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A Major Recruitment Campaign to Foster Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

February 2, 2021

Letter from Director and CEO Simon Brault to the arts community

Diversity, equity, and inclusion—key priorities

Community polls and discussion forums about our next strategic plan have clearly placed diversity, equity, and inclusion at the top of the list of priorities that will strengthen the arts sector in Canada.

The inclusion and representation of Indigenous peoples, Black people, racialized people, Deaf people, and people with disabilities are crucial to increasing the relevance, influence, and recognition of the sector and its organizations. The content, programming, and staffing of some organizations shows a certain amount of progress in terms of inclusion and representation. It is progress that must be matched by tangible and consistent action in favour of decolonization and by the ongoing fight against racism in the cultural sector and society at large. What is more, we must not only listen to, but also respond in order to correct the funding inequities that still exist and that disadvantage Indigenous artists, Black artists, artists who are racialized, Deaf artists, and artists with disabilities.

Increasing diversity and representation at the Canada Council for the Arts

The Council’s commitment to reflecting the diversity of Canada in its staff is not new. As I write this, 70 % of the people working at the Council are women, 16.8 % are Black people and other racialized people, 4.6 % are Indigenous people, and 6.8 % are Deaf people or people with disabilities. But we want to do better, and we can!

In keeping with its commitment, the Council is aiming to significantly increase the diversity of the staff within its ranks. We have a historic opportunity to do so right now. That’s why we will be filling a few dozen positions in the coming months—positions left vacant due to Council employees retiring or switching careers. We are picking up the hiring process where we left off, having suspended it at the beginning of the pandemic.

And so, we are launching a major recruitment campaign that is open to all but that will prioritize Indigenous applicants, Black applicants, applicants who are racialized, Deaf applicants, and applicants with disabilities.

The Canada Council for the Arts needs your help

We will be filling positions on a variety of the Council’s teams, namely in Finance, Human Resources, Policy and Strategic Planning, Prizes, and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESO). It goes without saying that we are also looking to fill many positions in the Arts Granting Programs Division. I encourage you to visit the Careers section of our website regularly.

We need the entire community to help us get the word out about these job opportunities and to encourage skilled, committed, and innovative people to submit applications. Of course, applicants can be from the arts sector, but we would also like to receive applications from other sectors of activity, because the types of expertise and perspectives we seek are not limited to the arts. In fact, the Canada Council for the Arts—like the sector itself—could greatly benefit from the advances in evaluation, the environment or social and climate justice that are being made in sectors such as education, community development, health, environment, and international cooperation.

I am making this appeal to our collective intelligence and our ability to mobilize vast networks of contacts so that the Canada Council for the Arts can better play its role in the coming years. As you know, the number and complexity of challenges we face increase with every day that the pandemic continues. The Council, therefore, hopes to welcome new staff who can strengthen the Council’s role through their knowledge, skills, and roots in the diversity of our sector and our society.

The Council must be exemplary in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion so as to fulfill its role in supporting, funding, and assisting the sector and in growing the influence, outreach, and recognition of the arts across society. Indeed, actions speak louder than words. I want to thank you for helping us advance this campaign, thereby strengthening the Council. I pledge our unwavering commitment to supporting artistic and literary creativity and to their promotion within our communities and beyond our borders.