As the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, I lead a micro-organization responsible for the external whistleblowing regime of the federal public sector, which supports open discussions about whistleblowing. Our work continues to contribute to healthy and productive workplaces across the federal public sector, and to creating an environment in which public servants feel comfortable in coming forward when they see something wrong.
An essential part of my accountability to the Office’s employees is in maintaining their participation in discussions and ensuring that different perspectives are encouraged, received and valued. The tone is set by all of our leaders and it is sustained throughout our organization. Despite our smaller size, I have appointed different senior officials in the roles of champions and committee chairs on crucial topics such as gender diversity and inclusion, multiculturalism, and mental health. These individuals communicate with employees throughout the year, during staff meetings, in-house activities and in relation to initiatives and training opportunities for all federal public servants.
In addressing the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion, we looked at results from the 2020 Public Sector Employee Survey. With a final participation rate of over 97% of our employees, the Survey results provided great insights into our achievements and challenges in 2020. In terms of anti-racism efforts, for example, the vast majority of employees reported feeling comfortable speaking about racism in the workplace without fear of reprisal, and being comfortable sharing concerns about issues related to racism in the workplace with a person of authority. Some employees reported that training and awareness about racism was an area for improvement. In direct response to our results in the Survey, and as a mechanism to support awareness, the Office now requires that employees complete a minimum of three hours of anti-bias or racism awareness training per year.
The Office is committed to providing a safe environment where open discussions about racism, equity and inclusion are supported. During regular staff meetings, I have spoken about subjects that may impact employees’ work, or affect them personally. I do not hesitate to speak about current events related to race, such as the discovery of graves of children at residential schools, and I will continue to lead candid conversations on similar topics. It is crucial that employees feel their voices are heard and their opinions are taken into account when the management team takes actions to maintain and improve a positive workplace free from racism and discrimination.
(Original signed by)
Public Sector Integrity Commissioner
August 31, 2021