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Video: Jocelyne Bourgon Visiting Scholar Lecture: The Time is Now for Black Canadians in the Public Service

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In this powerful video, keynote speaker and inaugural visiting scholar Dr. Rachel Zellars examines the evolution of the application of merit criteria and its impact on different groups of employees in the context of equity, with a focus on Black public servants.

Duration: 01:52:54
Published: July 7, 2022
Code: INC1-V47

Event: Jocelyne Bourgon Visiting Scholar Lecture: The Time is Now for Black Canadians in the Public Service


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Jocelyne Bourgon Visiting Scholar Lecture: The Time is Now for Black Canadians in the Public Service

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Transcript: Jocelyne Bourgon Visiting Scholar Lecture: The Time is Now for Black Canadians in the Public Service

[The CSPS logo appears on screen.]

[A title screen appears, reading "Jocelyne Bourgon Visiting Scholar Lecture 2022."]

[The words fade to a black and white clip of Dr. Rachel Zellars walking towards a podium, with overlayed text reading "2022 Jocelyne Bourgon Lecture".]

[Text appears reading "Presented by".]

[Text appears reading "Dr. Rachel Zellars Ph. D.".]

[The video fades to full colour and Dr. Rachel Zellars begins speaking from behind a podium.]

Dr. Rachel Zellars Lecture:

In the spring of 2022, a Black woman named Kentanji Brown Jackson was nominated to the Supreme Court of the United States, the highest and most powerful judiciary in the United States. Her appointment was historic because

[A photo of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Ketanji Brown Jackson is shown.]

...she was the first Black woman nominated in the court's 230-year history.

But her appointment was also historic for a number of other important reasons: She is supremely qualified for the Supreme Court, with credentials from Harvard, twice, and breathtaking judicial experience. She is also, notably, the first nominee in history who has served as a public defender. In short, no one currently on the Supreme Court can touch her qualifications and experience.

By contrast, the last nominated judge...

[A photo of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Amy Coney Barrett is shown.]

Amy Coney Barrett, a white woman, had only briefly served as a judge before her nomination;

had never worked in government as a prosecutor, as a defence lawyer, a solicitor general, an attorney general, and, in fact, had never served as counsel to any legislative body. Her judicial record, prior to...

[A photo of Justice Barrett and 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump is shown.]

...being nominated by Donald Trump in 2020, is best described as wholly unexceptional for a justice.

As numerous political writers noted at the time, she was the most inexperienced person nominated to the Supreme Court in three decades. 

Still, during Judge Brown Jackson's nomination hearings...

[Photos of Republican senators Marsha Blackburn, Tom Cotton and Mitch McConnell scroll onto the screen.]

...Republican senators attacked her merit in ways so fantastic, so counterfeit, that conservative institutions and media loudly noted the dishonesty.

[A photo of Republican senator Ted Cruz appears on the screen.]

"Demagogic," one former prosecutor wrote.

Incessantly and painfully, over two days, the Supreme Court's first Black female nominee...

[A photo is shown of Justice Jackson wiping tears from her eyes.]

...was accused of assisting child pornographers and child rapists as her young daughters and husband sat silently behind her.

In the end, the leader of the Republican party concluded that Kentanji Brown Jackson simply did not have the necessary merit to serve on the most powerful court in the US.

But why? Why was this bar raised so impossibly high for a Black woman with more relevant experience than anybody else currently serving on the US Supreme Court?

The answer is a rather easy one.

The nomination hearing of the first Black woman to the highest court in the United States reminds us that merit is not a fixed-in-stone or step-by-step procedure, but rather an idea, a guiding principle. And merit, I insist, is best understood—most clearly and concretely understood—by its greatly uneven and discriminatory application, as a study of the history of merit in public service illustrates. 

Yes, yes: Merit is always guidance about qualifications or excellence or skills most relevant for a position. As the Public Service Commission has noted, "For most Canadians in the early 20th century, merit became shorthand for the competitive examination."

But merit is, in reality, both an institutional safeguard and algorithm, administered by those in power, reflective of the social norms and dominant modalities of discrimination in our society. Merit is, historically, malleable and unsettled.

As such, the merit bar will be lifted high for those who face the greatest discrimination in a society, just as it was for Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson, because merit is not a concrete category, as so many mistakenly insist. Rather, merit is shaped well within the circle—inside of our racially unjust and discriminatory society, within our microcosmic institutions—rather than outside of it. And merit is shaped by all of the biases, unintentional and intentional, that live inside all of us.

Merit has also proven to be a powerful and distracting dog-whistle when institutions are confronted with demands for racial equity. Many have overheard colleagues express concerns with the quality of merit in conversations about expansive diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives...

[A new graphic shows the cover of a Government of Canada report titled Call To Action On Anti-Racism, Equity, And Inclusion In the Federal Public Service, dated January 22, 2021.]

...such as the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service.

When communicated in this context, the intimation is that targeted recruitments or other intentional initiatives to increase the numbers of Black leaders and public servants, as one example, will not only negatively impact merit, but also disadvantage white public servants and lower the quality of public service as a whole. Here, the term merit stands in for perceived unfair advantage to Black employees and applicants.

As departmental responses to the Call to Action have blossomed, so have suggestions that equitable policies, greater racial representation in leadership, and reckoning with the history of anti-Blackness will somehow diminish or lessen the sturdiness of merit in public service. To be clear, this tactic is not new. Rather, it is one that is commonly used to silence complaints of harm or abuse, or simply assertions of fundamental Charter rights, from those most marginalized in public service.

Over the last century, the merit principle in public service has served as a deeply imperfect ideal, at times used expansively and even discriminatorily. It is also, always, a reflection of our times.

But I am a researcher. I am interested in the unique way that merit has been used over the last century to exclude Black Canadians from public service during the very moments when their inclusion should have been an easy consideration, in light of all of the accommodations historically made for other groups of Canadians.

[A black and white photo of the Canadian parliament buildings in Ottawa is shown. The photo slowly fades into colour.]

We don't talk very much about how public service came to be or how it has changed over the last century.

As someone who has been a gracious visitor to public service as a research fellow and public scholar at the Canada School of Public Service, I have often wondered how competitions became the way that most public servants get hired; and then also, how merit became the governing standard of evaluation for hiring and promotion.

These questions seem all the more important in light of our current moment, one in which the nation's largest employer, for the first time in its history, is undergoing systems-wide changes designed to advance those who have not been in its top leadership positions before. Changes that, as the Call to Action states, are designed to...

..."Do better by ensuring that government is putting the full capacity of our entire pool of talent at the service of Canadians."

Public service as a profession predates 1908 and has come a long way...

[An image of the cover of The Civil Service List of Canada 1868 is shown.]

... since the first Civil Service Act of 1868. For example, in the 19th century, ministers did what they wanted and although competition was a guiding principle, as one scholar notes, public service provided an examination...

[Text is shown of the quote "... only the completely illiterate failed." – Luc Juillet and Kenneth A. Rasmussen.]

so rudimentary that "only the completely illiterate failed."

The Civil Service Acts of 1882 and 1908 aimed to do much better.

These two amended Acts set out to confront another enormous foundational challenge to public service; that is, the problem of patronage.

[A photo of "Whither Are We Drifting?" by John Wilson Bengough is shown]

Patronage, by definition, is an exchange of political favours; a form of political nepotism, if you will. But it was, above all things, the first preferential quota system in public service...

[A wall of photos of Deputy Heads of Departments from 1892 is shown]

... that white Canadian men (dominantly Anglophone) directly, and almost exclusively, benefitted from.

Beginning in 1882, with the MacInnes Royal Commission, two components of public service were borrowed from the British system and made our own: The first was open, competitive examinations, and then secondly merit, specifically, hiring and promotion by merit.

The notion of merit was based on the liberal belief that a man, literally a white man, must have the ability to succeed or fail according to his own efforts and abilities. Merit was also an attempt to safeguard public service from accusations of political partisanship and unbridled patronage.

[Text is shown of the quote "19th century liberalism depended on healthy, white, male bodies that could work, consume, govern themselves and others." – David Banoub.]

As one historian writes, "Nineteenth-century liberalism depended on healthy, white, male bodies that could work, consume, govern themselves and others." These ideal liberal bodies were the same ones that were assumed to make up Canada's civil service.

The commission authors archived their thoughts and intentions in 1881. And they were deeply concerned about the impacts of discrimination and preferential treatment on the self-esteem and performance of young white men entering public service at the turn of the century; men who were not given the opportunity to compete and earn promotions based alone on their hard work and abilities "become discouraged, they lose their self-respect and hope for the future," they wrote. "Such injustice," they added, "destroys all incentive to emulation and all desire to excel."

Despite this awareness and warnings, the system of patronage continued.

And so, in 1907...

[A photo of John Courtney is shown.]

... another Royal Commission was formed, led by John Courtney, deputy minister of finance in the Laurier government. During this time, the Courtney Commission introduced the quality of public service that has been long touted as a truism: Public service is where you make your career. It is where your options are boundless and also, where choice serves as an expression of protection and agency. "Where under continual appraisement," as the commissioners wrote in 1907, one should "be eligible for promotion to any position, to any division of the public service."

