Prepared by Shreeya A Pal; Shi Hui Yu; Edited by Samuel Francis Gills on August 8, 2022

With goal to eliminate even the slightest tinge of racism in the department, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has launched an “Anti-Racism Strategy” for 2021-2024.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) began investigating the department’s internal environment through an anti-racism lens in 2020. According to an employee survey, a significant proportion of racialized employees saw racism as a problem. In response, focus groups were held to gain a better understanding of the problem. The focus groups included 54 employees in total. The focus group findings can be summarized as follows:

  • Microaggressions, biases in hiring and promotion, and biases in program, policy, and client service delivery are all examples of racism at IRCC.
  • IRCC faces workplace culture challenges, such as unclear guidelines or training on how to handle reports of racism, a history of racism going unchecked, and a significant imbalance in racial representation in management.

In response to this report, IRCC launched its Anti-Racism Strategy for 2021-2024. During the first few months of 2022, suggestions for the Strategy’s direction were gathered from IRCC employees. IRCC’s Strategy first makes broad recommendations for the new Strategy in comparison to its predecessor. Thematic pillars of its action plan are then presented.

The following are some broad suggestions:

  • Anti-racism work will not be a box-ticking exercise if a multi-pronged and dedicated approach is not emphasized at all levels.
  • Begin with smaller, more concrete steps and set clear objectives and timelines for achieving milestones.
  • Owners of anti-racism files should consider contacting various sectors to get information and assess progress.
  • Make the strategy approachable by encouraging discussion and new ideas.
  • Pay particular attention to a variety of racist attitudes, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
  • Continue to hammer out anti-racist commitments, allocating resources to track progress and ensure that the issue is more than “talk.”
  • Include historical context about Canada’s immigration history, as well as the ongoing impact of immigration on Indigenous peoples.
  • Address Canada’s global role in racial equity: does IRCC have a responsibility to promote racial equity in countries from which Canada invites or does not invite immigrants and refugees?
  • Give specifics on how anti-racism workers will be institutionally assimilated and who they can turn to for advice.

IRCC also outlines the five pillars that will support the Strategy’s action plan. Each pillar, according to IRCC, designates a stream of work that will be addressed as a priority, soon.



Pillar 1: Ensure accountability for leadership

This pillar focuses on ensuring that formal accountability systems are in place to accomplish anti-racism objectives. The intention is to make sure that senior management will be held accountable for the outcomes and that anti-racism work is ingrained permanently into the IRCC’s structure.

Pillar 2: A workplace that is fair

This pillar pertains to people management elements that will aid in producing a workplace where everyone feels appreciated and at home. Eliminating obstacles to career advancement for colored workers and fostering inclusiveness in the workplace are the objectives.

Pillar 3: Creating policies and programs

This pillar specifically deals with IRCC’s systemic racism and bias in program and policy formulation. The objective is to better the anti-racist approach to designing new policies and program designs by understanding the biases and gaps in the current policy and program design.

Pillar 4: service provision

This pillar deals with how the IRCC implements policies and programs with applicants and outside partners while addressing systematic racism and bias. Understanding racism and bias in program delivery operations and IRCC officers’ decision-making is the objective, and tools are being developed and integrated to incorporate anti-racism into the service delivery process to address bias.

Pillar 5: Data and Analysis

This pillar deals with the generation of solid evidence to back anti-racism efforts. The objective is to make more information related to government-wide standards available to facilitate anti-racism analysis. The IRCC is aware that racism exists both outside and inside their organization in Canada. Through the eradication of racism in policies, programs, service delivery, and personnel management, their mission is to be an equitable and anti-racist organization and to improve the benefits of IRCC programs to Canadians and newcomers.

Check out Owlspriority Immigration’s Canada Settlement Resources to learn about finding employment in Canada, making your initial days stress-free, etc.

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