Ministerial Question Period: Mandatory Training for the Federal Public Service

By: The Hon. Brian Francis

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Hon. Brian Francis: CBC News reported that few federal public servants are taking part in the Indigenous-related training offered through the Canada School of Public Service, or CSPS. In 2021 only 16% took part in the training with the highest attendance, and the RCMP had some of the lowest number of participants. Following September 30, we cannot forget that the federal public service helped design, implement and maintain the residential schools and other harmful initiatives. Given your government’s stated commitment to reconciliation, I find it disappointing and concerning that the development of competencies for improved sensitivity and responsiveness to Indigenous peoples is not already a requirement.

Will you commit to supporting a government-wide directive to make ongoing training related to Indigenous peoples mandatory for all federal public servants as soon as possible?

Hon. David Lametti, P.C., M.P., Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada: I read that report and I share your concern, and it is something that I will raise in the appropriate channels.

I can say that within the justice department we are moving in the right direction both in terms of — on the Attorney General side — implementing the litigation directive that my predecessor, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, brought in and with respect to the policies that we develop at the justice level.

For example, with UNDRIP we have created a secretariat, and I can say that there is real enthusiasm within that secretariat — not to put it too bluntly — to right the wrongs of the past. I’m hoping that’s something we can expand across government.

I agree. I read the report. I was concerned in the same way that you’re concerned, and I will do my best to help change that.

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