Monday, 14 October 2019
featured Inclusion Labour

Racism at City Hall, an update

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – As we reported in late July, a third party review found widespread anti-black racism at Halifax’ Parks and Road Operations and Construction unit.

8834“The consultation with  employees and interviews with supervisors suggest that the business unit is caught up in a self-sustaining cycle of prejudice in which African Nova Scotians continue to be negatively impacted by experiences of harassment and discrimination, and supervisors and other employees dismiss these concerns, or blame the victim for their response,” the report concluded.

The review suggests low morale is widespread, and not just among African Nova Scotian employees. Women, members of the LGBTQ community, and seasonal workers also hold grievances that the review deemed justified.     

In a follow up to this story we asked Halifax communications staff a few specific questions:

1 – Is it Halifax’ intention to include CUPE Local 108 as a formal partner in the implementation team that has been formed to manage the roll out of the recommendations? If not, why not?

2 – Has Council been briefed on the report?

3  Will Council be involved in the implementation of the recommendations?

4 – Have target dates been assigned to the various recommendations?

5 – Who within the HRM management team bears responsibility for the implementation of the recommendations?

6 – Has a budget been assigned to the implementation?

7 – Would Ms.Tracey Jones-Grant (the manager of the City’s Diversity and Inclusion Program) be available for an interview about the report?

Attached is the city’s response by Adam Richardson, a Senior Communications Advisor. Questions 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7 did not receive clear answers.  

Also attached is a copy of the report on the Employment Review, marked confidential. Note that an earlier version of the scanned report only contained odd pages.

2 Comments

  1. I’m impressed with the questions you submitted. All are pointedly relevant and reasonable. Mr. Richardson’s response is a textbook example of extraneous generality and political speak; it’s a morass of candy-floss words that obliquely respond to only two of your questions – I think, two – in his final paragraph, and possibly to your 5. also:

    2. He says Council “has received an update” – whatever that entails.
    3. Council will be involved, at least to the extent it must approve recommendations which flow from the report.
    5. May be deductively answered in assuming that whomever administers the Employment Equity Policy will be responsible for implementation, but that’s making an unsubstantiated leap.

    This style of communication from an institution which owes its very existence and purpose to the citizenry it serves is insulting and infuriating. There are a multitude of preferable, more honest ways Mr. Richardson could have responded to ignored questions. And there was always the option of, “That information is still incomplete,” or “We’ll withhold public publication until Council approval.”

    The letter’s slick tone and information-vacuum infuriate me, and I wonder if this is emblematic of City Hall’s response. If it is, little wonder their operation angers and frustrates so many.

    Kudos on your efforts, Robert; please keep on this.

    Reply
  2. I stumbled upon a really cool word tonight, thanks to that confidential Halifax Regional Municipality employment review by the Turner Consulting Group from Ontario, which, via recent rebranding is actually the Halifax Employment Review. ‘Attitudinal’ sounds better than racist, sexist, homophobic or elitist

    Reply

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