Self-identification and Disaggregated data

As a public servant you are no doubt aware of the Employment Equity Act which requires that federal jurisdiction employers take proactive measures to increase the workplace representation of four designated groups: Indigenous people, people with disabilities, visible minorities (VM) and women.

In order to measure progress on the programs it puts in place, the Government of Canada collects and analyzes hiring, promotion, selection process, survey response and other data for these designated groups. If you self-identify as belonging to the VM group and apply for a public service job or fill out a survey, the government uses the associated data for statistical analysis and employment equity human resources planning. However, the visible minority grouping obscures the experience of Black federal employees.  

To better realize the objectives of the Act, FBEC advocates that VM data be collected and broken down by ethnicity/race or “disaggregated”. Disaggregating data can reveal patterns masked by grouping data at a high level. For instance, anecdotal evidence from Black public servants suggests that they experience harassment at a higher rate than their counterparts. By collecting and analyzing disaggregated data the government can target programming to where it is needed. 

Treating human resources data in this way is not new. Statistics Canada already collects labour market data this way and the US, Britain and New Zealand collect and publish disaggregated data about their respective public service workforces. 

But in order for the disaggregated data to be meaningful you must Self-identify and Be Counted!

Public Service Employee Survey

The Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) is a comprehensive survey measuring federal government employees’ opinions about their engagement, leadership, workforce, workplace, workplace well-being and compensation. The 2019 PSES was conducted from July 22 to August 30, 2019.

The PSES is one of the main data sources the government uses to guide human resource policy. For Black employees, the 2019 is especially important as it marks the return of the option for Black employees to self-identify – an option that had been removed from recent surveys.

Survey results are reported as aggregate information which protects employees from being identified. In cases where the survey may result in a small number of people being represented (that could inadvertently identify or be used to identify an individual), those survey results are combined with the results of other groups in order to eliminate the possibility of identifying any individual employee.

To ensure the government has the most complete picture of the experience of Black federal employees, it’s crucial that as many Black employees as possible fill out the survey and self-identify.

Spread the word: Stand up and be counted!