Tag Archives: anti-racisme

Initial reaction to the Auditor General’s Inclusion in the Workplace for Racialized Employees report

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The Office of the Auditor General of Canada recently published its Report 5—Inclusion in the Workplace for Racialized Employees, which found that more concrete action was needed within several federal public service organizations — including the Canada Border Services Agency — to effectively address systemic issues and barriers faced by racialized employees. Indeed, the Auditor General concluded that these organizations “were not making sufficient use of available data to identify barriers faced by their racialized staff or inform equity and inclusion strategies and complaint mechanisms” and that, within management, “accountability for behavioural and cultural change […] was limited and not effectively measured”.

As is often the case when it comes to CBSA, this will not come as a surprise to our members. The Agency is known for brushing aside complaints from employees and letting abuse from managers go unchecked. CIU’s National President said as much to federal MPs earlier this year. The Agency’s management has demonstrated time and again its fundamental inability to address deep-rooted systemic issues, including those affecting our racialized members. What’s worse, in the union’s experience, many of these issues either stem from or are exacerbated by the incompetence and lack of accountability rampant within upper management.

While the Auditor General’s report includes a sensible call to action for federal public organizations — “[t]o create a workplace that is truly inclusive, you need to actively engage with your racialized employees, you need to meaningfully use the data you have to inform your decisions, and you need to hold your leadership accountable for delivering change” — we cannot help but feel that this will ultimately be lost on the Agency. Despite CBSA agreeing with the report’s recommendations, this is the same Agency that claimed to be committed to addressing systemic racism but arbitrarily canceled anti-racism and anti-discrimination training developed by its own racialized employees. It is the same Agency that has ignored our recommendations to see proper anti-racism training restored in a meaningful way.

We are glad to see the Auditor General highlight the gaps in the public service when it comes to anti-racism strategies, and we’ll be taking a closer look at the report to see what it means for our members so that we can keep fighting for a better, more inclusive workplace. But it would be naive to be surprised by the lack of progress within an Agency that has so clearly demonstrated its lack of interest in seeing these issues genuinely addressed.

Building a better workplace and a stronger union: CIU anti-discrimination and anti-racism survey

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At the last CIU National Convention in 2021, delegates passed three resolutions seeking to address discrimination and racism within both the union and the workplace. A component of these resolutions pertained to gathering the data necessary to work towards that goal, asking the union to engage the services of an external, independent, and labour-friendly third-party with the required expertise to help conduct such a study. Thanks to the work of the CIU Human Rights Committee, and after a comprehensive search, the union has hired Rachel Décoste and Associates to assist us in this important endeavour.

As part of our efforts to fulfill the mandates of these resolutions, a confidential and anonymous survey has been designed by Rachel Décoste and Associates to gather information from the CIU membership about their workplace and union experiences. In the next few days, CIU members can expect to receive an email sent to their personal email address from ciu-survey@WorkplaceBelonging.ca through Survey Monkey, inviting them to take this short survey (3 to 5 minutes). We strongly encourage all members to participate. Note that only the aggregate data and results will be shared with the CIU Human Rights Committee. All other information gathered will be strictly confidential and will not be made available to either CIU or CBSA.

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding the survey, we invite you to contact ciu-survey@WorkplaceBelonging.ca.

Thank you in advance to all members who participate in this survey for helping us build a better workplace, and a stronger, barrier-free union.

Anti-racism action plan: Membership consultation

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Dear members,

You may have received an email from Environics Research (publicaffairs@environics.ca) inviting you to participate in the membership consultation process commissioned by the Public Service Alliance of Canada as part of their Anti-Racism Action Plan.

As a labour organization, the Customs and Immigration Union is committed to addressing issues stemming from systemic racism and discrimination affecting Black, Indigenous, Asian and racialized members. Human rights are workers’ rights, and the principles of inclusion, diversity, and equity are intrinsic to our core mission of advancing these rights. The PSAC Anti-Racism Action Plan seeks to reinforce our capacity to uphold these principles at all levels through a review of how we serve and represent members of all horizons. The ongoing consultation process plays a key role in providing the union with the necessary membership input to do so.

The consultation process consists in a short two-minute survey, and members who take part may also be invited to join a subsequent focus group session to share their experiences in more detail. This PSAC endeavour supports the work being done by our own CIU Human Rights Committee to address racism and discrimination — both in our workplace and within our own union — and we strongly encourage you to participate.

No action is too small in the continuing fight against racism and discrimination, and we thank you in advance for taking the time to share your experiences and help us build a strong, inclusive labour movement.

In solidarity,

Mark Weber
CIU National President

Murray Star
Chair, CIU Standing Human Rights Committee

Minister Blair signs off on joint CIU and CBSA anti-racism initiative

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Joint statement on anti-racism: We can do better together

We — the Minister of Public Safety, President and Executive Vice-President of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and the National President of the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) — are standing together to reiterate our commitment to eliminating systemic racism.

We recognize that all workplaces should be respectful, free of harassment and discrimination. The events of 2020 have reinforced our commitment and sharpened our focus on the reality of systemic racism. We need to do more to address and strive to eliminate racism in the CBSA workplace and workforce.

Acknowledging the problem is only the first step. We are now turning our attention to working together to deliver positive and lasting changes.

Today we are coming together to take action. The CBSA senior management has recently established an Agency‑wide Task Force on anti‑racism. The Task Force is developing an anti‑racism strategy that takes a whole‑of‑Agency approach to tackle systemic racism within the CBSA by listening, learning and taking action.

Additionally, an initiative proposed by the CIU is making headway. Last spring, the Minister of Public Safety, the President of the CBSA and the CIU agreed that anti‑racism training should be developed for all CBSA employees. The CIU National Executive identified a group of dedicated members who will work with the CBSA HR team and Anti-Racism Task Force to develop that training as well as de‑escalation training for frontline officers. These efforts are aimed at fostering positive and respectful interaction amongst CBSA employees and with the diverse clientele they serve at facilities and ports of entry across the country.

Canada has a long history of colonialism that continues to have a big impact on Black, Indigenous and other racialized communities. But today we step forward together to demonstrate our commitment to real change.

CBSA employees stand guard at the longest land border in the world. Our efforts to eliminate systemic barriers will benefit Agency employees and better support the public and travellers we serve every day.

As we move forward, we encourage all of you to become familiar with the initiatives and resources that will be introduced in the coming months, and to join us in standing in solidarity with all peoples, particularly those who have experienced racism and discrimination.

Bill Blair
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

John Ossowski
President, CBSA

Paul MacKinnon
Executive Vice-President, CBSA

Jean-Pierre Fortin
National President, CIU

CIU also wishes to thank the members of the union’s working groups on anti-racism and de-escalation training for their continued work and efforts.

CIU anti-racism working group

Co-Chairs:  Joey Dunphy and Murray Star


  • Jenny Mathelier
  • Neha Sarao
  • Lisa Morgan
  • Tacia Kilty
  • Sukhpreet Singh Heir

CIU de-escalation training working group

Chair:  Rick Savage


  • Ben Hurdle
  • Paul Finn
  • Rildo Gutierrez
  • Mike Fraser