The Public Service Commission of Canadahas announced it is studying why disproportionately few visible minority job candidates are hired as federal public servants.

Commission president Maria Barrados said Wednesday the agency will examine all stages of the application process from the initial computerized screening to the final selection to find out why minorities are hired into only 10 per cent of public service jobseven though 25 per cent of applicants self-identify as visible minorities.

"Is there anything in that process that takes out more visible minorities than others … and why?" Barrados said.

The study will find out whether the selection process screens out qualified visible minority candidates by demanding Canadian cultural experience or other things that may not be necessary for the job, or by appraising credentials in a certain way, she said.

Security checks raised as issue

Maureen McCann, an employment co-ordinator for a firm that helps new immigrants gain work experience, said she thinks lengthy security checks are a significant barrier for job seekers who have lived in Canada for less than five years, as government managers can't wait that long to hire.

Barrados said that will be considered in the study and if it is found to be a barrier, the government will be responsible for addressing the problem.

The commission is an independent agencymeant to ensure Canada'spublic service is competent, non-partisan and representative of the population.

The gap betweenthe number of visible minorityapplicants and hireswas noted in a presentation to the Public Service Commission Advisory Council in December and will be released as a full report shortly, said commission spokesman Tom Kelly.The study found that aboriginals, women andthe disabled were not underrepresented in thesame way.

The commission alsoreleased an annualreport on Oct. 3 that foundvisible minorities are underrepresented in public service jobs.