IRCC decision making has been accused of “systemic racism” which says the department relies on race to make decisions on who to let into the country. Before reading, please understand that not all the IRCC offices are accused. And, there could be only certain employees in department that might be doing this.
“That came from the top, how we were instructed to deal with people from certain countries. There was a lot of stereotyping going on … ‘People from this country, people from that country, they’re all liars, you know?” One of the former IRCC employee told CBC News. The report the IRCC released last October spoke of employees referring to a group of 30 African countries as the “dirty 30.”
The department has denied these allegations, saying that race is not a factor in their decision-making process. However, critics say that the department’s policies and procedures show that race is a factor. Also, IRCC has been repeatedly accused of racism among their staff.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is investigating claims of systemic racism at two of its offices, says the Canada Employment and Immigration Union (CEIU). CEIU represents employees at IRCC, Service Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), and the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).
“IRCC is committed and believes in creating a workplace free from racism, harassment, discrimination and marginalization of any kind” IRCC said in a statement to CBC News. Furthermore, the department added that they could not comment on the probes due to confidentiality issues.
CBC News reported, Crystal Warner, the CEIU’s national executive vice-president said, “We are going to be proving that there is a national problem at the IRCC across the workplace.”
IRCC implemented an anti-racism action plan in response to allegations of discrimination within the department. The report, written by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), found that while some employees feel the action plan is having a positive impact, others remain “skeptical” and “cynical.”
CCPA researcher Shamira Madhany said IRCC has taken some “positive steps,” but more needs to be done. “The feeling among many people we spoke to is that, you know, this might just be a Band-Aid solution and that the issue of racism is much more deep-seated than just an action plan,” Madhany told CBC News.
IRCC has not made its anti-racism action plan public, but according to the CCPA report, it includes measures such as “mandatory anti-racism training for all staff,” the creation of an “anti-racism working group” and the appointment of a “director-general for diversity.”
“There’s a lot of self-censorships that’s going on,” one employee told Madhany.
“People are afraid to speak up.” Another employee said they had been the target of racist comments from a supervisor.
“I was told that I was not a ‘team player’ because I spoke up about the racism I was experiencing,” they said.
IRCC has not taken “sufficient” measures to address these concerns, Madhany wrote in the report.
She recommended that the department create an independent office to investigate complaints of racism and develop a clear policy on how to deal with racist incidents. The report comes as the federal government moves to overhaul Canada’s immigration system.
IRCC announced plans to introduce a new “merit-based” immigration system that would give preference to skilled immigrants. Critics have argued that the new system would favor white people and applicants from wealthier countries.
“Racism was described as a ‘factor’ in decisions related to staffing, performance management, and awards,” the report said. The report also found that some employees feel there is a “culture of silence” around racism at IRCC, and that those who speak out against it can face retribution.
IRCC spokesperson Julie Lafortune said in a statement that the department takes the issue of racism seriously. “We are committed to taking action to address any forms of racism and discrimination, including through our diversity and inclusion strategy,” she said. Julie added that IRCC is currently reviewing the report’s recommendations.
The report was released by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF), which conducted the interviews as part of its efforts to develop a National Action Plan on Racism. The plan will include several recommendations aimed at tackling racism in all sectors of Canadian society.
It’s appalling that in this day and age, racism is still a factor in decisions made by employers. IRCC needs to take this issue seriously and address it head-on if they want to be an example of diversity and inclusion. Racism has no place in our society, and we should all be working together to stamp it out.
Sabreena Ghaffar-Siddiqui, a committee member with the (CCPA), said the report’s findings are concerning. “We have to remember that Canada is a very diverse country, and we need all of our institutions and all of our people to reflect that diversity,” she said.
IRCC must take steps to address racism in their workplace, as it can have a ripple effect throughout Canadian society. We all need to be working together to ensure that everyone feels included and respected, regardless of their race or ethnicity.
Racism in IRCC cannot be overstated. This is a systemic issue that pervades all aspects of the institution, from staffing to promotions. Until IRCC takes concrete steps to address this issue, it will continue to be a thorn in Canada’s side.
Unfortunately, racism is still such a big problem in Canada, but we have to face up to it if we’re going to make any progress. IRCC is just one example of where racism needs to be addressed, but it’s a good place to start. Hopefully, by taking action on this issue, we can begin to stamp out racism in all parts of Canadian society.
Hopefully, we can continue to work towards making Canada a more inclusive and diverse country for everyone.