Again, the commission authors emphasized the creation of a service that would not discourage or psychologically deter "young men of great efficiency" from swiftly moving up the ranks of public service. To safeguard these values and best prevent political nepotism, on September 1, 1908...

[An image of the cover of the Report of the Commissioners by the Civil Service Commission, 1908 is shown.]

the Public Service Commission (then called the Civil Service Commission) was born. In 1908, merit, as one scholar writes, was "shorthand for a new method to staff the public service," but the principle was "never easily defined."

The next series of amendments to the Civil Service Act that took place in 1918 squarely addressed the continuing problem of patronage: political nepotism.

The Act attempted to "establish a universal merit system by making all recruitment the responsibility of a truly independent Civil Service Commission responsible only to Parliament."

Still, this amended Act did not explicitly define merit or the merit principle.

The categories of those deemed meritorious and unmeritorious, who belongs and who does not, are never hard to determine.

In fact, these categories are always very easy to ascertain because they are bound within a nation's history and all of its "bundles of silences," as historian Michel-Rolph Trouillot might say, that are essential to the status quo.

The application of merit, I've learned, is a clarifying prism of all that is amiss with us humans and our tendencies to see and treat some people [as] more or less important— some better, smarter, capable and more included than others.

At the start of the 20th century, women, Black and Indigenous Canadians and, to a lesser degree, French Canadians, were not welcome in public service.

But it would be wrong to simply conflate these groups together as mere "outsiders" to public service. White women and French Canadians, indeed, had an early, yet diminished, presence in government at the turn of the 20th century.

As Kathleen Archibald...

[An image of the cover of Sex and the Public Service is shown.]

notes in her influential study, "Sex and the Public Service," between 1901 and 1967, the percentage of women...

[A graphic showing the percentage of women in the public service in 1901 and 1967 appears.]

... in public service expanded from 2% to 27% of all public servants.

Black and Indigenous People were simply excluded. Black and Indigenous People are part of this nation's "founding violence," the violence of settler colonialism, genocide and slavery, that Canada relied upon over centuries. And this radical exclusionary violence was foundational to the public service as well.

Such violence against Black public servants has remained a disinterested subject and unyielding logic, despite all of the ways that merit has been changed, broadened and accommodated to make way for various groups of white Canadians over the last century.

The much more difficult questions regarding the principle of merit are this: How and why have its categories shifted over time? If merit is, as I insisted at the start, unfixed, malleable, unsettled, then what role does it play in shaping institutions? And with the Call to Action's forward-facing approach to confronting anti-Blackness in the public service, what might a study of merit reveal about the particular intractability of anti-Blackness over the last 100 years?

This history of the flexibility in application of merit in public service provides a brilliant starting point for answering these questions. And specifically, the treatment of merit in relationship to Canadian veterans, women and French Quebecers is illustrative of the design to exclude Black Canadians from participation in public service.

[A new graphic shows text "Veterans".]

Veterans

After the First World War, preferential access was given to veterans for jobs in the federal civil service...

[A photo of soldiers marching is shown.]

and, over time, 55,000 veterans benefited from this measure to help them reintegrate into society.

However, as scholars have noted, this meant that women were discriminated against...

[Text is shown of the quote "Veterans were given special privileges that also ranked them ahead of more meritorious non-veterans on eligibility lists" – Luc Juillet and Kenneth A. Rasmussen.]

...at the same time that "Veterans were given special privileges that also ranked them ahead of more meritorious non-veterans on eligibility lists."

The justification for this preferential treatment was a really important one: As citizens were demanded more of by the state, more demands were made upon the state by its citizens: and access to public service, or a guarantee of employment, became this offering.

"During the war, the state asked, and eventually legislated, that its citizens die for its service," one scholar explained.

As a result, three preferred categories of individuals were created.

Pensioned veterans who had been injured during the war were given priority. Secondly, veterans who had been on active duty. And thirdly, widows of soldiers killed during the war.

Disabled veterans were granted first preference, resulting in a higher placement on the eligibility list from which public servants were hired when there was an opening. Not only did the government create preferred categories that contradicted merit, but also a ranking system allowed a veteran who received a minimum passing mark to be prioritized above non-veterans who received better scores.

This preferential schema both contradicted and diminished the principle of merit by ensuring that the most qualified candidates, by way of competition, certainly would not always be chosen.

[Text is shown of the quote "This preferential category broadened the definition of merit." – Luc Juillet and Kenneth A. Rasmussen.]

This preferential category broadened the definition of merit.

However, I want to push this analysis a bit further. The decision to prioritize male veterans who had been injured in war created a preferential category that amplified both the acceptance of discrimination broadly in public service, as well as the cardinal character of anti-Blackness within public service.

Here is what I mean:

[A photo of the Colored Hockey League is shown.]

Black Canadians have been part of this nation since the 17th century...

[A photo of Black women standing outside Ontario House is shown.]

... creating communities, sacred institutions and...

[A photo of a Black man playing a double bass is shown.]

... distinct cultures from coast, to coast, to coast. Black Canadians served in the First and Second World Wars by the thousands. Yet, they were excluded from the veteran's preference category for the same positions in public service promised to white veterans.

To briefly highlight a well-known example: Over 800 Black men served with the No. 2 Construction Battalion during the First World War...

[A photo of five soldiers from the No. 2 Construction Battalion is shown.]

... and another 700 joined other units and served overseas. This last figure is important, given the extreme prejudice that existed with those in charge of military enlistment during the First World War. As historian Melissa Shaw writes in her article about the No. 2 Battalion, when local commanding officers denied this fundamental privilege of citizenship to Black men, Black Canadians responded directly by "using a variety of political activist methods and strategies to articulate their demands for full inclusion in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces."

[A photo of three soldiers is shown.]

Canadians such as Oliver Johnson, born in 1892 in Oakville, Ontario. He was drafted in 1918, arrived in England the next year and was posted to the 8th Reserve Battalion. He was discharged in August of 1919 and unable to find steady employment back at home.

[Text is shown of the quote "As with many veterans after the First World War, work was very hard to find, especially if you were Black." – Kathy Grant.]

As his biographer wrote, "As with many veterans (after the First World War), work was very hard to find, especially if you were Black."

Canadians also...

[A photo of Jeremiah Jones is shown.]

... like Jeremiah Jones of East Mountain, Nova Scotia, who enlisted with the 106th Battalion in 1916 and was injured in the battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917, where 10,000 soldiers died. He was discharged from the Army in 1918. And Despite his service and permanent injuries, he was not prioritized for a position in the public service.

Historian Kathy Grant estimates that between 3,000 and 4,000 Black Canadians served in the First and Second World Wars.

But these thousands of veterans returned to communities where they faced segregation and discrimination in every area of social life, especially employment. These proud men were not afforded preferential access for jobs in the federal civil service, as were white veterans. Were Black women hired into good permanent positions in public service after their husbands were killed in battle so they could become breadwinners for their children? Or were their children taken away when they fell indigent in a society that failed to evenly honour its promises during a time of great scarcity, as was the case with countless Black women in the early 20th century. This, for instance...

[A photo of Louise Little is shown.]

was the reality for Louise Little, the French-speaking mother of Malcolm X, who had worked in Montreal before migrating to the United States.

As Melissa Shaw concludes, after the war, many Black Canadians were forced to come to terms with "the reality of race politics in Canada.

They had helped to win the war, but in their efforts to do so, they lost vital home-front battles. Many also felt as though they had conceded to Jim Crow in the military."

The war, she added, "Gave them a clearer understanding of Canada as a particular type of racialized state."

The principle of merit expanded widely to create a preferential category for white Canadian veterans and their widows during the First World War.

But Black men served Canada and paid her with their bodies and lives, too. Yet, for these Black veterans, the bar of merit was raised impossibly high in order to prevent Black men and their families from receiving the material benefits the state designated for white veterans.

It is very tempting to relegate this history to a bygone era of Canadian racial intolerance, but I want to encourage us to think of this lineage of trauma in both subjective and material terms. History is littered with examples of disproportionate Black disadvantage and denial during times of social crises, where the state has specifically created welfare benefits meant to directly ameliorate the suffering and losses of its citizens.

A photo of people standing in a room is shown.]

The $30-million Halifax Relief Commission fund, established...

[A photo of women walking in an area destroyed by the Halifax Explosion is shown.]

...in the aftermath of the 1917 Halifax Explosion, is one well-known example.

[A photo of The 1935 Social Security Act being signed in the United States is shown.]

The 1935 Social Security Act in the United States is another.

In both examples, Black citizens were categorically excluded from receiving these benefits at a tremendous cost that stretched well beyond one generation.

And so, history reminds us that, in these moments, when Black people within a nation-state are cast beyond the circle of citizenry, racial discrimination is reified and strengthened at both the institutional and individual levels. In short, Black people's rightful claims as citizens have not been honoured throughout history and these material exclusions augment the economic losses and poverty of Black survivors in the decades following, across generations. 

This, too, was the case with the veterans' preference in public service. What did the withholding of jobs cost vulnerable Black veterans and their families in financial terms? How does one begin to rightly measure those losses over time and generations? And, in light of the corrective measures the Call to Action sets out to undertake, how does one meaningfully correct this part of our history?

