Despite some improvements in increasing the diversity of the elite group, the majority of new appointees to Canada’s mandate in 2020 are white men.
Of the 175 people selected for the prestigious civil honor last year, only a third were women. According to a study by immigration and diversity researcher and former government official Andrew Griffith, 7.4 percent were members of the visible minority – two percent more than the previous year – and 5.1 percent were tribal.
Velma Morgan, head of Operation Black Vote Canada, called the figures “very complicated.”
“Like Canadians we talk about our strong diversity and promote it to the world,” he said. “This has not been proven when we try to recognize those who have contributed to Canada.”
Morgan said companies cannot be expected to have broad public respect when they fail to represent the population.
“Black communities have been here for hundreds of years. So when we do not see ourselves being represented in one of the highest races in the country, it says something – we are not recognized for what we have done, keep doing it,” he said.
Morgan said increasing access to less representative groups and increasing public awareness about the project would help resolve long-term imbalances. The makeup of the panel reviewing the recommendations should also better reflect the people, he said.
The Toronto Star broke the news last month The BlackNort initiative – promoting the diversity of corporate portrooms and management rooms – has written a letter to General Julie Payett of Canada, complaining about the low number of Black Order of Canada recipients and recommending the names of individuals who deserve to be honored.
The Order of Canada program relies on the recommendations of individuals or organizations that are reviewed by an independent advisory panel. The Council makes nominations for appointment to the Governor-General, who approves them at the convention.
‘Priority’ to modernization of Hon’ble projects
Rio McKinnon, spokesman for Rydo Hall, said modernizing all Hon’ble projects was one of Bayt’s “top priorities.”
He said his office has taken steps to increase diversity such as gender identity, disability and data collection on indigenous and visible minority status through the self-identification questionnaire. The office has also launched communication strategies and social media campaigns to increase the number of nominees for public events.
“The best way to increase the representation of a merit-based public program such as the Canada Order is to increase the contribution of Canadians. [in] It makes diversified recommendations through this, “McKinnon said in an email.
“With that in mind, Governor-General Julie Payet called for action to be taken to increase the public profile of all its curriculum programs and to make the appointment process as user-friendly and accessible as possible. Such improvements will lead to the recognition of individuals with very different backgrounds.”
McKinnon acknowledged that while progress was being made, it was slow. Women’s nominations for the Canada Order are consistent – from 2000 to 200 per year, and 500 to 800 nominations each year – the women nominated in this order now see a 72 percent success rate, compared to 58 percent for men.
Recognizing contributions to the creation of Canada
Diversity consultant C. Nuyen said the Order of Canada project stuck with a tradition of establishing “upper crust” people selected by an elite group – it must change.
“Most of the time you tap into what looks like you, running in circles like you,” he said.
“So I think that number is increasing. They’re more beautiful than in the past … but it’s not yet recognized a lot of newcomers, other ways in which indigenous peoples can contribute to building our country.”
Griffith, who has overseen appointments to the Order of Canada since 2013, said although the trend line appears to be moving in the right direction, much progress still needs to be made.
The percentage of visible minority candidates is less than 22.3 percent of the population identified as a visible minority in the 2016 census. The percentage of Indigenous candidates is very close to the 4.9 percent identified as Indigenous in the last census.
“Awards – to a certain extent, not to the right extent – you want to ensure that there is representation of the population,” he said. “Because it shows that everyone can make a contribution. It shows that all different aspects of Canadian society are gaining some recognition.”