In 2020, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) began looking deeper into the departments’ internal environment through an anti-racism lens. An employee survey found that significant proportion of racialized employees considered racism to be a problem. In response to this, focus groups were held to gain greater insight into the problem. A total of 54 employees participated in the focus groups.
The findings of the focus groups can be summarized as:
In response to this report, IRCC launched their Anti-Racism Strategy for 2021-2024. During the first few months of 2022, suggestions were gathered from IRCC employees about the direction of the Strategy.
IRCC’s Strategy first proposes overarching suggestions regarding the new Strategy compared to its first version. It then puts forward thematic pillars of its action plan.
The overarching suggestions include:
In addition, IRCC lays out five pillars of the Strategy’s action plan. According to IRCC, each pillar identifies a stream of work that will be confronted as a priority in the short term.
Pillar 1: Ensure leadership accountability
This pillar relates to making sure there are formal accountability mechanisms in place to advance anti-racism goals. The goal is to ensure that anti-racism work is permanently embedded into IRCC’s structure, and that senior management will be responsible for results.
Pillar 2: Equitable workplace
This pillar relates to aspects of people management that will help create a workplace where everyone feels welcome and respected. The goal is to remove barriers to career advancement for racialized employees and promote inclusiveness in the work culture.
Pillar 3: Policy and program design
This pillar relates directly to addressing the systemic racism and bias in IRCC’s policy and program design. The goal is to understand the biases and gaps within the existing policy and program design and improve the anti-racist approach to developing new policies and program designs.
Pillar 4: Service delivery
This pillar relates to address the systemic racism and bias in IRCC’s implementation of policy and programs with applicants and external partners. The goal is to understand the racism and bias within the program delivery operation and decision making of IRCC officers, while developing and integrating tools to integrate anti-racism in service delivery process to address bias.
Pillar 5: Data and research
This pillar relates to producing strong evidence to support anti-racism work. The goal is to increase the availability of data in connection to government-wide standards in support of anti-racism analysis.
IRCC’s recognizes the presence of racism in Canada and within their organization. Their goal is to be an equitable and anti-racist institution and to increase the benefits of IRCC programs to Canadians and newcomers through the elimination of racism in policies, programs, service delivery and people management.
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