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By Jeannette Proulx
Regional Learning Advisor
Atlantic Chairperson for the National Council of Aboriginal Federal Employees (NCAFE)
A National Council of Visible Minorities (NCVM) Diversity Learning Event was held in Halifax on July 9, 2009. Entitled “The Colour of Opportunity”, this session attracted more than 80 attendees from various departments.I attended the session along with Jessie Campbell, Atlantic representative for the National Council of Federal Employees with Disabilities (NCFED). We found that the objectives of the NCVM are similar to those of our own councils; to maximize the potential of members in order to achieve equality in employment and in opportunities leading to career progression.
The event was opened with an African Libation Ceremony which was rich in symbolism and tradition, honouring those who have come before us.
A panel discussion on the barriers to employment for immigrants highlighted some of the issues that are experienced within the Public Service. Next we heard about the successes and challenges of a transition program for African Canadians at the Nova Scotia Community College. The Joint Learning Program (JLP) is a partnership between the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Canada Public Service Agency. They facilitated an energizing activity and emphasized the value of having Visible Minorities participate in their program. The JLP facilitates workshops on several topics of interest to all public servants.
Doctor Wanda Thomas Bernard, a Professor and Director of the School of Social Work at Dalhousie University, led a passionate discussion on the Health Effects of Internalizing Racism, all of which are detrimental to growth of the individual and of the community.
This was an excellent event, and Jessie and I are both happy to have attended. We were also pleased to meet fellow Veterans Affairs Canada employees in attendance—Heather Hannifan, Wendy Shea, Lisle Clarke, and Ray Simmons.
Jessie and I would like to thank the NCVM for inviting us, our managers for allowing us to attend, and our councils for supporting our attendance. We also want to express our gratitude to Keith Hillier, Assistant Deputy Minister, Service Delivery and Commemoration and our EE Champion, for supporting this initiative.
Please visit the following sites for more information on each of the three Employment Equity Councils:
National Council of Visible Minorities
National Council of Aboriginal Federal Employees
National Council Of Federal Employees with Disabilities
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