In this Best Practice, the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is directly involved in cross-Canada consultations with employees who represent each of the four official Employment Equity Groups (women, Aboriginal Peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities).
CSC Commissioner Don Head tasked specific staff within each of the Employment Equity Groups to create and plan the events; then, after the meetings were completed, he selected a team from the specific group to design and implement a plan and strategy for inclusion. The Commissioner's commitment to attending and participating in each meeting demonstrates commitment at the highest level to the consultations as well as to the plans arising from them.
This undertaking, in which the Commissioner travels across Canada to meet with staff and obtain information, is now in its third installment.
The first consultation was with visible minority employees. After the consultations were completed, the Commissioner then formed a team made up of visible minority employees, to prepare a report and plan for implementation across the CSC.
The second consultation was with Aboriginal employees and the team created from that process recently submitted their report for implementation.
The Commissioner is currently completing consultations with employees with disabilities, after which their report will be prepared and implemented.
These consultations have resulted in numerous changes to how the CSC recruits, hires and promotes staff from Employment Equity Groups and this is reflected in the diversity of staffing at all levels of the organization.
One of Commissioner Head's passions is the inclusion of all peoples. He wanted to ensure that all employees are engaged and have equal and equitable opportunity as part of their work environment.
In order to ensure that policies and practices implemented by the CSC were meaningful, the Commissioner decided to hold open meetings for staff from the Employment Equity Groups.
Once each group had their consultations, a team comprised of persons from that specific Employment Equity Group was assembled and asked to create a plan to present to the Executive Committee, which could then be approved and implemented.
The focus is on engaging employees from the Employment Equity Groups and ensuring that they have the same opportunities and feel as included as employees who are not members of those groups. This makes the CSC workforce stronger, more diverse and more resilient.
The Commissioner wants the CSC to become one of Canada's top employers, and he knew that a cornerstone of achieving that goal was to have employees from all groups engaged and included, while having a sense of belonging and value in their work environment.
Making a Difference
The CSC is building an organization-wide training program for staff to learn and have access to all of the educational and practical tools that will help them achieve promotion. This also includes a formal mentoring program.
The CSC developed and created an Employment Equity Diversity Committee (EEDC), which reports directly to the Commissioner on matters pertaining to employment equity. This committee also acts as an information hub and communicates information throughout the organization regarding events, issues and changes that affect any of the Employment Equity Groups. The committee also increases the awareness of employment equity throughout the organization while promoting inclusion.
The Commissioner attends every consultation and engagement meeting, so the biggest challenge lies in coordinating them. The process, from the start of the consultation to completion and approval of an action plan, is two years per Employment Equity Group. Fortunately, the EEDC provides information and communication to keep the process in the forefront of people's minds, as well as reporting on completed plans.
Vision for the Future
Each of the plans arising from the consultations is approved, implemented and reported on. The final report for each plan is due four years after its implementation. Interim reports are completed annually on the progress of the commitments.
About the Correctional Service of Canada
The Correctional Service of Canada is responsible for the care, custody and rehabilitation of individuals in Canada who receive a sentence of two years or more for a criminal act. It has facilities across Canada and employs almost 18,000 staff. The CSC strives to ensure that its staff is representative of the overall population and is also reflective of the populations that are incarcerated or under supervision.
Best Practice Contact
Robert Townsley, Senior Project Officer, National Employment Equity and Diversity Committee, Correctional Service of Canada
340 Laurier St. W. Ottawa, ON K1A 0P9