Ian Shugart’s Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service. And SSHRC, NSERC, and CIHR’s answers.

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*Relevant PDFs are attached for download.

  • On January 22, 2021, Ian Shugart, Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, released a Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service,1 which begins:


The past several months have precipitated deep reflection on the unjust treatment of Black people, other racialized groups, and Indigenous peoples in our society. As public servants come forward and courageously share their lived experiences, the urgency of removing systemic racism from our institutions and from our culture becomes more evident.

The gist of this Call to Action is that Shugart is asking Public Service Leaders to commit to doubling down on their EDI initiatives.

  • On March 9, 2021, in a departing message to his colleagues, Shugart announces that he is taking leave off his position as Clerk to undergo cancer treatment.2 In this letter, he hands the reins to Interim Clerk, Janice Charette, and Shugart urges his colleagues to remember his Call to Action:

Further, my recently released Call to Action on anti-racism, equity, and inclusion remains dear to my heart, and is essential for us becoming the public service all Canadians need. Do not let up. Do not let the Call to Action drop. All of us, especially leaders at all levels, have work to do, and opportunity to make a difference.

(Update: On May 26, 2022, the Munk School of Global Affairs &Public Policy, University of Toronto, announces Ian Shugart’s appointment as a part-time professor.3)

  • In a July, 2021, message to deputy ministers, heads of separate agencies, and heads of federal agencies, Janice Charette issues the following reminder concerning Shugart’s Call to Action4:

With the release of the Call to Action, you were informed of the importance of providing an open letter outlining the actions you have taken within your organizations and the early impacts they are having…Recognizing that organizations are at different stages in this work, I am asking you to send these letters as soon as you are ready, but no later than August 31, 2021. Letters will be published on the Privy Council Office website at regular intervals in the coming months.

As Charette promised, these letters [unmentioned in Shugart’s Call to Action- PL] have been published on the Privy Council Office website.5 I don’t know if the list is complete. However, here I am only interested in open letters from the presidents of the three major federal research granting agencies: 1)Alejandro Adem, NSERC; 2) Catherine MacLeod on behalf of Michael Strong, CIHR; and, 3) Tom Hewitt, SSHRC.

Note that each of these organisations mandate EDI/ EDI-related courses.

(1) Alejandro Adem, NSERC, is delivering mandatory Diversity and Inclusion Training, and Civility and Respect. 6

We will promote the latest educational and training opportunities for staff on all matters related to EDI, such as those offered through the Canada School of Public Services and the Federal Youth Network. We are developing more resources for staff like our publications on anti-racism and personal pronouns, and delivering mandatory Diversity and Inclusion Training, and Civility and Respect [bolding mine – PL]. NSERC also provides mandatory EDI Data and Privacy Protection training for employees and program staff who use or access raw EDI data.

NSERC is committed making equity, diversity, and inclusion foundational aspects of how we support our employees and our research community. We have made strides already, and we are quickening our pace with the steps we have taken over the last year. I look forward to informing you of further progress and successes in the future.

(2) Catherine MacLeod, on behalf of Michael Strong, CIHR, says7,

“We [at CIHR] firmly believe that SGBA+ and EDI foster research excellence — research can only be excellent, innovative, and impactful when it benefits us all.”

Macleod reports,

“The unconscious bias training module is now being revised to include specific content on racism, accessibility and systemic ableism, intersectionality, and barriers faced by members of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities.”

And, mandatory training rears its head again:

We are also developing anti-racism principles, resources, and additional mandatory training for CIHR staff and leadership. For instance, Anima Leadership Anti-Racism training has been mandated for all executive staff. The mandatory training courses are documented in each employee’s performance agreement and completion is tracked at year-end [all bolding mine-PL]. Additional EDI-related training and resources have been made available to all CIHR employees through the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion. Moreover, CIHR human resources staff will continue to regularly attend interdepartmental meetings to share best practices on implementing and promoting employment equity, diversity, and multiculturalism programs.

(3)Ted Hewitt, SSHRC,8 also reports mandatory training:

We continued our mandatory Diversity and Inclusion Training, and Civility and Respect for all staff [bolding mine-PL] and EDI Data and Privacy Protection training for staff who use or access raw employment equity self-identification data. We also continued to promote to staff the numerous EDI courses and events offered through the Canada School of Public Services and the Federal Youth Network. And we partnered with Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion to provide staff with access to diversity and inclusivity webinars and resources.

References

[1] Ian Shugart, Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, “A Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service,” Privy Council Office, Government of Canada, January 22, 2021, https://www.canada.ca/en/privy-council/corporate/clerk/call-to-action-anti-racism-equity-inclusion-federal-public-service.html, accessed August 17, 2022.

[2] “Message from the Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Ian Shugart,” Defence Stories, National Defence, >News>The Maple Leaf, Government of Canada, March 9, 2021, https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/maple-leaf/defence/2021/03/message-from-the-clerk.html , accessed August 18, 2022.

[3] “Ian Shugart, Canada’s top public servant, appointed as Munk School professor,” Munk School of Global Affairs &Public Policy, University of Toronto, May 26, 2022, https://munkschool.utoronto.ca/ian-shugart-appointment/, accessed August 18, 2022.

[4] Janice Charette, Message from the Interim Clerk to deputy ministers, heads of separate agencies, and heads of federal agencies, “Message and guidance for letters on the implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion,” Privy Council Office, Date modified: 2021-07-08, https://www.canada.ca/en/privy-council/corporate/clerk/call-to-action-anti-racism-equity-inclusion-federal-public-service/message-guidance-letters-implementation.html, accessed August 18, 2022.

[5] Janice Charette, Message from the Interim Clerk to all public servants, “Letters on the Implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service,” Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service, Privy Council Office, Government of Canada, Date modified: 2022-06-14https://www.canada.ca/en/privy-council/corporate/clerk/call-to-action-anti-racism-equity-inclusion-federal-public-service/letters-implementation.html, accessed August 18, 2022.

[6] Summer 2021 Update, Alejandro Adem, “Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Letter on Implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion,” Letters on the Implementation, Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service, Privy Council Office, Government of Canada, Date modified: 2021-11-26, https://www.canada.ca/en/privy-council/corporate/clerk/call-to-action-anti-racism-equity-inclusion-federal-public-service/letters-implementation/4/natural-sciences-engineering-research-council-canada.html, accessed August 18, 2022.

[7]Summer 2021 Update, Catherine MacLeod for Michael Strong, “Canadian Institutes of Health Research Letter on Implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion,”Letters on the Implementation, Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service, Privy Council Office, Government of Canada, Date modified: 2021-11-26, https://www.canada.ca/en/privy-council/corporate/clerk/call-to-action-anti-racism-equity-inclusion-federal-public-service/letters-implementation/1/canadian-institutes-health-research.html, accessed August 18, 2022.

[8] Summer 2021 Update, Ted Hewitt, “Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Letter on Implementation of the Call to Action Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion,” Letters on the Implementation, Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service, Privy Council Office, Government of Canada, Date modified: 2021-11-26, https://www.canada.ca/en/privy-council/corporate/clerk/call-to-action-anti-racism-equity-inclusion-federal-public-service/letters-implementation/5/social-sciences-humanities-research-council.html, accessed August 18, 2022.

3 thoughts on “Ian Shugart’s Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service. And SSHRC, NSERC, and CIHR’s answers.

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