What’s in a name? Canada civil service tests name-blind hiring

'Blind hiring' is one of the strategies Canada's civil service is utilising to become more diverse and inclusive. PHOTO: REUTERS

OTTAWA: Canada announced a pilot test Thursday that would see names removed from applications to work in its civil service, hoping this will eliminate any biases in the hiring process.

The aim would be to have a more diverse and inclusive civil service, the government said in a statement.

The so-called name-blind technique — in which managers are not told applicants’ names — is already practiced by a number of European organizations including the British civil service.

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In Canada, the departments of defense, foreign affairs, immigration, procurement, the environment, and the treasury board will participate in the test.

Screening will see recruiters remove any information on a resume that could be used to identify a person’s gender or ethnicity, including name, birthplace, or association memberships.

The practice has long been urged by employment-equity advocates. Ottawa’s decision followed the release of a University of Toronto study that found job candidates with Asian names were less likely to be called for interviews than others with Anglo-Canadian names, regardless of qualifications.

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