Federal immigration department employees reporting racist workplace behaviour, says survey

Warning: this story incorporates offensive language

A report inspecting workplace racism at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) describes repeated cases of employees and supervisors utilizing offensive phrases with their racialized colleagues.

The 20-page doc, compiled by the public opinion analysis firm Pollara Strategic Insights, was introduced to IRCC in June and not too long ago posted on-line.

The report relies on ten two-hour focus teams with 54 IRCC employees Pollara performed for the department in March.

Multiple employees advised Pollara they’d heard racist language used within the workplace. The report describes what it calls a number of stories of racist “microagressions” within the IRCC workplace, together with:

  • Staff members describing a department part identified for having loads of racialized employees as “the ghetto.”
  • Staff members asking to the touch a racialized worker’s hair, or mocking the hairstyles of racialized employees.
  • A supervisor calling Indigenous folks lazy, or calling colonialism “good.”
  • “Widespread” references within the workplace to sure African nations as “the dirty 30.”

“You just feel like, now that I’m speaking out, am I also going to be looked like as one of those angry Black women for speaking up?” the report quotes one worker as saying.

Racialized employees additionally advised Pollara they have been handed over for worldwide assignments and “professional development opportunities.” The report says one supervisor claimed that their analysis of a racialized worker was overridden “by someone above them to promote a non-racialized employee instead.”

Racialized IRCC staffers advised Pollara that they’re marginalized within the workplace — saved in “precarious temporary contract positions disproportionately and for a long time” which forestall them from “advocating for their own rights” to promotion or from talking out towards racist incidents.

Some IRCC employees say they fear that discriminatory attitudes on the department are enjoying a job in the way it manages the immigration file. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Pollara additionally stated individuals within the focus teams warned that racism within the workplace “can and probably must impact case processing.” They cited “discriminatory rules for processing immigration applications for some countries or regions,” together with extra monetary doc necessities for candidates from Nigeria.

CBC requested an interview with Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino two days in the past. Today, the department stated he was too busy for an interview.

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino’s department says it’s actively preventing workplace racism. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

In an announcement, IRCC stated it takes the “opinions expressed in the focus groups very seriously” and is taking motion.

Some of these actions predate Pollara’s analysis, similar to the duty drive on eliminating racism launched by the IRCC again in July 2020.

The department stated it’s consulting with “external stakeholders on how to identify and address systemic barriers in policy and program delivery” and has carried out obligatory unconscious bias coaching for employees and executives. It additionally has named an anti-racism consultant for every of its sections.

IRCC insisted it’s dedicated to the truthful and non-discriminatory software of immigration procedures.

Asked about Pollara’s report, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh stated he was alarmed.

“The fact that there are allegations and concerns of racism in a department that deals with people who are racialized is deeply, deeply troubling and cannot continue,” he stated.

This is not IRCC’s first try at a reckoning with workplace racism. In February 2021, the department held a city corridor to debate a survey some 2,712 employees accomplished on the topic final yr.

According to a abstract of that survey obtained by CBC News, 65 per cent of Black employees and 55 per cent of seen minorities reported experiencing micro-aggressions; that quantity was solely 13 per cent amongst non-racialized employees.

Meanwhile, 53 per cent of non-racialized IRCC employees reported believing that “individuals of different races/ethnic origins” have the identical profession alternatives as white folks; so did 48 per cent of Indigenous employees. But 55 per cent of seen minorities reported they’ve fewer such profession alternatives.

More than a 3rd of seen minority and Indigenous employees members surveyed stated they had been assured within the skill of IRCC’s management to create a workplace freed from discrimination.



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