What is certain is that...

[A photo of Canada's 8th Prime Minister, Robert Borden speaking to a group of soldiers is shown.]

...Prime Minister Robert Borden knew, at the end of the war, that "his countrymen were still not prepared to grant equality to substantial numbers of Black men." Yet, his archival papers from 1918 point to something more insidious as well: his intention to keep Black Canadians out of public service. In a correspondence with Cabinet minister Francis Keefer, Prime Minister Borden refers to Black people as a "backward race" and adds that he greatly feared the "difficulty of dealing with the coloured population who, if brought into federal service, would probably desire and perhaps insist upon representation in Parliament."

The history of diversity, equity and inclusion in public service has been often communicated as a competition between sexes over the last century: men and women, disabled veterans at the expense of women and those who had lost their husbands to war. But these polarized categories have created a fragmentary narrative of diversity in public service, one that has obscured its treatment of Black Canadians, as well as the birdcage of discrimination shaped by our history over centuries. It has also, again and again, reintroduced a one-dimensional notion of Black life into public service; one that made the humanity of a Black disabled man or a Black disabled French-speaking employee beyond the imagination. And yet, we have, in all of our fullness, always been right here.

[A new graphic shows text "Women".]

Women

From its inception, the Civil Service Commission openly denied the merit of white women and acknowledged that their policies were based on sexual prejudice.

[A photo of a woman sorting papers is shown.]

White women who were hired were disproportionately confined to the lowest positions...

[A photo of women using typewriters is shown.]

...in public service; at the time, primarily clerical positions.

[Text is shown of the quote "...make public service more attractive to male candidates" – Luc Juillet and Kenneth A. Rasmussen.]

This was intentionally designed to "make public service more attractive to male candidates" and to also allow male clerks to move up the hierarchy free of competition from equally, and in some cases, much more qualified, female candidates. These actions were designed to preserve the status quo and not disrupt the patriarchal norms that existed outside of public service as well as within it.

[Text is shown of the quote "The feminization of clerical work at the lowest ranks of public service established and reified the place of women within government early on." – Luc Juillet and Kenneth A. Rasmussen.]

As one scholar notes, the feminization of clerical work at the lowest ranks of public service established and reified the place of women within government early on. It also made a myth of the idea that a career in public service led to unlimited opportunities and advancements by way of one's own talents, hard work and abilities. The messaging was clear: Women could be as brilliant and hardworking as they wanted, but they assuredly would never have the same opportunities as white men. As one scholar insightfully noted, the confinement of white women to clerical work and entry-level positions also incentivized the recruitment of white men into the middle and senior ranks of public service from outside of public service.

Again, public service reflected the stereotypes and discriminatory socio-sexual norms of its time, a time when women were encouraged never to travel alone and were thought to be too fragile to carry heavy boxes or files as part of their jobs.

[An image of the cover of the First Annual Report of the Civil Service Commission is shown.]

In its very first report to Parliament, the Civil Service Commission observed that women were much more eager to work in government, in all of its divisions, for the salaries the government was willing to pay. Yet, they were excluded from the higher first and second divisions, and felt the negative effects of the disregard for their merit as applied to their skills, talents and sex.

Although they were hired in large numbers during the First and Second World Wars, they remained confined to the lowest levels of service and were unjustly "expected to vacate their positions in favour of returning veterans."

All of this, despite the government's own reporting that "there are women who have quite as good executive ability as men, and who might, on the mere grounds of personal qualification, fill the higher positions" of public service. These women...

[Text is shown of the quote "... were well qualified on the grounds of ability alone to fill the position." – Luc Juillet and Kenneth A. Rasmussen.]

...they wrote, were "well qualified on the grounds of ability alone to fill the position."

Restrictions for women continued, despite the increased numbers that entered public service during the war. In 1921, for example, women were barred from permanent positions and were forced to resign as soon as they married. This legal provision lasted until 1955.

Systems-wide changes began in the 1960s...

[A photo of the Public Service Employment Act of 1967 being signed is shown.]

...when the Public Service Employment Act of 1967 added "sex" to the grounds of prohibited discrimination in relation to the right to prescribe selection standards. In 1974, "marital status" and "age" were also added, and an Office of Equal Opportunity for women was opened. Two historic reports—...

[Images of the covers of the Report of the Royal Commission on The Status of Women in Canada and Sex and the Public Service are shown.]

... a Royal Commission on the Status of Women and a paper entitled "Sex and the Public Service"—had great influence in galvanizing government support for institutional changes for women. The Public Service Commission also committed itself to increasing both the number of women in public service as well as the number of women in leadership positions. As such, it built upon or created three affirmative-action incentives to support this goal.

"First: It involved more women in the career assistance program; Secondly: It made sure that women's volunteer experiences were rated in the same manner as other relevant experience; and thirdly: It developed new, small courses for women while removing any male-only restrictions from career areas."

It is striking that the policies, developed over time, and particularly through the 1960s, did not centre Black and racialized women in any meaningful capacity.

[A photo of Black people marching is shown.]

In the 1960s, the nation was home to more than 30,000 Black Canadians.

[A photo of people standing outside a building is shown.]

Between 1955 and 1965, federal and provincial departments recruited Black women from the West Indies into blue-collar...

[A photo of people dressed formally is shown.]

...and to a lesser extent, semiprofessional, positions in places like Montreal. Importantly, by 1965...

[A photo of a group of people is shown.]

Quebec was home to 2,000 French-speaking Haitian men and women: highly skilled and educated...

A photo of a man sitting behind an office desk is shown.]

...doctors, nurses, technicians, professors, and writers who had migrated from Haiti.

As white women entered the workforce in greater numbers between 1930 and 1960 to undertake professionalized gendered work as clerks and secretaries, a shortage of domestic workers arose throughout the country. And so, beginning in 1955...

[Two pages of documents from the Department of Citizenship and Immigration are shown.]

...the Department of Citizenship and Immigration implemented the West Indian Domestic Scheme and recruited 3,000...

[A photo of two women is shown.]

...primarily middle-class and educated Black women to work in the homes of wealthy white Canadians, with the allure of citizenship eligibility after five years. As many scholars of this history have documented, Black women were mundanely paid far less than the minimum wage, worked indecently long hours, and were subject to racial and sexual violence as the norm.

As scholar Robyn Maynard has noted, in a multicultural era where race could no longer be openly used to deny labour rights to non-white workers, "immigration status served the same purpose."

Where were the comparable affirmative-action initiatives for the many thousands of Black Canadian, French-speaking Haitian, and West Indian women that Canada had recruited into temporary positions? Where were the equivalency incentives for Black women's domestic service, as had been similarly provided to allow white women to seamlessly enter public service? Were highly educated and experienced Haitian women hired into top government positions? During our moment, where departments are scrambling to collect disaggregated data sets for the first time in the history of the public service, one might ask, where is the government data that documented the great demographic diversity for these large numbers of Black women in Canada in the 1960s?

Out of the dozens of consultants who provided qualitative and quantitative information to the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, and with nearly 500 consultations, the authors included no information by or about Black women, nor consulted with any of the hundreds of Black-led organizations, community centres and churches that existed throughout Canada in 1970. Although consultations were made in Quebec, no efforts were made to include the voices of Haitian women, many of whom were visible organizers and leaders in their communities.

Kathleen Archibald's much-cited study does make brief mention of Black people. But here, Black people appear only as a prop to bolster the case for a research category entitled "The typical effect of discrimination on earnings." In a few lines, the author employs a tactic commonly employed by white feminists of the era: the comparison of racial discrimination experienced by the "Negro" in order to highlight and validate discrimination faced by white women on the basis of sex. In the end, Black women's lives remain wholly invisible within this formative study in public service.

Text is shown of the quote "Women and veterans represent two groups of potential employees that expose the contested nature of merit." – Luc Juillet and Kenneth A. Rasmussen.]

As one scholar summarized, "Women and veterans represent two groups of potential employees that expose the contested nature of merit." For Black women, however, these histories foreshadow how high the bar of merit would be raised for them in the future.

[A new graphic shows text "French Quebecers".]

French Quebecers

If white, male bodies were the ideal civil servant, they were also initially imagined as Anglophone.

While white men were deemed meritorious in public service, the higher levels of employment were historically reserved for those with advanced and university education—access that was unobtainable to large numbers of French Quebecers in the early 20th century. 

One scholar notes that "This approach contained a not-so-subtle class bias, but also clear regional and language biases because of the underdeveloped nature of higher education" in Quebec and also other provinces in the early 20th century. Additionally, public service "exams continued very much to reflect the Anglo-American tradition, even translated into French, making it difficult for those growing up in the more classic French system in Quebec to compete."

In Canada, wealth, access, and a long history of domination by the British and the Catholic church converged to create enormous educational, social and class disparities between French Canadians and English-speaking Canadians before the Quiet Revolution. And these same discriminatory tensions, like those of race, were mapped into the infrastructure of public service and the principle of merit. In short, class and linguistic biases were also founding biases within the public service.

[A photo the Royal Commission of Bilingualism and Biculturalism is shown.]

