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Making CBC/Radio-Canada reflect Canada’s diversity

Our Joint Employment Equity Committee recently met with the management team responsible for increasing equity in hiring at CBC/Radio-Canada. This Committee has been in existence since 1988-1989. We are mandated through the Federal Employment Equity Act and our Collective Agreement, to meet with the Corporation to ensure that the diversity hiring targets the CBC is required to meet as part of its responsibilities under the Employment Equity Act are being reached. For more information on the Committee please click here.

In the past, the Corporation has had difficulty meeting its requirements.

Within the past year, however, and since the Corporation was audited by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) in 2012 for its failure to meet the requirements, there has been renewed commitment to ensuring that hiring from the four designated groups is on everyone’s radar at CBC/Radio-Canada, specifically in management.

The report from management was encouraging because the numbers of hires have indeed increased, in large part because hiring managers have made this obligation a priority. Across the board, we know that more Indigenous and racialized workers have been hired, that women now comprise nearly 50% of the total workforce and that the number of workers with disabilities hired has increased. These improvements are also due to the steps the Corporation has taken to ensure that people feel confident in self-identifying.

However, there is still a great deal of work to do.

With this in mind, our CMG members, have made a very public and vocal pushback these past ten months. It began with an interview given to Canadaland in August 2016 for an article titled: ‘Just How White Is The CBC?’

This exposed years of virtual inaction. Members from across the country then organized and sent two letters – one to Hubert Lacroix and the other to Jennifer McGuire – demanding change and accountability from management in their hiring decisions. Things that management had just been talking about were suddenly  pushed into action – including company-wide unconscious bias training for managers and a leadership training program for visible minorities. We congratulate our members for effectively bringing change as a grassroots group.

We will continue to provide support to our members in their quest to make CBC a more fair and equitable place to work.

Our union is focused on ensuring that members of the four designated groups are hired and retained; that they have a clear pathway into the upper echelons of management if that’s where they want to go; and that unconscious bias training and the histories of Indigenous and racialized people are included in management’s training in order to provide an open environment – hopefully creating a workplace where insensitive comments on social media by top line managers are a thing of the past.

To this end, we are calling for a mechanism to verify managers’ accountability to these expectations.  We are adamant that the Corporation must take our goals and initiatives seriously. To get there, we will continue to press for hard data on the numbers from the four designated groups being hired into management roles as well as in the overall structure of the CBC; and for tangible steps to ensure that unconscious bias is removed from the hiring process.

The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for November 2017. 

CMG members of the CBC Joint Employment Equity Committee:
Debora Barkun
Wendy Martin
Saïda Ouchaou-Ozarowski
Jonathan Spence
Ronna Syed
Terri Monture, CMG Staff Rep

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