Federal government to test name-blind hiring for public service

Public service to test name-blind hiring

TORONTO — The federal government will be testing whether hiding the names of job applicants would improve its hiring practices, in what it calls an effort to strengthen diversity and inclusion in the public service.

The Public Service Commission of Canada project, unveiled Thursday at Toronto’s Ryerson University, will compare the results of traditional screening methods with name-blind recruitment.

The practice consists of removing names and other identifying information such as email addresses and country of origin from job application forms in order to combat bias against people of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

“We believe that the public service should reflect the idea that our diversity is our strength and should be a model of inclusion for employers across Canada and around the world,” said Scott Brison, president of the Treasury Board.

The experiment will involve some externally advertised jobs in six federal departments, including National Defence, Global Affairs and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. A report on the findings is expected in October.

Brison said the pilot project is meant to identify best practices before rolling out the technique throughout the public service, which he said the government aims to do before the end of its mandate.

He said name-blind recruitment has already been adopted in some universities as well as several European organizations, such as the British civil service.

Many orchestras made the switch to blind auditions, in which musicians play hidden by a screen, in the 1970s and 1980s, which led to a dramatic increase in the number of women hired, studies have shown.

A 2012 study by University of Toronto researchers found job applicants with English-sounding names were 35 per cent more likely to receive a call back than those with Indian or Chinese names, which they said suggested an unconscious bias.

Philip Oreopoulos, one of the study’s authors, said it benefits employers to remove any barriers that could prevent them from hiring the best people.

Oreopoulos, a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Toronto, said there is “general interest” in moving towards name-blind hiring and the government project may give it a boost.

“I do think there may be some momentum here and the fact that the public sector is going to try this out is promising and may attract interest in employers to see how that goes,” he said.

Other studies have found that name discrimination was more prevalent at smaller organizations, the professor said, adding companies that can afford to have a large human resources department may be in a better position to curb that kind of behaviour.

The federal government said there is no evidence of bias in its current hiring practices.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

Indigenous leader shares traditional knowledge of B.C. plants for Earth Day

Guided walks through Beacon Hill Park provide insight to historical uses of Camas, Indian Plum, snow berries

Dix says B.C. remains focused on fighting youth overdoses in wake of teen’s death

Elliot Eurchuk’s parents say he died at his Oak Bay home after taking street drugs

Rockin’ steady with Phonosonics

Victoria roots reggae band looks to attract wider audience with appearance on Rise Up TV show

Central Saanich, Tsawout taking part in reconciliation ceremony

Blanket event Monday to help foster mutual trust and respect

Spring Home Show this weekend in Colwood

West Shore Parks and Recreation will be transformed to showcase everything home related

LOCAL FLAVOUR: Taking the sting out of nourishing nettles

Linda Geggie For the Saanich News When you think of nettles you… Continue reading

Final week for ALR input

Public consultation process closes April 30

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

Central Saanich, Tsawout taking part in reconciliation ceremony

Blanket event Monday to help foster mutual trust and respect

Ballet Victoria soirée fundraiser a prelude to final show of season

Company winds up its 15th season in the city with Peter Pan next month

Half-naked shooter guns down four, runs away in Nashville Waffle House shooting

Nashville police say they are looking for Travis Reinking in connection with the shooting

Child’s body found in river downstream from where boy went missing during flood

Three-year-old Kaden Young was swept out of his mother’s arms in February

Most Read