In 1969, in fact, the authors of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism documented, "the precipitous decline of the French-speaking proportion of the total Public Service after the establishment of the Civil Service Commission." Francophones they wrote, "made up about 22 per cent of all federal employees in 1918, but less than 13 per cent in 1946." Over time, this lessened representation was also seen in the senior ranks of the public service.

This area of history reveals a challenge that merit has continually faced within public service: the attempt to get rid of one kind of discrimination—here, patronage—produced another; that is, a shrinking representation of French Canadians in public service.

[A photo of Canada's 14th Prime Minister, Lester B. Pearson is shown.]

In 1966, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson famously stated that, "The linguistic and cultural values of the English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians will be reflected through civil service recruitment and training."

[A photo of Canada's 15th Prime Minister, Pierre Elliott Trudeau is shown.]

A few years later, this sentiment was also endorsed by Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau when he noted that, "Canadians whose mother tongue is French should be adequately represented in the public service, both in terms of numbers and in levels of responsibility."

On February 1, 1966, the Civil Service Commission announced that bilingualism would be a merit factor in appointments in the National Capital area. Second-language skills, or the willingness to acquire them within a given period of time through language training at public expense, would be an element of merit.

Two pages from the Official Languages Act are shown.]

Three years later, in 1969, the federal Official Languages Act made French and English the official languages of Canada.

Yet, it is clear that the French speakers these prime ministers and royal commission authors had in mind were white, despite a racially diverse French-speaking population in Canada in the 1960s. And there is, of course, one diverse French-speaking population that was integral to Quebec's social and economic growth in the 1960s and 70s, at the very time that "Quebec was in need of qualified French-speaking professionals."

The arrival of elite Haitians, doctors, nurses, technicians, professors and writers occurred at a time when the province was undergoing radical changes associated with the Quiet Revolution. By 1967, Montreal alone was home to 131 Haitian doctors, ten times the number of Haitian psychiatrists than in Port-au-Prince, and more Haitian nurses in Canada than in the Haitian capital.

As historian Sean Mills notes, the first wave of Haitian migrants, highly educated and possessing technical and professional skills that were very much in demand, integrated relatively well into a rapidly transforming Quebec society. In the 1960s, Quebec's public and para-public sectors grew rapidly. They were in need of qualified personnel and so its institutions welcomed the arrival of highly skilled and educated Haitians. Quebec recognized their professional qualifications and by 1965 more than 2,000 Haitians lived in Quebec.

Haitians in the 1960s were generally sympathetic to Quebec's nationalism. This, perhaps surprising kinship arises from a history that stands alone in the 400-year history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade: Haitian people led the only successful...

[An image of the painting The Battle for Palm Tree Hill by January Suchodolski, is shown.]

...insurrection against their white enslavers beginning in 1791. As one Haitian writer living in Montreal in the 1960s explained so clearly...

[Text is shown of the quote "Since we believed in the self-determination of peoples, we could not but be sympathetic to the nationalist cause in Quebec." – Sean Mills.]

..."Since we believed in the self-determination of peoples, we could not but be sympathetic to the nationalist cause in Quebec."

Yet, history does not reveal such reciprocity in the context of French Canadians' struggles for inclusion and representation within public service, either from inside or outside of government. This, despite the tremendous social, cultural and economic contributions that Haitians made to Quebec during its own Quiet Revolution.

And why? How do we, together, understand the complexities of discrimination encountered by French Canadians within the nation and within public service; the complex relationship between French Quebecers and Haitians; and the exclusion of Haitians from public service? And all of this at the very moment that advocacy for their participation would have seemed integral?

Here is one angle: French Quebecers, as historian Sean Mills argues, have always maintained what he refers to as a "liminal position" within the nation. "On the one hand," he writes, "They could be racialized and marginalized by more powerful interests, namely Anglophone Canada and the British; but on the other hand, they nonetheless possessed the power and privilege of whiteness" and an attendant paternalism towards Black peoples, both at home and abroad, as Quebec's extensive missionary history in Haiti evidences.

"When the Quiet Revolution began, it arose within the context of global anti-colonial movements premised on a shared effort of displacing a structure power, that Quebecers adopted as their own," Mills argues. French Canadians were themselves...

[A photo of people holding protest signs is shown.]

...descendants of white colonizers. And despite insisting during the Quiet Revolution upon being "les Nègres blancs,"...

[An image of a poster displaying a fist and text that reads "Maintenant ou Jamais! Maîtres chez nous" is shown.]

...they were, both by colour and power, white.

An image of the cover of the Report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism is shown.]

When the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism submitted its final report and recommendations to the Canadian government, it did so with a shared understanding of whiteness, one that did not include Haitians within the categories of Francophone or French Canadian, and one, importantly, that had no consideration for the participation of French-speaking Haitians in federal public service.

Many have asked: Why the focus on Blackness in this moment? I believe the answer to that question lies in history, our nation's history, of course. But also, the history of public service.

Other than as a blip, quite literally, a few lines, in the documented history of public service, Black people appear nowhere. But we are here. Everywhere in this nation. As we have been for centuries.

One of the things I have learned from the hundreds of Black and racialized public servants who have been my teachers over the last few years, both in interviews and offline conversations, is how closely they have paid attention to all that has been promised and attempted before. In fact, I have learned which task force documents, which royal commissions, which books and institutional histories, regulations and commissioned studies, to gather and read from these ongoing conversations. Importantly, I have learned that Black public servants hold an understanding, a well-articulated and observed knowledge, that has been woefully untapped, under-amplified and under-utilized in government.

This knowledge of these public servants has been acquired through stalled decades-long careers, through colleagues who resist and resign, and through friends who enter and then quickly leave public service for the private sector.  

And so, while these shared narratives of resistance and exclusion do not have a royal commission to quantify and contain them, I have learned to listen very closely, more than I speak.

[A photo of a group of soldiers is shown.]

After the First and Second World Wars, Black Canadians became veterans by the thousands. But they were not prioritized for preferential access for jobs in the federal civil service. Those positions were reserved for white veterans.

Black Canadian women were a culturally diverse multitude of many thousands in 1960s Canada. And yet, they were not included for consideration in the large-scale studies then commissioned to meaningfully integrate the nation's women into public service for the first time in history. And aren't we women, too?

[A photo of a woman holding a protest sign is shown.]

As Black and women of colour feminists taught the world in the 1970s and 1980s through their writings and activism, the challenge with institutional change hinges on the deep-rooted presumption that "all the women are white and all the Blacks are men." As such, Black Canadian women did not benefit from the affirmative-action initiatives that were created for white women in public service.

During the Quiet Revolution, Francophones were also a culturally and racially diverse multitude of thousands in this nation. Yet, the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism set out as its authors wrote, to "Develop the Canadian Confederation partnership on the basis of an equal partnership between the two founding races,"both understood to be white. Thus, thousands of Black Canadian Francophones remained beyond the national imaginary and outside of public service.

As a dear mentor, an elder historian who studies Black migration in the 19th century, once said to me: "We can understand what people believed and valued by paying close attention to what they did, how they behaved. Follow the bodies, Rachel."

Canada's body of founding violence lies in the histories of slavery and settler colonialism, two systems of domination that have uniquely, and without rival or reproduction, shaped the lives of Black and Indigenous Peoples for centuries. And the lineage of these founding forms of violence has endured within all of our nation's institutions. Public service is not an outlier or an exception.

There were many, many moments in the history of our nation's public service when Black Canadians should have been included. We, too, are veterans, women, French speaking; and we are queer and disabled and working class. Recently, reports, strategies, demographic data and legislation have been created to reckon with the exclusion of people with disabilities and LGBTQ2+ people from public service. This ongoing work is necessary, and urgent. And as this work moves forward, we must be deliberate about understanding how racism shapes other areas of equity and inclusion work, too. To be explicit: In this crucial moment, we must be very careful not to replicate the past with the biased presumption that all disabled peoples, all LGBTQ2+ people, are white.

Here is what I know: As a Black, cis-queer, neurodiverse woman from a working-class rural family, only one of those identities would have certainly precluded my career in public service over the last century.

I know this because I have followed my mentor's advice: I have paid close attention to what has been done, how public service has behaved since it began. I have, indeed, followed the bodies.

So. That is the answer to why Blackness needs its own focus, its own attention, its own study, its own legs at this moment in the history of public service. Follow the bodies.

This is the best way, I believe, to do what the Call to Action urges public servant leaders to do. And that is to encourage and support the voices that have long been marginalized in our organization; to create opportunities where they have long been absent. We must take direct, practical actions to invoke change. This is a true test of leadership and one we must head on. Now.

[Text sequentially appears and fades out reading:

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Panel Discussion

[John Medcof appears in a video chat panel.]

John Medcof: Hello and welcome, everyone. My name is John Medcof, I'm the lead faculty at the Canada School of Public Service, and I will be leading the discussion today following Dr. Zellars' enlightening presentation.

Before we begin, though, it's very important to me personally just to take a moment to acknowledge that I'm participating in this event from the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe People, and I know that many of you may be joining us from various parts of the country and would therefore encourage you to pause for a moment to recognize and acknowledge the territory that you are occupying.

