Ottawa, ON, February 1, 2024 – As Black History Month begins, the Black Class Action Secretariat (BCAS) reflects on its significant strides toward dismantling systemic racism in the public sector while acknowledging the continuing challenges.
BCAS celebrates several landmark victories:
Legislative Amendments: Following the class action's filing, the Government of Canada amended the Public Service Employment Act to address biases and barriers in staffing processes. This is a testament to the BCAS's persistent advocacy.
Mental Health Fund and Career Opportunities: Following our emergency motion for mental health services was filed in the court, BCAS's efforts led to a $50 million mental health fund and career development program for Black public service employees.
Recognition of Black People: In response to the class action's claims that the Employment Equity Act's application infringed on the equality rights of Black employees, the government initiated a review. Consequently, on December 11, 2023, the Minister of Labour announced that the government would recognize Black people as an employment equity group in the revised Employment Equity Act. BCAS urges the government to promptly introduce and pass the necessary amendments to the Act, actualizing this crucial recognition and advancing equitable representation.
Despite these achievements, the BCAS notes the ongoing legal challenges, with the Government of Canada spending over $8 million fighting against Black workers in court. This resistance underscores the need for continued vigilance and advocacy.
As BCAS observes Black History Month, it calls on all Canadians to reflect on the progress made and to remain committed to the journey toward a just and equitable Canada.
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The Black Class Action Secretariat (BCAS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating systemic racism and promoting equity and justice in the public sector. Through legal action, advocacy, and education, BCAS is committed to creating a society where all individuals have the opportunity to thrive free from discrimination.