Feds Spent Over $177,000 in Search of Minority Appointees to Fill Deputy Minister Roles: Documents

Feds Spent Over $177,000 in Search of Minority Appointees to Fill Deputy Minister Roles: Documents
The Canadian flag flies near the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, in a file photo. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Isaac Teo

The central department of the federal government spent nearly $180,000 searching for black and indigenous appointees to fill roles as deputy ministers, yet the process resulted in few interested candidates, according to government records.

The records, obtained through Access to Information by Blacklock’s Reporter, noted that the Privy Council Office had paid corporate headhunters a total of $177,458 to search for potential black and indigenous candidates to fill the roles across federal departments.

Of the amount, $39,458 was spent attempting to hire a deputy labour minister while the remaining $138,000 was for a list of 70 potential prospects.

One headhunter was reported to have negotiated a $25,000 commission for every such candidate hired for “Assistant Deputy Minister and Deputy Minister appointment.”

But the memos noted that corporate headhunters had found only a few black or indigenous executives from the private sector who were interested in working as deputy ministers.

Of the list of 70, “two individuals in the inventory are to be considered for appointment,” staff wrote.

As for the role of deputy labour minister, a similar pattern was observed. Of 52 possible candidates, federal staff wrote that “seven have expressed an interest” and only two made the shortlist.

“Our assessment to date is that we do not have a candidate that could easily slide into a deputy minister job without first being provided with development opportunities,” wrote staff.

A 2021 memo “Diversity and Inclusion” stated that the Liberal government is “committed to ensuring Canadians are served by a representative and inclusive public service.”

The message echoed the 2020 Speech from the Throne saying the Trudeau government will implement “an action plan to increase representation in hiring and appointments, and leadership development within the Public Service.”