We appreciate all of you being with us here today for the Jocelyne Bourgon Visiting Scholar Lecture: The Time is Now for Black Canadians in the Public Service. I'm very much looking forward to this conversation, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to share the virtual stage today with our three panellists.

[Medcof, and panelists Dr. Zellars,Paula Folkes-Dallaire and Gaveen Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

I'm pleased to welcome Dr. Zellars, as well as Paula Folkes-Dallaire and Gaveen Cadotte, for what I'm sure will be a thought-provoking discussion.

Dr. Zellars is the visiting scholar at the Canada School of Public Service. She is a lawyer, senior research fellow and assistant professor in the Department of Social Justice and Community Studies at Saint Mary's University. Paula Folkes-Dallaire is the director general of the Washington sector with Public Services and Procurement Canada at the Embassy of Canada to the United States. And Gaveen Cadotte is the vice-president of the policy and communications sector of the Public Service Commission. Welcome.

Perhaps I'll start our discussion today with a question for Dr. Zellars.

[Text reading "Why this research on the principle of merit?" appears on the screen.]

Dr. Zellars, I remember one of our first conversations when you joined the School and you spoke about the important research you wanted to undertake while in your role as visiting scholar. And so could you maybe help frame our conversation today by telling us why you chose this topic for your focus and what you hope it will be useful for both now and maybe in the future?

[Dr. Zellars appears in a video chat panel.]

Dr. Rachel Zellars: Yes, absolutely. You know, a few days ago, I opened The New York Times, as I do most mornings when I have my coffee, and I immediately noticed this beautiful front-page story about the history of Haiti, the revolution, but also the cost that the nation was forced to pay for freeing itself. And so it feels timely now, always timely, to invoke the name of Haitian historian Michel-Rolph Trouillot, who taught me this, for our purposes today. He taught me that history is the fruit of power. And that the ultimate mark of power lies in its invisibility.

So, when I began my tenure last fall as a research fellow, one of the things I was immediately struck with was a series of familiar, related questions that I began to hear everywhere I turned. When the subject of the Call to Action arose, so too did concerns about things like affirmative action targets, quotas. And one leader bluntly asked this question in a meeting that has stayed with me: What about the people? What about the people who will not be promoted if we promote Indigenous, Black and other racialized employees? Of course, the people, the people that I understood this leader to be referencing with such interest and concern are white public servants, the status quo.

And so I became really curious about the timing of these questions that coincided with this historic Call to Action and the work that departments were collectively undertaking to make public service a better place for Black, racialized and Indigenous public servants. These questions have two important things in common. First and foremost, they all relate back to this question of merit, the principle of merit in public service. But as someone who has spent literally a lifetime studying the way that power and whiteness behave in this part of the world, I recognized a familiar second theme: a fear that something is now being taken away or diminished. And that those who have maintained power and position for so long are now poised to lose some of both.

The fear is really familiar to me because over the last century, wherever racial minorities in North America have struggled for greater equity, white fear and resistance have followed. This is not at all hyperbole, but rather a historical pattern. And so I started reading backwards in time. That's how I describe it. Through the history of public service, through its reports, its royal commissions. To see what fruits of power I could find inside of an invisible history that no one had written about before. And that is the history of the merit principle and its relationship to Black people in Canada.

I learned three important things as I was reading back in time. First, I learned that the merit principle is really just that. It's a principle. It's a concept with guiding ideas about who best belongs in public service. It's never been fixed in stone. In fact, over the last century it has been malleable, deeply unstable, used in a discriminatory fashion even, and stretched as widely as possible in its meaning to make space for those that public service has unjustly excluded in the past. I've learned that public service has a long tradition of using preferential hiring, affirmative action targets and quotas to address and redress its own history of discrimination. So that's the first thing.

Secondly, I learned that public service was always committed to white bodies as the norm, initially male bodies. But later, through the advocacy work of second-wave feminists in the 60s, white women, too.

And then thirdly, I learned how hard public service has worked over the last century, clearly intentionally, to keep public service white and specifically to ignore the racist treatment of Black Canadians. And so with my research, I learned that the ultimate mark of power in public service very much lies within this hidden history. This history matters profoundly. And I want to explain why. It matters profoundly, not because merit is sexy or because merit is meaningful as some long-standing or cherished value. Rather, this history matters because what is most telling, what wields the most power in history are actually the stories that are not told. The stories that have been excluded and silenced, the tens of thousands, now millions of Black people who have been ignored by this country's largest employer since civil service began.

These stories, these exclusions reveal a version of the history of public service that few, if any, Canadians have ever heard before. And it's also one that is much more truthful than the other versions that currently exist. It's also a history I deeply, deeply believe that has to be revealed and spoken and widely shared and known throughout public service in order to accomplish what the Call to Action sets out to achieve.

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars, Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

So, to go back to where we started with your question, I want people to understand the structure of whiteness embedded within the long history of public service, absolutely. And a study of merit really illuminates that structure beautifully. I also want people to see what structural racism in practice looks like in public service.

And importantly, I want public servants to understand that preferential hiring, affirmative action, targets and quotas have always, always been used to address histories of exclusion and discrimination in public service, because that is what equity means. That is what equity demands. These kinds of practices and experimentations are also very much what public service must do to become more equitable for Black, racialized and Indigenous Canadians.

John Medcof: Thank you so much Dr. Zellars. I will now invite Gaveen and Paula to share their initial reflections, either on what we heard in Dr. Zellars' talk or based on your own observations and experiences in the public service. And Gaveen, perhaps I'll start with you.

Gaveen Cadotte: Yes, thank you. I would like to acknowledge that I am speaking to you from the traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe people.

[Cadotte appears in a video chat panel.]

First of all, wow, Dr. Zellars, Rachel. Your research on this topic is so important, so impressive. As I listened, a few things really struck me.

First, it seems to me that the argument that is often made is that a representative public service can be achieved simply with expanded access and a merit-based system, and that if people are worthy of merit and the system allows them to apply, this will hopefully be enough to improve representation. However, if we look at history, it indisputably shows that this perspective is clearly false, and we need positive measures to level the playing field for Black Canadians.

The Public Service Commission's audit of the representation of employment equity groups in public service recruitment highlights this as well. This audit showed that employment equity groups do not remain proportionally represented throughout the recruitment process. What's more, rates of representation of Black candidates decreased more than rates of other visible minority groups.

Another point that you raised in your remarks, Rachel, and that struck me as well, is that even when the public service was first recognizing the need for a representative public service in the 60s and 70s and programs were targeting French Canadians, Francophones, women, and Indigenous people, it took another decade for the same direction to be considered for Black people and other racialized groups.

And I guess another thing that really resonated for me was that, for decades upon decades, merit, how it was defined implicitly and explicitly and how it was assessed, had been decided by those who held power and privilege.

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars, Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

And as Luc Juillet and Ken Rasmussen's book entitled Defending a Contested Ideal points out, the merit system resulted in a public service that was dominated by English-speaking white males. And it was a system that was creating barriers for many Canadians. So if we go all the way back to 1882 and the review of the Civil Service Act, the notion of merit meant that meritorious candidates had to have the means to pay to take the public service entrance exam. They were male, they were without disability. They were of morally upstanding character as vouched for by an influential member of the community. This determination of merit and how it would be assessed excluded Black Canadians.

And then, you fast forward into the 1970s, it was reflected in men not seeing women's work experience as being equal because it was gained outside of the professional work environment, an environment from which women were often barred.

[Cadotte appears in a video chat panel.]

And it took the Public Service Commission writing a directive that explicitly told hiring managers to give the same weight to women's experience gained through volunteering as they would to men's work experience gained through paid work. And that started to bring about change.

And so today, there's this explicit Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service, calling upon leaders to take actions that will lead to systemic change by appointing Black people to and within the executive group, sponsoring and preparing Black public servants for leadership roles, supporting and recruiting Black people across all the regions of Canada. And this call really recognizes that the playing field is yet to be levelled and fair for Black people.

And just pulling from my own lived experience, I realized very early in my career that my very Blackness in and of itself would be seen as unprofessional. I would be fighting this bias my whole career. And as an example, it came first when a manager I really respected, really looked up to, looked at me one day and told me that I looked more professional after I changed my hair style to a long, bone-straight hairstyle instead of wearing my natural coils to work.

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars, Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

And this has repeated itself through many microaggressions, including once being told I was the perfect shade of brown, making me wonder how professional I would be deemed after summer vacation.

So this brings back some of that lived experience as you go through that history. And I would say that the last thing that struck me in listening to your talk, Rachel, and just preparing for today's panel, is the point that you made about merit sometimes being used as a caution against increasing diversity.

As someone who has spent a large part of her career in the field of human resources, I have witnessed negative reactions from the public when organizations, including the public service, have adapted staffing processes to target Black candidates or members of other equity-seeking groups. And this negative reaction almost always includes concern and questions about the quality of the talent. This fear is unfounded. The pool is full of qualified, talented Black people. I think it's important for all of us, as leaders in the public service, not to let this baseless fear stop us from putting in place good, positive measures to level the playing field for Black people.

So I'll leave it at that and give Paula a turn to react to the lecture.

Paula Folkes-Dallaire: Well, thank you very much, Rachel and Gaveen.

[Folkes-Dallaire appears in a video chat panel.]

