White, Able-bodied Males Need Not Apply

Public Works is responsible for Government of Canada purchasing, property management and administration of civil servant pensions. (It was also the department involved in “Adscam” – the scandal involving kickbacks to the governing Liberal party through awarding of inflated advertising contracts to Liberal friendly supporters. )

Now the dep’t is at the center of a new, though unsurprising, controversy; National Post;

Managers in the Public Works department must hire only visible minorities, women, aboriginals and the disabled, except with written permission from their superiors, David Marshall, the deputy minister, ordered in an e-mail circulated yesterday.

The policy, designed to address shortfalls in the department’s employment-equity goals, will last at least until the end of next March and be reviewed then, the memo said.

“As executives and managers, our role includes ensuring that the public service is representative,” Mr. Marshall said in the memo. “This involves providing direction and leadership by example, and demonstrating a firm commitment to an inclusive workplace.”
Pierre Teotonio, a department spokesman, said last night the order was prompted in part by a precipitous drop in the number of employees hired from the designated groups this year. The proportion of female, disabled, aboriginal and non-white new hires fell from one in eight this March to only one in 20 by September, he said. The federal benchmark just for the hiring of visible minorities is one in five.

Still, a veteran labour lawyer said yesterday he had never heard of an edict actually barring the recruitment of large numbers of people. And even a federal civil service union that strongly supports employment equity questioned the wisdom of the policy.

Don’t get excited. It’s not for the reason one would think…

“I think it’s creating a possible backlash against equity groups and then it’s not helping these people to get into government,” said Nycole Turmel, president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

“It’s even creating more frustration or anger from the workforce as well as from the population … I am quite sure the people they hire will be competent and good employees, but that is not the point here. They will be seen as targets, and then people will question their hiring, and I don’t think it will help them.”


FILED UNDER: Gender Issues, Uncategorized, , , ,
Kate McMillan
About Kate McMillan
Kate McMillan is the proprietor of small dead animals, which has won numerous awards including Best Conservative Blog and Best Canadian Blog. She contributed nearly 300 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and June 2007. Follow her on Twitter @katewerk.


  1. LJD says:

    “…only visible minorities, women, aboriginals and the disabled” What amounts to visible?

    I can see it now:
    “I’m sorry Mr. Jones, you’re just not black enough”
    “I’m sorry Mrs. Jones, you’re just not feminine engouh (this IS a public works position, no?)”
    “I’m sorry Mr. Jones, you’re just not handicapped enough (perhaps you can operate some heavy machinery?)”

  2. Arthur Keech says:

    For the record I’m a 17 year old Caucasian male who might be interested in a government position. Now i understand the arguments against what i would qualify as “constructive racism’ but when the status quo is so far from the norm something must be done. Yes it is drastic but this is a massive problem. How can we expect people to represent Canada as a whole when they are so far from societal norms. Accountability is only possible when people are correctly represented. Power must be shared according to each group depending upon their share of the population pie.