After years of continued efforts toward creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace, CSC’s Employment Equity and Diversity Committee (EEDC) was recognized for its important work. On September 27, the Canadian Race Relations Foundation presented Sundeep Cheema, Chair of the EEDC, with an Award of Excellence for demonstrating best practices that combat racism and promote positive race relations.
“This is the first time we’ve ever received this award,” explains Sundeep. “For myself and my colleagues on the committee, it really reinforced that we are making a difference at CSC for both current and future employees who come to work for us. The fact that our initiatives and best practices were recognized externally was a huge honour.”
The award highlighted the committee’s three-year strategy aimed at creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace. As part of this, then-Commissioner Don Head conducted thorough and meaningful consultations with each employment equity group, seeking their input on how to improve the workplace for all employees. The strategy was considered a top priority for CSC’s executive committee, and has now become an important consideration in any initiative within the department.
“I really believe that CSC has been at the forefront of employment equity and diversity,” says Sundeep. “The commitment shown by our leaders demonstrates that CSC welcomes people from all walks of life and wants to provide a workplace that is welcoming to everyone.”
Sundeep points to the employment equity consultations, as well as the fact that CSC was one of the first departments to establish a Positive Space program aimed at creating a safe and welcoming workplace for members of the LGTBQ2 community, as initiatives that stood out to the CCRF. But while CSC has made great strides in its efforts toward diversity and inclusivity, Sundeep cautions that there is more to be done.
“Racism is still here, unconscious bias can be prevalent, and discrimination does happen. It can be obvious and it can be covert, but either way, we have to combat it with education and awareness building. When an employee or manager comes to me with concerns about his or her workplace, I am happy to work with them to address those particular concerns. That’s what the EEDC is here to do.”
The Commissioner’s recent mandate letter from the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness specifically states that creating a diverse workforce should be a priority for the organization. While CSC has already shown its commitment to this important issue, Sundeep and his colleagues on the EEDC are currently developing a new strategic plan for employment equity and diversity that will carry CSC through the coming years.
“We are energized and ready to take on the next step in our goal toward becoming a truly diverse and inclusive workplace,” says Sundeep. “We do this because we know we are making a difference. Each of the little things we do as well as the big things have an impact on the people coming to work everyday at CSC. That’s what keeps us going.”