Partners: Government of Canada (GoC), President of the Treasury Board of Canada (TBS) , Minister of Sports and Persons with Disabilities, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, President of the Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC), Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), Civil Society
The new Standard on Security Screening of the Government of Canada became effective on October 20, 2014. (http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=28115) This Standard of the Government's new security screening policy includes, at a minimum, new mandatory credit checks and fingerprinting. The new Standard replaces the Personnel Security Standard, created in 1994.
The 2016 Federal Budget has a cover entitled “Growing the middle class”. This implies that opportunities for well-remunerated jobs in both the public and private sector will be made available in the Canadian economy in the not too distant future, allowing no income or low income Canadians to access better jobs that allow them to join the middle class. However, the experiences of being denied employment and/or being terminated from employment due to credit checks/bad financial history in the private sector are now potentially becoming a practice in the public sector.
The new Standard goes much further than previous policies and practices on security screening. While some employees who are in high security positions may have had to undergo security screening, this new policy applies to all employees. Employees, regardless of security status, will have to undergo fingerprinting and credit checks. This is unnecessary and goes too far. Credit checks can especially have a negative impact on members who are most vulnerable (e.g single moms, people with disabilities who have had to take long term sick leave). The policy doesn’t provide any details of what is considered “bad credit”. Another new aspect of the policy is to require employees to report any changes in financial status or even about their personal lives (e.g. divorce). Members who fall on hard times will have the added worry that their job will be in jeopardy.
Throughout the working years (15-64 years of age) people with disabilities remain about twice as likely as those without disabilities to live with low income. People with disabilities are much less likely than people without to have jobs. Even where employed, people with disabilities are 1.5 times more likely than people without to live with low income. While persons/citizens with disabilities are already being subject to poverty, homelessness and social exclusion, the new Standard creates another barrier to social and professional insertion or reinsertion that is not consistent with the published statement that the “Public Service of Canada is committed to developing inclusive, barrier-free selection processes and work environments.”
No Canadian citizen should, without overwhelming just cause, have to bear the burden of filing a complaint and going through a judicial or quasi-judicial process with the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) or file a human rights complaint under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
The new Standard violates the requirements of the Privacy Act and the protections for individual privacy protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (http://psacunion.ca/psac-challenge-new-public-service-security) It can hinder the full participation of all Canadians citizens, and Canadians with Disabilities, to life in society and the benefits of participating in the creation, maintenance and enjoyment of Canada's iconic “Peace, Order and Good Government”.
The partners listed at the top of this idea proposal should create a working group to address this issue in a thorough and dedicated manner. Perhaps a review and amendments to the Standard on Security Screening, the review and change in format of Treasury Board Secretariat Personnel Screening, Consent and Authorization Form (TBS/SCT 330-23), or a combination of these two processes along with new legislative dispositions included in the long-awaited, and still non-existent, Canadians with Disabilities Act. There are tangible measures that need to be taken to ensure the financial perenity and resiliency of Canadians with Disabilities - and all Canadians for that matter- so that progress on this issue is made real with an enhanced Open Government that is transparent and accountable to all segments of the Canadian population.
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