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Questions and Answers

CFVM: Questions and Answers - Français
What is the CFVM (Community of Federal Visible Minorities)?
The CFVM is an independent forum for visible minorities to organize, discuss and advance their concerns with respect to their well-being, professional advancement, and representation within the federal public service of Canada. We strive to help shape the national identity of our country with the aim to ensure that our federal institutions remain focused on merit, inclusiveness, respect, integrity, and professionalism.

Why was the CFVM created? How will it assist VM’s in the federal public service?
The genesis of CFVM lies in the fact that many visible minorities felt there was a vacuum in federal public service and therefore a need for them to organize as a community - much like the community of middle managers, executives and others - to discuss and resolve issues of common concern and support each other in the provision of services such as career advice, mentorship, and deal with workplace issues such as discrimination and racism.

What, if any, are CFVM links to the Treasury Board?
There are no formal organizational links with the Treasury Board Secretariat. However as members of the federal public service, the CFVM is obliged to abide by the Code on Values and Ethics of the government. Furthermore, where possible and if called upon, the CFVM will support the Treasury Board to achieve its objectives as related to employment equity and in strengthening the principles of merit. In this regard, the CFVM may be seen as a resource to not only the Treasury Board but also to federal line departments and agencies.

What is the expected role of unions and management with respect to the CFVM?
The CFVM is an independent organization and as such has not formal links with any of the unions or management groups. That having said, obviously members of the CFVM will and do come from all ranks of the federal public service: from unions, non-union, management and executive management cadres.

What kind of services if any, will the members expect from the CFVM?
The CFVM is a member-run, member-funded organization. Hence, the services it provides will always depend on the demands of its membership. These may range from mentorship for young professionals joining the federal public service, confidential advice to members on personal workplace issues, forums to deal with workplace harassment and discrimination, seminars on interview skills, opportunities for networking, and various other activities that would advance the well-being visible minorities.

Who can be members of the CFVM and what is the basic function of its members?
The CFVM is open to all employees or retired employees of the federal public service. The focus however is on visible minorities and their specific concerns. To be in good standing, members must adhere to the Treasury Board’s values and ethics code and be committed to helping shape the national identity of our country with the aim to ensure that our federal institutions remain focused on merit, inclusiveness, respect, integrity, and professionalism.

How will the national and regional executives work together?
As outlined in its Terms of Reference, the CFVM has only one national executive body, which includes five elected office holders including the President. There are also six regional representatives. The regional representatives are not members of the national executive; they do however work in concert with the national executive to implement the CFVM’s agenda in the regions. The representatives conduct and organize business that is reflective and consistent to the ideals, vision, rules and guidelines outlined in the Terms of Reference. Members of the CFVM cannot organize themselves outside of the mandate which was put in place and reflected in the Terms of Reference.

What is the CFVM’s view on self-identification?
Self-identification is a tool that organizations have used to advance and keep track of employment equity numbers. While it is effective as a marker of progress, the current reality is that visible minorities face a host of other workplace issues such as discrimination, as witnessed in the 2012 Public Service Employees’ Survey. Hence, rather than enter a debate on the merits of self-identification, the CFVM’s view is to focus instead on more pressing issues facing its membership: professional advancement, workplace adjustment, confidential advice, racism, networking etc.

What is the CFVM structure on consultation with VM employees?
The CFVM is not structured to consult writ large with VM employees. The focus and obligation of the CFVM is only to its members. Not all visible minorities are members of the CFVM. Given this, the CFVM will from time to time solicit its membership, through working groups, annual meetings and other forums, with respect what services it requires and where the organization should focus.

Who if any are the partners and stakeholders that the CFVM is willing to engage? 
The CFVM will work with any organization that helps advance our mandate. The only caveat is that any organizations willing to engage with us must share the principles that the CFVM is committed to and be loyal first and foremost to the federal public service and adheres to the values and ethics of the Treasury Board of Canada. That being said, such decisions, particularly those of strategic alliances, will be undertaken by the national executive in consultation with the membership.