Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montreal, Canada, May 7, 2008 --- The representation of ethnic minority Quebecers and those who are English-speaking in the Quebec civil service can be best described as a symbol of the lack of equal employment opportunity for these groups.

According to data released by the Quebec Treasury Board this week, of the 67,138 provincial civil servants as of March 31, 2007 (this figure represents the number of employees classified as “equivalent temps complet” or ETC, i.e. those working full time and year-round; the total number of civil servants working in different categories and positions amounted to 84,706), members of ethnic and visible minorities made up 4.1% (or 2,736 employees). In fiscal year 2002-2003, the percentage was 3.1%; in other words, in a five-year period, there was 1% increase of minority representation (or a net gain of 595 positions). Also within this five-year span, the percentage of
minority hiring went 3.9% to 14%.

For anglophones, the number went from 509 in 2002-2003 (0.7%) to 519 in 2006-2007 (0.8%), a net gain of 10 positions or 0.1% in five years. For Aboriginal peoples, the number went from 223 in 2002-2003 (0.3%) to 240 (0.4%) in 2006-2007, a net gain of 26 positions or 0.1% in five years.

In other words, 5.3% of the Quebec civil service is made up of people other than French Canadian, while ethnic minorities, anglophones and Aboriginal peoples make up more than 20% of the Quebec population.

“When government initiated policies to increase minority hiring in 1981, the rate was 1.9% and the goal of fair representation was 9%. Twenty six years later, we are at 4.1% minority representation. At this rate, we may have to wait till 2035 to achieve the 1981 objective,” said CRARR’s Executive Director Fo Niemi.

Recent studies showed by Statistics Canada show that immigrants in Quebec experience an unemployment rate three times higher than native-born residents, and that 1 out of 3 Quebecers of Maghreb origins is unemployed. Other data show that Black and other visible minority Quebecers experience an unemployment rate that range from 50% to
150% higher than the average.

“If 25 years of discourse and policy only moved minority representation from 2% to 4%, then there is a very serious problem of systemic racial exclusion and discrimination in public service employment. Are our public institutions a model of fairness and the image of the public they serve ? No.”, said Mr. Niemi.

In the past, CRARR has called for corrective actions such as an annual parliamentary review to hold ministers and deputy ministers accountable; penalties for managers who don’t produce results, and more effective measures to investigate and sanction discriminatory practices in employment.