While many small businesses in Canada are struggling to keep the lights on, the federal government is spending tens of thousands of dollars into workplace diversity initiatives.
Under Access to Information, I obtained a contract between Natural Resources Canada and a company called Martrain for diversity consulting.
The value of the contract on the list was almost $9,000, but when I accessed the actual contract, the final amount was over $24,000, because payment was broken up over two fiscal years.
The reason for the expenditure?
“Evaluation, gaps analysis and development of guidelines for bias-free evaluation and interview processes for hiring new employees.”
That was the title of the project, paid for out of the budget of NRCan’s Visible Minority Advisory Council.
The fact that the department has a council of employees dealing with visible minority-related issues in the workplace suggests that there isn’t an issue with bias in hiring.
There’s also a separate council for persons with disabilities and for women—and this is just in one government department.
I’m certain that this is replicated across the government.
As part of the training, employees did mock interviews (each breakout group had a translator, of course) and looked for biased language in hiring.
According to the proprietor of the company that received the sole source contract, employers need to be aware of, among other things:
“Subjective culture areas that trigger misunderstanding in the hiring process: persuasion, describing accomplishment, self-promotion of career and projects, hierarchy understanding, risk tolerance, teamwork versus individuality, and career management and expectation.”
So talking yourself up in an interview is a subjective cultural norm now?
That’s what these types of processes do though—create problems that don’t exist.
While diversity may once have been a worthwhile goal, now it’s just an industry.