The department has also requested an assessment of the Montreal office that handles calls from Afghan migrants.
According to the organisation that represents its employees, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is examining charges of systematic racism at two of its locations.

Meanwhile, the department has hired an outside firm, Charron Human Resources, to conduct a workplace audit at the IRCC’s call centre in Montreal — the department’s only Canadian call centre — where employees have been working to meet the federal government’s commitment to accept 40,000 Afghan refugees.

According to the Canada Employment and Immigration Union (CEIU), which represents employees at IRCC, Service Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), and the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), the IRCC’s internal racism investigations are the result of employee complaints.

The announcement comes after the IRCC issued a critical assessment late last year. Employees complained in the study about recurring instances of staff and managers using inappropriate language with racialized coworkers, as well as limited possibilities for growth for racialized minorities.

“We are going to demonstrate that there is a nationwide problem at the IRCC across the workplace,” said Crystal Warner, national executive vice-president of the CEIU.

“IRCC is committed to and believes in fostering a workplace free of racism, harassment, discrimination, and marginalisation of any sort,” the department stated in a statement, adding that it could not comment on the investigations owing to confidentiality concerns.
The union claims that workplace concerns at the Montreal contact centre, which is the subject of a workplace assessment by Charron Human Resources, have existed for years but have been exacerbated by Canada’s ominous vow to bring in 40,000 Afghans when the Taliban seized over Afghanistan.

“[Staff] are telling us that all of the new employees who are hired are departing within a few months due to the pressure to perform, to stay on the call, and to accept the next call,” Warner added.

“You may be on the phone and hear someone telling you about a brother being decapitated or a cousin being raped and all these horrific things,” she explained, adding that staff aren’t allowed to take a break before accepting the next call.
The inquiries came as little surprise to two federal public officials who talked to CBC News under the condition that they not be identified for fear of retaliation at work.

One Black employee began her career in the IRCC contact centre in Montreal in 2017 and now works for a different federal department.

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