Sudbury to look at makeup, diversity of city staff

Greater Sudbury's diversity panel believes the city can do more to make sure it reflects visible minorities on the municipal payroll.

Head of Sudbury's diversity panel says city workers need to reflect those who live in community

Greater Sudbury's diversity panel believes the city can do more to make sure it reflects visible minorities on the municipal payroll.

But it's too early to say if that should include a specific diversity hiring policy.

The chair of the city's diversity panel said he feels welcome in the city, but he said he doesn't know if everyone feels that way — even at city hall.

"When somebody walks through the front doors of Tom Davies Square, it is important to have people working in this government that are reflective of the people that live in the community or the people that wish to come here," Leonard Kim said.

Kim and the rest of the panel hope to help city staff get a better sense of the number of visible minorities who work there. Afterwards the city can decide whether it has a problem, and if so, how to fix it.

'Look at their family tree'

One possibility is an employment equity policy, like in federal government departments, where preference is given to job applicants who are a member of a minority group, Kim said.

"Sometimes when you look at the applicants who come through the door, one of the ways you can correct a historical disadvantage is by giving those opportunities to people who traditionally were not given them, when you look at their family tree," he said.

Greater Sudbury human resources director Kevin Fowke remarked such a policy has never been seriously talked about at the city.

"The overriding principle that we hire the best qualified for the job every time around, really carries the day here," he said.

Based on anecdotal evidence, Fowke said he believes the city workforce accurately reflects the racial makeup of Sudbury.

But he added he is interested in researching the issue further and seeing what can be done to make Tom Davies Square even more welcoming and inclusive.