First, I'd like to acknowledge that I am honoured to be located on the traditional territorial lands of the Powhatan Confederacy in Washington, D.C.

First, I believe Ms. Zellars has made history with her presentation today. This is the first time someone has addressed the question of merit as it is applied to Black people in the federal public service in Canada. This analysis is based on in-depth, meticulously documented research, and it shows how the concept of merit in the public service has been leveraged to favour some people and exclude Black people.

What struck me the most was seeing how merit has been used as a kind of sliding scale throughout history, like a limbo bar that is lowered to make it harder for some and raised to make it easier for others. It has never been used as a positive tool to promote equity for Black Canadians.

Merit has been applied in the federal public service not as an objective or absolute standard that can be safely navigated towards, but rather a conveniently malleable concept that has been defined and redefined and adapted according to the desires of the status quo.

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars, Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

The merit system is not designed to reward the individual performance of people from all skin colours and all walks of life. When it was first applied in pre-colonial times, merit was about how to more evenly distribute the desirable civil service positions among the so-called nobles or ruling classes to replace nepotism and the system of spoils. It was about making sure those groups who already had power and privilege retained it.

Following the First World War, we see that merit was reimagined in order to help some groups, for example, women and veterans, but never Black women or Black veterans. And just as Rachel mentioned, merit has been used intentionally to exclude Black people from the public service at the very times throughout history when our skills, education, knowledge, work ethic, lived and professional experiences were desperately needed.

[Folkes-Dallaire appears in a video chat panel.]

Now, of course, notions of which skills and abilities are meritorious can and should change over time to make for an ever more qualified and performant public service. We are in a digital age. We have a knowledge-based economy. We have higher levels of education across the population than ever before. The competencies and abilities assessed as part of merit shouldn't be static. But merit should never be defined or applied in such a way as to disadvantage equity- and merit-deserving groups.

A merit system calls for differences in performance to be the basis for allocating the rewards, such as hiring and promotion, rather than other non-merit factors. But there is an inherent assumption that performance occurs on a level playing field, which we know it does not. And so a person from a racialized or marginalized group who performs well does so in spite of the systemic racism and discrimination that exists. Instead of this performance being seen as even more merit-deserving because of the circumstances under which it was attained, other artificial, non-performance-based criteria and biases, both explicit and implicit, are inserted into the selection process in place of performance. This is done to allow those who hold power to make non-performance-based choices about who wins and who loses within the system. It allows for setting aside high performance in the merit decision in order to pursue sameness, which is seen as less risky because it's familiar and comfortable and well known.

Perhaps the best example from my lived experience is my first job in government, where I was recruited as an ES category, which is now EC. After a year, you're eligible for a promotion following an assessment of competencies. Competencies were rated out of seven, and my supervisor, finding my performance exceptional, gave me mostly sevens out of sevens and sixes out of sevens. My director at the time asked my supervisor to lower the scores, and my supervisor didn't understand why he would do such a thing because my supervisor was most knowledgeable about my work. And the director said, well, no one is that good. And I think what he really meant was, no Black person is that good.

And so my supervisor, being a person of high values and ethics, refused to lower the scores as the director asked. And so the director took it upon himself to lower the scores on the last page of my assessment booklet, and then my supervisor decided to write a dissenting opinion. And I still have that paper somewhere locked away in a box in storage in Ottawa. And sometimes I look back and say, look how far I've come over the last 20 years. And I would love to just post it on the wall so I could look at it as I get ready in the morning and get ready to face the day. But I won't do that because I don't want my children to see it. I want them to believe that public service is an employer of choice for all Canadians, including Black Canadians. Thank you.

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars, Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

John Medcof: Wow. Thank you. Thank you, Paula. Thank you, Gaveen. Thank you, Dr. Zellars,...

[Medcof appears in a video chat panel.]

...for these powerful opening reflections that will set the stage for our conversation today. Let me maybe open our panel discussion with a question that grounds us in the rich history that Dr. Zellars shared with us and that both Gaveen and Paula cited in their opening remarks.

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars,Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

One of the things that really struck me from today's lecture was its exploration on how deeply rooted these discriminatory concepts of merit are in the history of public service and our institutions and our documents. And it was fascinating to look at how this concept has evolved over the course of our national history. So my question to the three of you would be to ask,...

[Text reading "Diversity in relation to merit" appears on the screen.]

...where do you see diversity in relation to merit, and what does the relationship between merit and diversity over the last century reveal about its application? And maybe, Gaveen, I'll invite you to have the first word on this one.

Gaveen Cadotte: Sure. That's a great question. I see diversity and merit as inseparable. Now, I mean, the PSEA, the Public Service Employment Act, built this concept into the meaning of merit and how it's applied.

[Cadotte appears in a video chat panel.]

It's newer, but merit is meant now to be inclusionary. And this changed in 2005 when the PSEA was amended to include a definition of merit. So it took hundreds of years to do it, but there it is.

And so it now means that a person needs to meet essential qualifications, including official languages, but also asset qualifications, but importantly, current and future needs as defined by the public service. And as stated in the preamble of the PSEA, a representative public service is a desired outcome. And now we see this often being built into merit criteria, this organizational need to have representation of designated groups. So as an institution, the public service needs to be representative of the population in Canada. And there's a commitment now in the most recent changes to the PSEA that the Government of Canada is committed to an inclusive public service that's representative of Canada's diversity.

So, as Paula mentioned, and in Dr. Zellars', in Rachel's research, merit has been an evolving concept, and it's grown to include building a diverse team. It now recognizes that managers are not just hiring for the position, but for the organization, who will make the best team. And we know from data and research that diverse teams are the most productive teams.

I would also say that we need to go beyond diversity and aim for inclusion to really have full trust in the principle of merit. The playing field must be level for Black candidates.

And in your research, Rachel, it demonstrates that merit in the way that it was originally defined and applied, it was meant to exclude Black people. It was not envisioned for decades upon decades that Black people would be part of a professional, nonpartisan public service. And so this is why when we talk about systemic racism, we have to recognize this history and the untold history. And the Call to Action itself recognizes that racism is in our institutions, even with the noble principle of merit. From its inception in 1908, to decades later, it's failed as a system in building a representative public service. Rather, the system prioritized white, middle-class males without disabilities.

So the work is underway to redistribute this power across everybody in society and in the public service as an institution, so that there really is that level playing field. And last July, the Public Service Employment Act, as I mentioned, was amended and now has this explicit commitment. So it's time for us as leaders to really act upon that, really understand the history behind how this came to be in the system, but what we need to do in order to change that.

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars,Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

John Medcof: Great. Thank you, Gaveen. Paula, anything you'd want to add on this question?

Paula Folkes-Dallaire: Absolutely, John. So Rachel highlighted in her lecture...

[Folkes-Dallaire appears in a video chat panel.]

...how Black women from English-speaking Caribbean nations were recruited to come to Canada as domestic workers from 1955 to 1967. And this was done to fill a domestic labour shortage as white Canadian women were increasingly working outside of the home. Black domestic workers were paid less than anticipated and worked longer hours than most. And their many contributions to the cultural, economic, societal progress of Canada during those years are not well known or celebrated, and the true potential of many of those workers was never realized. But we know of one.

Many people don't know about the Honourable Jean Augustine, who emigrated from Grenada to Canada in 1960 after completing her year as a domestic worker, then enrolled at the University of Toronto and obtained a bachelor of arts and a master of education before becoming a school principal. And in 1993, she became the first Black Canadian woman elected to the House of Commons, and she was appointed to Cabinet in 2002.

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars,Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

Some women like Jean Augustine were able to overcome. But some Black women are still experiencing the impacts of such systems. According to the Labour Force Survey Supplement, in 2021, Black female workers were mostly concentrated in the health care and social assistance industry, with 33.8% reporting a job in this industry. That's 11.3 percentage points higher than the rest of the employed female population, at only 22.5%.

The same factors leading to this gap underpin the underrepresentation of Black employees in the federal public service, in my view. We find Black federal employees more frequently at entry and working levels. We see reduced representation at managerial and executive levels. The perception of merit, of who should receive the rewards, who should hold power, who deserves to serve, is informed by thousands of years of beliefs about elitism and supremacy.

Today we should ask ourselves, what abilities are we really evaluating when we select who can serve and lead? What abilities do we truly value when selecting who will ascend the ranks?

[Folkes-Dallaire appears in a video chat panel.]

It is not surprising that those who hold power have defined merit and apply it in a way that benefits the historical, existing power structure. The self-perpetuating system of self-preservation bears merit out of the rules and norms and historical archetypes of who is power deserving. Public service has always been a desirable and noble profession, a profession in high demand, in high regard. Public service is power: no matter what group and level you hold, the ability to make decisions that affect thousands or maybe millions of lives with a single signature.

It's very, very, very important at this point in history to prevent at all costs merit from being further instrumentalized and used against Black and Indigenous people in particular as a tool of discrimination. This has to stop. We can no longer ignore the fact that the Black population is on average a highly qualified group and capable not only of being part of the public service, but of leading within it.

