information on employment equity data for departments and agencies subject to the PSEA. The PSC makes annual projections on renewal and representation in the public service using a workforce macro-simulation tool that can, for example, inform recruitment efforts to meet the federal goal of 5,000 net new hires of persons with disabilities and share projections with deputy heads and heads of human resources.

2. Increase the diversity of senior leaders of the public service

Government-wide priorities

Increasing diversity among senior leaders of the public service is key to establishing a culture of inclusiveness that will help combat racism and address systemic barriers. It also strengthens policy advice, programs and service delivery.

OCHRO continues to enable a senior leadership group that models and reflects a culture of inclusion. For many years, Clerks of the Privy Council have expected senior leaders to foster diversity and inclusion in the public service, and this expectation was reflected in the annual government-wide priorities. TBS requires all executives in the CPA to include these priorities and associated performance measures in their performance agreement commitments.

Executives’ success in meeting these expectations is part of their annual performance assessment.

Black and Indigenous executives

In 2021–22, OCHRO developed tailored strategies to increase representation and reduce barriers for Black and Indigenous executives. In 2022–23:

  • a performance assessment framework was launched in partnership with executive diversity networks to measure progress and enable transparent and consistent monitoring of these strategies

  • a needs analysis was launched to support the empirically based development of a third strategy tailored to executives who have lived experience of disability

Deputy Head Inclusion Stewards

OCHRO is actively working to increase the diversity of senior leaders and address biases and barriers in executive talent management:

  • As part of the winter 2022–23 assistant deputy minister (ADM) talent management cycle, time was specifically set aside to discuss all ADMs who self-identified as a member of an employment equity group. The aim was to make them more visible and support their development.

  • In addition, in support of inclusion, Deputy Head Inclusion Stewards were designated to recognize and address unconscious bias. Guidance and tools for the Inclusion Steward initiative were expanded and widely shared with departments to voluntarily implement these tools for executive and non-executive programs, such as talent and performance management at the organizational level.

Executive Leadership Development Program

The Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP) continues to play a significant role in promoting diversity and inclusion among senior leaders:

  • Through the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS), the program provides tailored learning and development opportunities for equity-seeking executives and has adopted culturally sensitive learning frameworks. The program aims to allocate at least 50% of its participants in the EX‑01 to EX‑03 cohort to Indigenous Peoples, members of visible minorities, and persons with disabilities. In 2022–23, OCHRO continued to enhance diversity in the EX‑01 to EX‑03 and ADM ELDP streams, with an average of 60% of participants identifying as members of equity-seeking groups.

  • Other initiatives have been undertaken to increase Indigenous Peoples’ participation in the executive cohorts in response to persistent low participant rates. Information sessions were held for the Indigenous Senior Leadership Circle and the Indigenous Executive Network to raise awareness and encourage nominations. Information gathered at these meetings was shared with program partners, the CSPS and the PSC to make the necessary adjustments to programming. As a result, there has been an increase in the representation of these groups within program cohorts as follows (see table below):

    • the representation of Indigenous executives in the EX‑01 to EX‑03 stream increased from 6% in 2020 to 9% in 2023 and from 2% in 2020 to 9% in 2023 for the ADM stream

    • the representation of persons with disabilities increased from 7% to 13% for the EX‑01 to EX‑03 stream and from 0% to 2% for the ADM stream between 2020 and 2023

    • the representation of members of visible minorities in the EX‑01 to EX‑03 stream increased from 15% in 2020 to 39% in 2023 and from 6% in 2020 to 29% in 2023 for the ADM stream

Year Indigenous Peoples Persons with disabilities Members of visible minorities
EX‑01 to EX‑03 ADM (EX‑04 and EX‑05) stream EX‑01 to EX‑03 ADM (EX‑04 and EX‑05) stream EX‑01 to EX‑03 ADM (EX‑04 and EX‑05) stream
2020 6% 2% 7% 0% 15% 6%
2023 9% 9% 13% 2% 39% 29%

Mosaic Leadership Development Program

The Mosaic Leadership Development Program provides equity-seeking employees from under-represented communities with opportunities to overcome barriers and enter the executive group. It has four main components:

  1. sponsorship

  2. a multi-dimensional learning curriculum

  3. experience-building opportunities

  4. assessment by a diverse selection board against an EX‑01 position identified by the organization

The first cohort of the program graduated in March 2023, with 38 diverse participants.

