Visible minorities (VM) face several barriers to full participation in the Federal Public Service. To reduce these barriers, employers subject to the Employment Equity Act are expected to gauge progress of VM representation by using self-identification surveys. Based on self-reported statistics, VM employees remain under-represented in Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)’s Pacific Region. While perceptions that self-reported statistics may distort actual VM representation exist, a gap remains. The goal of this study is twofold: first, to capture perceptions of VM employees and managers on what barriers and facilitating factors exist; second, to illustrate the impact these have upon self-identification. Two focus groups identify main factors contributing to the under-representation of VM employees, while individual interviews provide in-depth experiential information. Key themes include challenges with: self-identification, promotion of diversity, and hiring and appointment practices. Final recommendations identify how DFO can further benefit from the ethnic diversity of Canada’s population.
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