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars, Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

John Medcof: Thank you Paula. Dr. Zellars, Gaveen's given us sort of a snapshot of what's going on in the Public Service Commission, where the latest thinking is. Paula has shared with us some moving stories, but also some data and statistics and key questions. Anything you'd like to add to this conversation here?

Dr. Rachel Zellars: Oh, man. Maybe just quickly, a few things. I mean, historically, it became clear for me doing research, reading everything, different studies, of course, I mentioned some royal commissions up front that are embedded into my research. It just became clear that public service and the notion of merit, it meant white. It did not mean excellent for large parts of our history. It meant white.

[Dr. Zellars appears in a video chat panel.]

And it meant specifically finding ways to include white veterans, white women, white French Quebeckers. And in the process of doing that, this is something that Luc Juillet and Ken Rasmussen point out in their book that Gaveen mentioned, in the process of doing that they tackled disability, in the context of veterans' preferences. Again, the early conceptions of disability and who constituted a veteran in public service, it meant white.

Public service was able to confront sexism and patriarchy in its integration of women into public service. Again, not only the struggles around sexism and patriarchy, but the group of women that public service valued and studied, it imagined to be white.

And then, in the case of French Quebeckers, tackling the issue of linguistic discrimination, other kinds of discrimination in the history of Quebec and in its relationship to the British Empire and the sort of duelling system of colonialism between the French and British. It imagined those struggles and the kind of linguistic discrimination that the Quiet Revolution and French Quebeckers made central to their work in that period of history. Public service saw whiteness in those struggles and in that advocacy and those bodies.

And so, just as one example, I mean, Paula touched on this. Thank you so much for mentioning that history. One example that really sticks with me is in the 60s and 70s, public service truly did move mountains to make space for women. And these are women who had little to no previous work or career experience. That's very important. They were women who became leaders in public service, women who became deputy ministers in public service. And within a very, very short period of time, women came to represent more than 50% of all public servants.

But as Gaveen pointed out, these women were white. They were not the tens of thousands of Black Canadians who were organizers, who were mothers, who were domestics, who were professionals, who made our educational institutions and our public schools excellent, who cleaned wealthy white Canadians' homes, who built their communities. In fact, we know that Black women were nowhere to be found in the two major studies the public service relied upon to move the needle forward in terms of policy and values for white women. So, in short, it's important to study back to see how intentional the exclusion of Black Canadians was in public service.

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars, Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

John Medcof: Yeah. Thank you for that reflection. And, you know, all three of you went back and spoke about some of these primary source documents that many of us have never had the opportunity, or we haven't gone to go back and look into those documents. And what we're seeing is really, I think, changing our perspective on what merit means. And the history is so important.

So in light of this history,...

[Text reading "Recruitment and retention of Black Canadians in the public service today" appears on the screen.]

...what does it mean for the recruitment and retention of Black Canadians in the public service? And Paula, perhaps I'll start with you.

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars,Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

Paula Folkes-Dallaire: Thank you John. I'll keep going with my statistics because I really like data and facts.

In 2021, 41.1% of Black Canadians aged 25 to 54 held a bachelor's degree or higher,...

[Folkes-Dallaire appears in a video chat panel.]

...compared to 34.2% of the same age group who are not racialized. That's a 7% difference. So if merit criteria are really about things like qualifications and education, by this metric we should see an overrepresentation of Black Canadians in the federal public service, not an underrepresentation.

I also must mention that the 2016 Census showed that families identifying as Black reported French being spoken in the home at a 5% higher rate than the general population. We're trying to build an entirely bilingual public service. Why don't we target this population with customized recruitment campaigns?

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars,Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

Why do we keep creating barriers for Black Canadians, whether Francophone or otherwise?

The 2016 Census also showed that Black people born in Canada were the largest group of Black people. That is to say 4 out of 10 Black people in Canada were born in Canada. Canada is the most common birthplace for Black Canadians. This means as a graduate, you probably attended college in Canada or university in Canada. You graduated with a diploma or a degree or two or three, and maybe even top of your class. You're still having a hard time entering and rising within the federal public service because of the way that merit is differentially applied today and because of a lack of clear strategies that could be applied to close the representation and inclusion gaps, the same way we did for women over the last 70 years, though there is still work to do, especially at executive levels and in STEM professions.

Rachel and Gaveen have both touched on how volunteer experience, for example, was counted as part of the merit equation when the government wanted more women in clerical staff. Just as we found a way to devise the right strategy to increase the representation of women in government, I think we can do the same for Black Canadians. But we run the risk of continuing this history today.

[Folkes-Dallaire appears in a video chat panel.]

And I say this because, for example, people with accessibility needs, people with different abilities, are severely underrepresented in the public service. Efforts will be made to address this problem over time. We must not forget that Black people with disabilities are an even more marginalized group that deserves equity.

So we have a real opportunity here. And that's why I think intersectionality is an important concept that we need to understand and embrace. We need to understand it, apply it and use it to guide our equity, inclusion and anti-racism strategies. I would really like us to develop a Black-centric lens and apply that to all of our major policy, program and service decisions. This would help us expose and mitigate the potential repercussions of government policies and practices on Black Canadians, both within the public service and outside it.

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars,Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

John Medcof: Thank you Paula. The data says a lot. And your call for all of us in leadership positions to do better is so needed. Gaveen, what does this mean for the recruitment and retention of Black Canadians in the public service? And how can we move forward when these invisible criteria are embedded in the recruitment system?

Gaveen Cadotte: Well, first of all, I agree with what Paula has said in terms of the need to apply a Black-centric lens and think about intersectionality as well as the compounded realities. We have to understand the realities and lived experiences of Black candidates and make sure our processes account for these.

[Cadotte appears in a video chat panel.]

And I've said this a few times, but I believe it deeply, that in order to make merit more meaningful, we need to recognize that the playing field isn't levelled, and we need to change the system to make it more even.

We can't keep using the same recruitment methods and hoping for different results. As Rachel's research shows and she highlighted in her speech, when the government took increasing the representation of women seriously, the Public Service Commission had to give explicit instructions, as I said previously, to hiring managers for them to value women's unpaid work experience like men's paid work experience. At the end of the day, the merit calculations were the same, but the way they were obtained, they way they were demonstrated was different.

So I think we need to apply this thinking to the recruitment of Black people and other racialized people, too. We need to challenge ourselves as hiring managers and as participants on assessment boards. Are we undervaluing leadership experience if it's gained outside the public service for Black candidates, if it's in a community organization, if it's volunteer work, if it's experience outside of Canada? Do we have a predefined notion of what professional looks like? Is it narrow or is it inclusive? Are we open to work being accomplished differently? To people expressing their ideas differently? Are we misconstruing the concept of organizational culture fit and conflating it with having a homogeneous group? Organizational fit, is it really an inclusive concept about bringing in perspective, experience and ideas that aren't a direct reflection of everyone else in the team?

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars,Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

These are important reflections we need to be doing to put our unconscious bias training to action.

There are excellent examples of recruitment approaches adapted to better attract Black candidates, like the Department of National Defence's Visible Minorities Recruitment Campaign for executives, Employment and Social Development Canada's visible minority student recruitment campaign, which is designed to attract and recruit Black students, and the Federal Black Executives Network, which prepared leadership profiles to promote Black candidates internally.

Moreover, recent changes to the Public Service Employment Act aim to level the playing field...

[Cadotte appears in a video chat panel.]

...by requiring an examination of assessment methods to determine whether they include or create biases or barriers and develop mitigation strategies. The idea is to examine everything we assess, the tools and how we apply them. The Public Service Commission aims to implement inclusive design for staffing processes, with the ultimate goal of eliminating barriers from the start.

And lastly, I would say that having representation at the most senior levels is important. And we did see that quicker rise of women leaders, and we're seeing that balanced representation. And the people who are making hiring decisions, those that are shaping merit criteria and assessing candidates, that population needs to be a diverse one, and we have to work towards that.

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars,Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

John Medcof: Thank you Gaveen. Some powerful and practical questions in your response there. Dr. Zellars, anything you would like to add, having gotten to know the public service as you have over the past months?

Dr. Rachel Zellars: Thank you so, so, so much. We need a good plan of action. As I sort of step back and look at all that I've learned, I really believe that we are at the problem identification stage. We have a problem there.

So I would say, we need to start by making sure that people really understand the problems. Like we are really at that place of understanding what the problem is.

[Dr. Zellars appears in a video chat panel.]

So maybe for sake of time, I'll just mention one thing. We're talking a lot about data in this moment. Collecting, figuring out what to do with the most hyper-disaggregated data sets that public service has ever seen. And I've been paying close attention to some of the departments that are getting that fine data, whereby visible minority categories are disaggregated and disaggregated by category, so by the feeder categories or EX categories in some cases, you can count those positions on one hand, not even two hands.

So one of the most important things, just with respect to data, that's really the problem stage, assessing it, making sure we're all on the same page with respect to data, is public service has to do a better job at establishing parameters and collecting data that can be used to specifically assess underrepresentation and stagnation, such as the work that Martin Nicholas has been doing with his disproportionality index. Just briefly, the reason that his work and his research are so important is because a disproportionality index compares the percentage representation of an equity group, Black employees, for a particular salary range to the overall average value throughout public service. And that's the kind of specificity that we just really need in this moment that I still see leaders and departments not paying enough attention to. So I could say so much more about that, but I know we only have an hour, so I'll pause here.