Mentorship Plus

The Mentorship Plus program supports the career progression of public service employees in under-represented and equity-seeking groups through traditional mentorship and sponsorship. In this program, a senior leader supports their protégé by advocating for them and actively participating in their career development. This support includes helping protégés gain the skills and competencies needed to move into executive positions.

In 2022–23, the program had been implemented in 52 organizations across the public service, including the CSPS, which hosts the Centralized Bank of Sponsors that offers sponsors to 40 departments and agencies.

Knowledge Circle for Indigenous Inclusion and Indigenous Coaching and Counseling Circle

Many Voices One Mind: A Pathway to Reconciliation Action Plan is the main strategy for Indigenous inclusion. It identified onboarding, retention, career development and advancement as systemic barriers to Indigenous employment.

In partnership with the Knowledge Circle for Indigenous Inclusion, the PSC created the Indigenous Coaching and Counseling Circle (ICCC) to:

  • offer coaching and counselling services from a culturally competent group of Indigenous coaches to support aspiring Indigenous executives

  • provide Indigenous executives with a way to reduce and potentially eliminate systemic barriers related to securing approval for coaching opportunities

In the ICCC’s first three months, the five ICCC coaches supported 17 employees. Due to the ICCC’s positive feedback and an increasing demand for coaches, the Knowledge Circle for Indigenous Inclusion will continue to offer this service in 2023–24.

3. Ensuring the right benchmarks

Employment equity benchmarks are reference points for employers to assess how they measure in terms of representation for each of the four employment equity designated groups. These benchmarks are used to guide the development of strategies that will strengthen diverse representation in the public service.

In the CPA, the benchmark used is workforce availability (WFA), which relies on:

  • Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC’s) labour market availability data

  • Statistics Canada’s (StatCan’s) Census and Canadian Survey on Disability data

OCHRO acknowledges the recent benchmarking recommendations of the Employment Equity Act Review Task Force and commits to rethinking new approaches as part of anticipated consultations and developments led by ESDC and StatCan.

“Keeping it simple: Moving beyond workforce availability toward labour market availability and comprehensive barrier removal.”

– A Transformative Framework to Achieve and Sustain Employment Equity: Report of the Employment Equity Act Review Task Force, 2023

4. Addressing systemic barriers

Systemic barriersFootnote 8 arise from systems, policies and practices, traditions or cultural practices that may seem neutral but put certain individuals or groups at a disadvantage. Following are examples of various initiatives undertaken in 2022–23 to address systemic barriers.

Qualification Standards

In 2022–23, OCHRO’s Classification Program increased the accessibility of tools used to determine job classifications and reduced bias in these tools.

The Qualification Standards outline the minimum requirements needed for each occupational group or classification in the CPA. OCHRO consulted with partners and organizations to identify and address potential biases and barriers in these standards. OCHRO developed a checklist to identify possible biases and barriers when creating or reviewing qualification standards. The checklist helps find and remove requirements that could create biases and barriers for members of equity-seeking groups. This project follows an amendment to the Public Service Employment Act, which requires employers to:

  • evaluate qualification standards for biases or barriers when they are created or reviewed

  • make reasonable efforts to remove them or mitigate the impact of biases or barriers

Recommendations of the Audit of Employment Equity Representation in Recruitment

The PSC continued to implement the recommendations from the Audit of Employment Equity Representation in Recruitment to help identify and eliminate potential barriers and biases in appointment processes and provided updated guidance. In 2022–23, 13 out of 14 PSC deliverables for the audit were closed, and 87% of organizations reported having initiated a review of their staffing frameworks and practices. Some of the concrete actions taken include:

The Canadian Human Rights Commission continues work on an employment equity horizontal audit of how racialized people are employed in management and executive positions in the public service. The Commission also initiated conventional “employer-based” audits for selected departments and agencies that have not been audited for the past six years. The Commission will continue with its three-pronged approach to audits to make equality of opportunity a substantive reality in federally regulated workplaces:

  1. conventional employer-based audits

  2. horizontal issue-based audits

  3. blitz requirement-based audits

2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan

In August 2022, the Government of Canada launched Canada’s first Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan 2022, which seeks to advance equality for 2SLGBTQI+ people in Canada and within the public service. The $100-million Action Plan was created through extensive engagement, including:

  • a national crowd-sourced survey

  • written submissions

  • roundtable discussions

The goal of the action plan is to stop discrimination and stigma based on sexual orientation, sex characteristics, gender identity and expression from emerging or worsening for future 2SLGBTQI+ generations.

