24 June 2019
MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes says no black person has ever been appointed as federal deputy minister.
OTTAWA — Independent MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes says qualified black Canadians are being passed over for promotions to senior positions in the federal government due what she says are systemic racial barriers.
Caesar-Chavannes, who is not running for re-election in October, used her final act in the House of Commons last week to shine a light on what she says is discrimination in the civil service.
She says in all of Canada’s history, no black person has been appointed as a federal deputy minister, the bureaucratic head of a department.
Watch: One-time Liberal MP gives shout-out to Daughters of the Vote. Story continues below.
Caesar-Chavannes says there has also been a “thinning out” of visible minorities at the assistant-deputy-minister level.
She has heard from current and former civil servants who say they have the qualifications to be promoted to managerial positions, but report being passed over for more senior jobs in favour of candidates they say were sometimes less qualified.
Though it stands almost no chance of becoming law now, Caesar-Chavannes tabled a private member’s bill that would require the Canadian Human Rights Commission to annually report on the progress — or lack thereof — of government’s efforts to promote black Canadians and other visible minorities to more senior positions within the federal ranks.
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