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars,Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

John Medcof: Thank you. And grounding us in this idea that we are at the problem definition phase I think really sets up very nicely or builds on what Paula and Gaveen were saying about...

[Medcof appears in a video chat panel.]

...what we need to do going forward. So maybe I'll just offer each of you an opportunity to comment on that quickly.

[Text reading "Way forward to support the career progression of Black public servants" appears on the screen.]

What is the way forward? How do we support the career progression of Black public servants if we are only at this problem definition stage and we have these calls to do better that Paula and Gaveen have shared? So, Paula, let me start with you on this one.

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars,Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

Paula Folkes-Dallaire: Well, thanks, John. So in terms of how we can support the career progression of Black public servants, we've talked a lot already in other Canada School discussions about mentorship and sponsorship, which are critically important tools to ensuring that talented Black and equity-seeking groups have a chance to make their best contribution to the public service.

Folkes-Dallaire appears in a video chat panel.]

In a nutshell, mentorship is really about guiding you and focusing on developing your best self. And sponsorship involves a leader speaking about you and helping you network and getting you out in the world for new opportunities and experiences.

But beyond mentorship and sponsorship, we need to use the public service human resources tools that already exist to appoint Black and Indigenous employees as the Clerk has instructed us to do. And we need to create the supports needed for diverse employees to experience inclusion in the government. This means better data on inclusion. New questions on inclusion must be added to the Public Service Employee Survey, with adequate disaggregation to understand the Black experience. Specifically, these need to be presented in dashboards and other useful formats so that decision makers can take evidence-based decisions.

Diversity networks also need to be equipped with dedicated resources, not volunteers doing the work on the side of their desks. Most of the progress being made inside departments on diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism today is being done by these networks and secretariats and allies in key roles across a handful of departments. So funding diversity networks is funding our future.

I'm delighted that we have a Call to Action and that it came from within the federal government. The federal public service displayed great courage on that day. The Call to Action opened the door to crucial conversations between the Clerk and deputy ministers on diversity, equity and inclusion. It highlighted what needed to be done from a policy perspective.

That said, the Call to Action can be prescriptive. It gives deputy heads a lot of leeway for how to implement it in their respective organizations. I believe it is now time to assess the way departments have interpreted it and to examine the progress made so far. We need to make sure we're transparent in our reporting on what has been done and what hasn't been done in different departments. Increased standardization of departmental approaches may be required to ensure that performance indicators and a report to the Clerk are implemented.

Indicators would be incredibly valuable in obtaining a consistent picture of the progress or delays in implementing the Call to Action. We need performance indicators and reports to Parliament on the Call to Action to assess the situation. We need to be held accountable.

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars,Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

Otherwise, the public service could look very different from the Canadian population that it serves and will continue to serve, which would eventually lead to a loss of trust in the government.

And so with that, I'd also like to just quickly say that we do need more disaggregated data to support performance measurement strategies and to ensure that the story of Black, Indigenous and other racialized and marginalized Canadians is told. Because of anti-Black racism and xenophobia specifically, we need a Black version of the Many Voices One Mind report that was done for reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in Canada. We need a royal commission inquiry and report on Blackness in the federal public service and in Canada.

And John, this one's for you. We need to look more closely at transferable skills. This is something I know you worked on for a very long time and as part of your areas of expertise. My theory is that if you've dealt with racism your whole life from peers and teachers and grocery store clerks and maintained your composure, you're probably somebody who can deal with difficult clients. If you've worked in the private sector as a legal assistant, I see the same exact skills in use in the public sector as administrative assistants. If you've read financial statements and conducted budgeting and forecasting in the private sector, I see no reason why you can't do that in the public sector. We need to change our thinking about who deserves merit...

[Folkes-Dallaire appears in a video chat panel.]

...and who can do the public service jobs that we have available.

And I would offer that we should entirely rethink our statements of merit criteria and how these are developed and apply to the federal public service. In almost every statement of merit criteria, I see something to the effect of recent (one star) and significant (two stars) experience providing strategic advice and recommendations to senior management (three stars), where senior management is defined as, and this is the three stars, director level and above, or even director general level and above. But if you have a manager that blocks your access to your director or doesn't incorporate your advice or recommendations, then you'll never meet that essential criteria. And the reason why you won't meet it might have nothing to do with your abilities.

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars,Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

John Medcof: Wow, thank you, Paula. Gaveen, I'm going to put the same question to you. Do you have anything to add?

Gaveen Cadotte: I don't know what I could add to that. That was a superb list. I have the same list, so I don't want to duplicate all of that.

But Paula,...

[Cadotte appears in a video chat panel.]

...you ended on that inclusive merit criteria point, and I couldn't be more happy to hear that because that's something, you know, when we talk about some of the changes to our own legislation around how merit will now be assessed and how we have to now or will, when it comes into force, have to assess the tools we're using for bias and barriers, what we're really trying to say is, yeah, that's great and we need to do that. But more important is build your staffing process to be inclusive from the start. Think about your staffing, about who out there can be part of the public service. So how we write the merit criteria, what we define is a key piece to that. And so thanks for highlighting that.

You mentioned data and disaggregated data. I agree. And concrete plans that really we can look forward, and that accountability as well around marking that progress and really having the data to say, where are we doing well, where we're not. Just not to repeat, maybe I'll take my remarks a little bit more to my lived experience side.

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars,Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

You mentioned sponsorship, and this is something that has been done by and for the people who have traditionally held positions of power, leadership positions, in the public service. And this is an important activity that needs to be shared with everyone. It's something that has been done by and for the people who have traditionally held positions of power, like I said. I would say that, for me, I had the good fortune of working for and with people who were my sponsors.

I recall a time when I was a PE-03 and my colleagues, I didn't know they did this, went to the ADM and advocated for me to lead a special project and not just lead it, but to get paid for it too, that I should get acting pay. Many of my bosses found a way, an excuse to get me in the room where decisions were being made, so that I had exposure to senior level discussions. And often without my knowledge and often learning after the fact, my supervisors advocated for me for development opportunities, for special projects that would get me exposure, connecting me to people within their network. They saw my talent, they saw my results and my potential. And they actively sponsored me.

[Cadotte appears in a video chat panel.]

So at this point in my career, I want to pay it forward and do the same for the many racialized employees, and for Indigenous employees too. When you're a leader, the people you sponsor should be a diverse group.

So if you're looking around and seeing who are you mentoring, who are you sponsoring, who are you giving an opportunity to, really ask yourself, is it a diverse group of people? It really should be. And that's what the Call to Action is asking us to do. It's an imperative.

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars,Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

John Medcof: Thank you so much Gaveen. Thank you for sharing some of your personal experience, and thank you for using the word accountability, which is something I think we all need to embrace if we're really going to undertake these actions with meaning. I would like to ask Dr. Zellars one last question. We have only a few minutes left.

But first I'd like to take a moment, Dr. Zellars, to thank you for everything you've brought to the federal public service as the first visiting scholar at the School. In your time in this role, you have asked us important questions. You have challenged us, you have inspired us. You have compelled us to take action. And maybe if I could just ask one question, at the close of your tenure as the inaugural Jocelyne Bourgon Visiting Scholar, maybe two questions, actually.

[Text reading "Dr. Zellar's message to public servants" appears on the screen.]

First, what is your message to all public servants? And second, what is your message to Black public servants in particular?

Dr. Rachel Zellars: Thank you so much. I have to start with Black public servants. Thank you.

[Dr. Zellars appears in a video chat panel.]

Thank you, thank you, thank you for allowing me to listen and learn. Thank you for your time after long days of work, sometimes while balancing toddlers on your knees. Sometimes at 1 a.m. Sometimes on a Sunday. Thank you for your experiences. For trusting me enough to know what to do with them. Thank you, Gaveen and Paula, for always, always making time for me,...

[Medcof, Dr. Zellars,Folkes-Dallaire and Cadotte appear in a video chat panel.]

...for teaching me, and for representing a brilliant, intelligent, compassionate model of leadership that I firmly believe public service can no longer survive without.

So truly thank you to the heartfelt leaders in public service. There are a few deputy ministers, retired, who have truly shown me what embodied and wise leadership looks like. And I would be amiss if I didn't mention my team at the Canada School of Public Service. I've had an opportunity to work with this group over the last year, for whom the guiding belief is selflessness. My team at the School embodies this kind of selfless leadership to the core. And I would be, of course, amiss if I did not mention Aïchatou Touré, who has been, day in and day out, with a toddler on her lap, just a rock and a friend. So thank you.

John Medcof: Thank you very much, Dr. Zellars. This concludes our event for today. Thank you Gaveen. Thank you Paula. Thank you Dr. Zellars. An important, moving discussion. I really appreciate your all taking the time to come in here today and speak to us.

[Medcof appears in a video chat panel.]

For everyone who participated in the event today, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will say that your feedback is very important to us. So I encourage you to fill out the electronic evaluation that you will receive in the coming days. Once again, thank you and have a wonderful day.

[The video chat fades to CSPS logo.]

[The Government of Canada logo appears and fades to black.]

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