TBS Official Languages Centre of Excellence

To better align official languages priorities with diversity and inclusion goals, TBS’s Official Languages Centre of Excellence has undertaken the following initiatives:

  • After extensive consultations with key stakeholders, including equity-seeking networks, the Centre started the development of a new inclusive language training framework and established an advisory committee on second official language learning whose members include representatives of equity-seeking networks.

  • In collaboration with the Public Service Alliance of Canada, a joint Report on the Use of Indigenous Languages in Canada’s Public Service was published in July 2023, which:

    • reviewed the use of Indigenous languages in the public service

    • examined Indigenous language skills in the performance of employees’ duties

    • examined the advantages that Indigenous language speakers bring to the public service

  • In February 2023, TBS, Canadian Heritage, the Council of the Network of Official Languages Champions, in collaboration with the CSPS, held a Best Practices Forum on Official Languages on the theme “Changing the Narrative on Diversity, Inclusion and Official Languages” to share practices on how official languages can be used to promote bilingualism, diversity and inclusion in Canada.

Public Service Commission of Canada

The PSC provided expertise in policy development, application and interpretation regarding official languages in the appointment process, including examining the use of the Public Service Official Languages Exclusion Approval Order and Public Service Official Languages Appointment Regulations and helping organizations apply the terms and conditions of each. The PSC also provided testing for second official language proficiency.

In 2022–23, the PSC:

In October 2022, the PSC launched the Candidate Assessment Tool for second language evaluations. The tool allows departments and agencies to conduct remote, unsupervised second language tests for reading comprehension and written expression. The tool’s interface is now more accessible, modern and adaptable, and users can change the display settings to suit their needs.

The PSC:

  • administers and oversees the provisions of the PSEA and the Public Service Employment Regulations regarding priority entitlements

  • monitors staffing practices in relation to the legislative framework for priorities

Entitlements are provided for people who meet specific conditions, allowing them to be appointed before others to vacant positions in the public service.

The Priority Entitlements Program reviews its practices and procedures to remove systemic barriers that people in designated groups who have a priority entitlement might face when searching for jobs. In 2022–23, the program introduced the Priority Information Management System and communications tools.

Student employment

The Student Employment Programs Participants Regulations and the Treasury Board Policy on People Management (which governs the Directive on Student Employment) were amended in June 2021 to include students who are permanent residents with a preference for appointment that is equal to those who are Canadian citizens. This change applies to approved student employment programs for appointment processes that commenced on or after June 24, 2022.

Maturity Model on Diversity and Inclusion

OCHRO’s Maturity Model on Diversity and Inclusion is a voluntary self-assessment tool launched in August 2022 that enables federal organizations to learn their level of advancement in diversity and inclusion. Organizations submit their responses to a 22-question questionnaire and receive:

  • a report that indicates their level of maturity across five dimensions

  • tailored recommendations on how to progress to the next level

The model informs organizations how diverse and inclusive they are and recommends tangible actions for improvement.

Observer Program

In line with the Government of Canada’s commitment to foster diversity and inclusion on boards and committees, TBS has responded to the 50 – 30 Challenge.Footnote 9 For example, the Observer Program helps reduce barriers by providing senior public service employees in under-represented and equity-seeking groups with opportunities to participate as non-voting members on public sector pension and benefits plans boards and committees. Through this program:

  • participants acquire important board and committee experience while developing in-depth knowledge related to the governance and oversight of these pension and benefits plans

  • this participation provides the employer with a larger and more diverse pool of potential employer representative candidates for future appointments

Of the nine candidates in the first cohort of the program, three have already been appointed to serve as employer representatives. In 2022, the scope of the program was expanded to allow for more participants and those who will be completing their participation period later in 2024.

