NICHOLAS MARCUS THOMPSON
Nicholas Marcus Thompson is the organizer of the Black Class Action lawsuit. Thompson, an employee of the Canada Revenue Agency and labour union president, worked tirelessly to address systemic discrimination in the workplace to no avail. Thompson made representation on behalf of Black workers to Commissioner of the CRA, the Minister of National Revenue, the Clerk of the Privy Council and the Hon. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. A lack of action by the employer and government led Thompson to mobilize workers ranging from the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Department of National Defense and Public Prosecutions Canada to name a few. Thompson is committed to addressing systemic barriers that prevent Black workers from fully participating in Canadian life.
"There can be no change about us, without us"
After 30 years in law enforcement, including stints with the Ontario Provincial Police and the Canadian Military Police, Alain Babineau retired as a Staff Sergeant from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in 2016. He holds a Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Civil Law from McGill law Faculty, a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Criminology from University of Ottawa, a B.A in Legal Studies and a Graduate Diploma in Conflict Resolution from Carleton University.
"The general belief solidly anchored within the police culture is that everyone should rely on individual merit alone in seeking employment or promotion. However, in the RCMP the reality is more “who you know” than “what you know”! In RCMP culture, “trust, norms, and networks” approved by the dominant group and those who hold the “keys to success”, determine who achieve advancement within the organization. Due to the lack of critical numbers throughout the ranks, BLACK members have always struggled with “acquiring” that essential “social capital” for career advancement!"
Bernadeth Betchi is employed by the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Her career with the Public Service began at the Canada Revenue Agency. "My experience working there was emotionally and physically draining. I moved from team to team, was bridged in as a term employee while my white counterparts were all given permanent and higher positions right away".
At the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the institution mandated by law to
address discrimination in federal workplaces, Betchi and fellow Black employees experienced systemic discrimination, racism and microaggressions.
Betchi holds a Masters Degree in Women and Gender Studies and is also a Professor of Communications and Human Rights at Algonquin College in Ottawa.
Jennifer Phillips has been employed by the Canada Revenue Agency for the past 30 years. Phillips says that she experienced anti-Black racism throughout her years of service. Phillips received one promotion throughout her entire dedicated service to the people of Canada. "It is my strong view and experience that my skin colour was used against me, and many other Black colleagues, when it came to job opportunities. I applied for many, many job opportunities, but was deemed ‘unsuccessful’. The positions were always offered to a white person. After constant rejection, I stopped applying."
Daniel Malcolm has been employed at the Canada Revenue Agency for 27 years. Malcolm is standing up so that future generations of Black Canadians can have access to federal jobs at the highest levels. "For my entire career at the Agency, as a Black man I have had to keep my head down, and not speak out against injustices, for me to get ahead. I have seen how other black employees are easily blacklisted when they speak out. This has affected me mentally. Our identities are not valued and our skin color is the key factor in treating us differently".
Duane Guy Guerra has been employed by the Department of National Defense for 21 years. Guerra is also an active member of the Canadian Armed Forces where he serves as a Corporal. "The problem of institutional systemic racial discrimination remains a serious hindrance to the progress and positive development of this federal organization. My dreams and aspirations which I spent my life prepare for were never able to materialize and grow in a toxic unsupportive environment".
DUANE GUY GUERRA
Yonita Parkes has been employed with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for 3 years. From the onset Parkes immediately witnessed that there was a clustering of Black employees in low-level positions. With time Parkes came to know that in addition to clustering, Black employees in particular are also routinely subject to mirco-aggression, micro-surveillance and harassment in the workplace. Further, these factors exacerbate and compound both the financial and negative health impacts of Black employee exclusion in the federal public service.
Kathy Ann Samuel has been employed by the Department of Public Prosecutions for the past 19 years. During this time she only received one promotion, which was a short-term acting for 8 months. "What is the point? You only get disappointed, frustrated and further traumatized. My morale and spirit are at an all-time low. I have no confidence in the process. I work for Justice and yet justice remains denied for Black employees".
KATHY ANN SAMUEL
Michelle Herbert is a Toronto-based labour rights advocate. As a Payment Service Officer for Employment & Social Development Canada (Service Canada), Michelle is committed to supporting Canadians who often face financial challenges. She is an outspoken union steward for Canada Employment & Immigration Union, and a champion of community service programs. Additionally, Michelle sits on the board of Black Mental Health Canada.
Stuart Philp has been employed with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for the past 18 years. Black RCMP members are repeatedly overlooked for promotions as part of an ongoing practice of Black Employee exclusion.
Wagna Celidon worked for Corrections Canada for 28 years. She was repeatedly denied and passed over for various positions that she was exceedingly qualified for. Positions were given to White employees despite Celidion's greater qualifications.
As wife and mom of three Shalane Rooney decided to ensure she did something for their futures. The events of this year changed our lives indefinitely. Shalane have worked for Statistics Canads for the past 10 years.