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Section 1: Institutional GBA+ Capacity

Building from naming a Champion and establishing a committee to take action against systemic employment equity, diversity and inclusion issues in 2020, NSIRA continued to work hard to create a culture of inclusion. At an individual level, the agency held staff discussions on anti-racism and themes related to diversity. In response to the Call to Action from the Clerk of the Privy Council, NSIRA completed a maturity assessment of its policies, programs and practices related to human rights, accessibility, employment equity, diversity and inclusion, and developed a three-year action plan to guide its efforts.

When reviewing national security and intelligence activities, NSIRA analysts are prompted to examines these activities’ potential for resulting in unequal outcomes for visible minority groups. For instance, among last year’s reviews, the Study of the Government of Canada’s Use of Biometrics in the Border Continuum examined the approach of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and of the Canada Border Services Agency to preventing bias and discrimination against some groups of people in the use of biometrics by these agencies.

In terms of investigations, complainants file with NSIRA pursuant to the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency Act and the Rules of Procedure. Following the practices and procedures systematically in all complaint matters ensures a non-discriminatory process.

Furthermore, NSIRA and another review body are finalizing a study on how to systematically collect, analyze and use race-based and other demographic data in the complaints investigation process. This study draws on academic expertise to provide NSIRA insight into: whether significant racial disparities exist among civilian complainants; whether racial differences exist with respect to the types of complaints made against members of national security organizations based on different groups; the frequency of complaints that include allegations of racial or other forms of bias; and whether complaints investigation outcomes vary by racial group. NSIRA also aims to use the study results to improve public awareness and understanding of its investigation process, as well as to guide the development of NSIRA’s outreach and public engagement priorities.

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