Engagement and awareness

Employment Equity Research Working Group

In 2022–23, the PSC’s diversity and inclusion research and data work focused on several initiatives, including chairing an interdepartmental Employment Equity Research Working Group to inform work undertaken on employment equity, diversity and inclusion. This working group consists of experts in the field of employment equity, economists and statisticians who share information and research on barriers for employment equity groups.

In addition, the PSC conducted analysis on specific priority topics related to employment equity and diversity in the staffing system that included:

GC Jobs Transformation

Other PSC programs include the GC Jobs Transformation to modernize the Government of Canada recruitment platform to offer a seamless and intuitive experience for job seekers, hiring managers and human resource professionals alike.

Post-secondary recruitment

The Post-Secondary Recruitment program provides recent graduates with access to public service jobs. The 2022 campaign opened in November 2022 and focused on recruiting entry-level Data Scientists (EC).

Federal Speakers’ Forum on Lived Experience

The Federal Speakers’ Forum on Lived Experience, led by OCHRO, has combined the services of the former Federal Speakers’ Forum on Diversity and Inclusion and the Federal Speakers’ Bureau on Mental Health. The forum aims to build a community of speakers who share lived experiences related to mental health, accessibility, diversity and inclusion. By sharing ideas and building connections, the Forum aims to open hearts and minds to inspire action toward a more inclusive workplace. By the end of 2022–23, 86 speakers were successfully matched to over 275 speaking engagements across the public service.

Canada School of Public Service

The Canada School of Public Service (CSPS) made extensive efforts to create an inclusive and equitable workplace by providing learning opportunities and products to develop knowledge, skills and competencies necessary to change mindsets and behaviours for greater reconciliation, equity, diversity and inclusion. In 2022–23, the CSPS offered:

The CSPS’s mental health curriculum had significant modifications that included personal stories, experiences and recommendations from public servants belonging to employment equity groups. For example, the CSPS launched a pilot of an updated mental health awareness course that includes case studies, scenarios and personas that reflect the impact of racism and discrimination on mental health.

The CSPS hosted the Government of Canada Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Conference 2022 under Inaugural Visiting Scholar, Dr. Rachel Zellars, to emphasize the learning tools, strategies and achievements in response to the Clerk’s Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service.

The Leadership Series event, “Embodied Leadership for Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion,” was particularly well received.

Another successful achievement was the Jocelyne Bourgon Visiting Scholar Lecture: “The Time is Now for Black Canadians in the Public Service,” where public servants learned about the evolution of merit criteria and its impact on Black employees.

The CSPS also held events in support of:

In collaboration with the Federal Black Employee Caucus and the Black Executive Network, the CSPS held events on addressing anti-Black racism as part of its “Addressing Employment Barriers Faced by Black People in the Public Service” series, including:

  • “Career Advancement”

  • “Meaningful Retention”

CSPS updated three online courses on workplace harassment and violence prevention for employees, managers, health and safety committees, and designated recipients. Updates were also made to:

Human Resources Council

As the voice of the human resources (HR) community across the federal public service, the Human Resources Council (HRC) works collaboratively with all members of the HR community to build capacities and strengthen connections.

In 2022–23, the HRC offered many opportunities, including monthly Heads of HR meetings, to engage and mobilize central agency partners and better equip the community in leading excellence in human resources across the federal public service. With a focus on inclusion, the HRC conducted many successful engagements and initiatives that focused on equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility, including:

  • delivering a “smartshop” in partnership with the PSC to:

    • highlight changes to the PSEA on assessment processes

    • identify and mitigate the impact of potential biases and barriers in assessment for HR professionals

  • publishing a newsletter focused on accessibility in the public service, with topics that included:

    • accessibility by design

    • accessibility tips and tricks

    • reporting on the HRC’s community survey on best practices in accessibility

  • publishing a spotlight piece on the Disability Inclusion and Workplace Accommodation Community of Practice, which brings together professionals from human resources and other fields that work in disability management, the duty to accommodate and accessibility within their organizations

  • engaging directly with heads of HR at special HRC meetings to gather input for the review of the Employment Equity Act and changes to self-identification process across the public service

