This was followed by public servants continuing an honest and open discussion on diversity in the public service, as it was the theme for this month’s LeadersGC event.
This month’s LeadersGC was co-hosted by Christine Donoghue, President of the Public Service Commission.
When public servants were asked which HR tools are needed so that leaders at all levels can benefit from inclusion in the workplace, many public servants responded by saying that staffing processes need to be reevaluated so that hiring managers can ‘cast a wider net’ and hire based on best fit.
Several public servants with some natural born talent from the Canada Revenue Agency got together last week to cover Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” in support of the Agency’s launch of its new internal diversity website.
The lyrics were reworked to reflect the message of diversity and in addition to the website launch, the hashtag #CRAinclusionARC was created to promote awareness on social media:
In the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) latest Blueprint 2020 progress report to the Clerk, the PSC highlighted that it is being proactive in championing diversity and fostering more inclusive work environments in support of LGBTQ+ public servants by:
Launching a PSC-wide Diversity Committee last March with four sub-committees, each with its own Champion. One of those sub-committees is called “Positive Space” for LGBTQ+ representation;
Raising employee awareness about stories of important figures in the LGBTQ+ community for Women’s History month;
Celebrating diversity and promoting International Human Rights Day to employees;
Promoting anti-homophobia messaging to employees through videos like “The Riddle,” produced by the United Nations Human Rights Office; and
Raising awareness on LGBTQ+ issues via all-staff emails and to obtain feedback from employees on where the PSC should focus its efforts in the future.
16. Positive space for LGBTQ: #WeAreProud to promote a respectful, diverse and inclusive workplace. #GC2020
Clerk Janice Charette recently travelled to the UK to visit their civil service and while there, participated in an armchair discussion open to civil servants at a women leaders event. The Clerk was joined by Melanie Dawes, the Permanent Secretary (Deputy Minister equivalent) for the Department of Communities and Local Government, as well as the gender diversity champion for the civil service. Together, they spoke about the position of women in the public service in Canada and the UK, and how Canada prepares women for top roles.
The Permanent Secretary pointed out that Canada’s federal public service is a “step ahead” in terms of gender equality:
55% of all core federal public servants in Canada are women compared to 53.3% in the UK;
46% of EXs in Canada are women compared to 37.9% in the UK;
41% of DMs in Canada are women, while only 20% are women in the UK; and
The UK is still waiting for its first female Cabinet Secretary (most senior public servant, equivalent to the Clerk), while Canada has had two female Clerks.
UK civil servants had many questions for the Clerk ranging from what she thinks about “positive discrimination” to challenges around career progression and official languages when working from the regions.
The Clerk spoke about some of the other concrete things Canada is doing around gender equality and even gave some insight into Cabinet meetings with the Prime Minister where female representation and appointments across departments is discussed every month. She was asked what she wants to achieve as a leader, and she shared what is being done around Blueprint 2020 and what the priorities are for the coming year in the Canadian federal public service.
She also brought her charm and sense of humour with her and judging from reactions and smiles in the audience, civil servants there enjoyed their time with the Clerk, whose talk was serious when it needed to be but the tone was personable, down to earth and genuine, drawing laughter throughout and enthusiastic applause at the end.
Some nuggets of insight from the Clerk throughout the conversation:
On evaluating job opportunities throughout her career: “Who I worked for was sometimes more important than the job I was asked to do.”
On being very committed to asking: “How do I continue to learn every day?”
On leadership and success: “Being smart is not enough to be successful, it’s about how you interact with individuals and how you manage relationships.”
Following Pride events around the world last month and the historic decision on marriage equality by the Supreme Court in the United States, the public service in other countries have been quick to reaffirm support for their LGBTQ+ public servants:
The more inclusive we are the more #LGBT & other diverse groups will contribute & ultimately serve the public better https://t.co/rX6Hi9GpqI
Comparatively, the Canadian public service has arguably not been as proactive and visible in its support for its LGBTQ+ public servants. Perhaps with a new Chief Human Resources Officer set to take the reigns on August 10, this is an opportunity for more awareness, greater visibility and support for LGBTQ+ public servants in the Canadian public service.
Take a look at what the public service in other countries is doing to foster a more inclusive workplace, to support awareness around sexual orientation and gender diversity:
The public service in the United States has developed a guide to, “help LGBT Federal employees make more informed choices about how best to pursue their individual claims when they believe they have suffered from discrimination.”