Diversity is pretty much a reality among Montreal city staff, with visible and ethnic minorities together accounting for some 20% of the workforce. The city’s recruitment policy is clearly inspired by the concept of promoting diversity and is geared towards talent of all kinds in terms of gender, age, background, experience and culture. Specific measures and programmes are implemented to ensure employment equality, with a specific focus on under-represented groups such as women, people with disabilities, Indigenous groups, visible minorities and ethnic minorities. Once again, these measures apply to all city departments. By way of example, reference is made here to departments which are not usually very closely involved in cities’ intercultural activities:
- The City of Montreal Police Department runs recruitment activities targeted specifically at women, visible minority groups, ethnic minorities and the First Nations, with the aim of encouraging these groups to take an interest in careers as police officers and thereby increase the representativeness of the relevant posts. At the same time, serving police officers receive training on how better to deal with groups from various backgrounds and with different statuses. They are thus more aware of the various communities and are better prepared for interacting with them.
- The Human Resources Department has a work sponsorship programme under which candidates facing barriers to employment are able to acquire initial meaningful paid work experience with the city, in the employment sector related to their training. The city also tackles systemic discrimination through equal opportunities measures in accordance with the employment equity action plan, which is annually reviewed. With regard to public employees’ intercultural skills, the city provides training for managers to facilitate respect for cultural differences and make them more agile in terms of dealing with problematical situations. For their part, recruitment staff in the staff assignment centre receive training in dispelling misconceptions about cultural differences so as to anticipate and avoid cultural misunderstandings during the process.
- Following a review of the selection and recruitment process for firefighters, Montreal Fire Department introduced a preferential appointment system for ethnic and visible minorities and changes to the relevant tests so as to eliminate any systemic discrimination in recruitment and facilitate the integration of these groups as firefighters.
In the case of the private sector, the city does not have any measures specifically targeting business players, but the Montreal inclusive employment strategy seeks to raise overall public awareness of the benefits of diversity in the labour market and the fact that everyone must be involved in the economic integration of migrants and racial minorities. The strategy also sets out to get Montreal business leaders to play their part here by sharing a sense of urgency in this connection so that they take action.
With regard to diversity mainstreaming in the services provided for the public, the city does not seem to offer different types of funeral services or burial places, different school meals in canteens to cater for pupils’ dietary needs or sports facilities suited to certain specific needs. This is no doubt linked to the predominance of a secular institutional approach to the public service. However, Montreal does enlist cultural institutions – in particular libraries – to publicise the cultures represented within its population, conduct intercultural mediation activities and help newcomers to learn French, etc.