  • welcoming guest speaker Tareq Hadhad to the annual HR Leadership Awards Ceremony to share with the HR community his journey on resiliency, leadership through adversity, diversity and inclusion

In 2022–23, the HRC also launched two key foundational pieces:

  • HRC’s Strategic Plan and Vision 2025

  • a community GCXchange site

The strategic plan established the vision for the community with one of its pillars as inclusion, in which the HRC committed to:

  • promoting a culture of inclusiveness that values diversity, including linguistic diversity, and accessibility

  • addressing systemic barriers and racism

The HRC GCXchange has allowed HRC to advance on this commitment by consolidating and sharing important information for HR professionals. In addition to the HRC GCXchange’s extensive resources centre, there are many tools that were developed to assist the career development of HR professionals through the new “helloHR” platform, including the PE competency development framework and the related competency profile tool.

Joint Employment Equity Committee

The Joint Employment Equity Committee is an ongoing advisory committee through which employment equity, diversity and inclusion policy, programs and initiatives are discussed among employees’ representatives of bargaining agents, departments, the Public Service Commission of Canada, and TBS’s Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer. The committee’s consultations with TBS in 2022–23 have included the following:

  • artificial intelligence decision-making

  • Employment Equity in the Public Service of Canada for Fiscal Year 2021 to 2022

  • Public Service Employee Survey results

  • modernization of the Self-ID Questionnaire

  • 2022–23 Management Accountability Framework results on equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility

  • accessibility action plans from the Office of Public Service Accessibility

  • results from the public opinion survey of federal public servants with disabilities

  • Government of Canada Workplace Accessibility Passport

Final word

Over the course of three decades, the public service has made significant strides in increasing the representation of the four employment equity designated groups. Substantial gaps persist, however, particularly regarding persons with disabilities.Footnote 10

Despite the Government of Canada mandated direction to hire 5,000 new public servants with disabilities by 2025, the representation of persons with disabilities remains low at 6.9% while their workforce availability is 9.2%. Efforts in internship programs and tailored recruitment initiatives need to continue in pursuing this hiring target. However, employment equity does not end with the successful recruitment or promotion of persons with disabilities. To retain employees with disabilities, the Government of Canada should continue to prioritize the development of a disability-inclusive work culture.

When compared with the CPA, data on salary ranges show that the proportion of the four employment equity groups is higher in the $50,000 to $74,999 range and lower in the ranges of $100,000 and above. When combined with other factors such as the increased number of hires and promotions among the four designated employment equity groups and the increase in representation in all designated groups, including at the executive levels, this data could signal that our ongoing commitment to supporting employment equity groups in the public service has yielded tangible progress. Further analysis is required to determine why the salary disparity between the employment equity groups and the CPA exists. The above-noted initiatives aim to address systemic barriers to career advancement and discrimination. Other factors such as successful entry-level targeted recruitment programs could also play a part.

Black employees’ representation has continued to increase since last fiscal year. While positive trends in hires and promotions are apparent, when compared with the other employment equity groups, the proportion of Black employees continues to be the highest in the $50,000 to $74,999 salary range and lowest in all other salary ranges of $75,000 and over. In June 2023, TBS established the Task Force for Black Public Servants to oversee the development and implementation of the Action Plan for Black Public Servants, which carried on the work begun in consultation with Black Public Servants and networks in 2022 to advance the government’s efforts in support of Black public servants. 

Currently, there are no requirements to collect and report on the representation of 2SLGBTQI+ employees, and as such, there is no representation data on this group. TBS will lead effortsFootnote 11 to further 2SLGBTQI+ diversity and inclusion by ensuring that the Centre for Diversity and Inclusion’s future initiatives are informed by 2SLGBTQI+ federal employee networks, stakeholders and the Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan 2022. TBS will be well positioned to commence data collection in 2024 with the launch of a modernized approach to self-identification.

As the public service looks into the future, key drivers will include:

The Public Service Employee Survey also provides valuable insight that can help guide and develop policies and initiatives.

As well, the steps TBS is taking to develop a restorative engagement program for employees to share their personal accounts in a safe confidential space will contribute to organizational culture change.


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