CSIS affirms its commitment and actions to address and prevent racism and discrimination in human rights settlement

December 12, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario – The Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service release the following statement.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (Commission) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) are pleased to announce a settlement in which CSIS affirms its ongoing commitment to address systemic discrimination and racism, and increase diversity and inclusion in its workplace.

This settlement is the result of a complaint filed by a Black woman who worked for CSIS as an Intelligence Officer. The Commission referred the complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (the “Tribunal”). CSIS, the Complainant and the Commission settled the matter without a Tribunal hearing. Although the parties do not necessarily agree on all of the matters raised in the complaint, they have agreed to the public interest remedies described in this statement.

In 2022, CSIS published its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy, 2022 (DEI Strategy). The DEI Strategy was co-developed by CSIS with employees at all levels of the organization, and outlines actions being taken to further equity and increase inclusion in its workforce.

In this settlement, CSIS re-affirms its commitment articulated in the DEI Strategy to:

  • review and validate its policy and approach to applying “right fit” in hiring decisions, under which right fit decisions are based on candidates’ asset qualifications and the relative strength of their qualifications according to the requirements defined in job postings, and on human resources needs including the need for greater equity group representation;
  • promote greater diversity on selection panels, with the goal of including at least one representative from an employment equity group on all panels, to the greatest extent possible;
  • run an executive recruitment process for employees from employment equity groups and prioritize the placement of qualified participants into executive roles in areas where representation of the relevant group is lower than workforce availability;
  • give employees training on unconscious bias and anti-racism;
  • integrate discrimination as an explicit ground for appealing staffing decisions; and
  • review HR assessment tools to reduce potential for individual bias and subjectivity.

In addition to the above commitments in its DEI Strategy 2022, CSIS agreed to:

  • re-communicate the objective approach used to assign developing Intelligence Officers to work placements, including tenure;
  • receive input from the Commission as part of the review of its “right fit” policy;
  • retain an independent human rights specialist within 18 months, to review the DEI Strategy and public interest commitments in the settlement;
  • publish an executive summary of the specialist’s findings and recommendations; and
  • share the full report of the human rights specialist with the parties to the complaint and share responses to the recommendations with the Commission.

These commitments will foster CSIS’s goal of building a healthy and respectful workplace comprised of highly skilled employees who are truly representative of the diversity of Canadians.

The Commission looks forward to further collaboration with CSIS, and successful implementation of the settlement terms.

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Media Contacts

Canadian Human Rights Commission
Media Relations

Canadian Security Intelligence Service
Media Relations

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