CBC vows to step up diversity hiring, retention and promotion goals

By Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press

TORONTO — The CBC says it’s accelerating efforts to meet diverse hiring, retention and promotion goals after its “Yukon Morning” radio show host lambasted the broadcaster for its failings live on-air.

The public broadcaster says that by 2021–22, it wants half of all new hires for executive and senior management positions to be Indigenous people, visible minorities, or people with disabilities. It also plans to double retention and promotion rates for people from those three groups.

In addition, unconscious bias training will be mandatory for supervisors and senior management.

And the CBC is committing resources to better identify a range of internal and external hiring candidates.

“Yukon Morning” host Christine Genier resigned June 12, minutes after delivering an impassioned on-air condemnation of CBC’s lack of representation for Indigenous and Black voices.

Meanwhile, CBC News host Wendy Mesley was recently suspended from hosting, pending an investigation, after she said she “used a word that should never be used” during an editorial discussion about race.

CBC/Radio-Canada’s president and CEO says the broadcaster recognizes that systemic racism exists at the national public broadcaster, just as it does in the rest of Canada.

“We are committed to combating racism in all its forms, to removing structural barriers and practices that result in discrimination at CBC/Radio-Canada, and to improving our workplace culture in tangible, concrete ways,” Catherine Tait said Tuesday in a release.

“We know these issues aren’t new. People have been raising concerns for a long time and our responses haven’t worked fast enough. So we’re going to tackle things differently and intensify the transformation of our organization so that we are truly inclusive and representative of contemporary Canada.”

The commitment comes as several journalists and former media employees from various outlets have taken to social media to point out workplace indignities they trace to racism and systemic discrimination.

As a Crown corporation, the CBC/Radio-Canada is mandated to reflect Canada’s diversity in the workers it hires.

The federal Employment Equity Act identifies four groups who face historical and social difficulties in adequate employment: women, people of colour, Indigenous people, and people with disabilities.

The CBC also outlined targeted professional initiatives that include internships and development opportunities and a training program to give emerging leaders the tools to advance their careers.

The broadcaster says its diversity and inclusion working group will also continue consultations with employees to identify other areas for improvement.

Last year, CBC also promised that by 2025 at least one key decision-making creative role in all scripted and factual commissioned programs will be held by a person from a diverse background.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 23, 2020.

Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press

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