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Supporting transgender employees

Public Services and Procurement Canada employee Mia Sigouin opens up about her experience in the workplace while transitioning to her confirmed gender identity. Mia’s manager and members of the Trans Guide working group provide insight into the creation of the document Support for trans employees: A guide for employees and managers.

Video transcript: Supporting transgender employees

Start of video
(Music plays)
(Shot of Mia Sigouin and Emmanuelle Gallays)
(Mia Sigouin speaks)

My life before I transitioned is a little bit complicated.

(Text on screen: Making better possible)
(Cover page for the document “Support for Trans Employees: A Guide for Employees and Managers”)
(Image of Mia as a teenager, prior to transitioning)

I was so not good in my skin that I think my body was giving up and I took the decision to take a leap of faith and transition.

(Text on screen: Mia Sigouin, Manager, Next Generation Travel Program Directorate, Public Services and Procurement Canada)

When you take that decision and you announce it to a manager, the workplace is extremely important.

(Shot of Emmanuelle Gallays)
(Emmanuelle Gallays speaks)
(Text on screen: Emmanuelle Gallays, Director, Outreach, Social Media and Creative Services, Public Services and Procurement Canada)

I could tell she was really, really nervous. So she flipped over the phone with the official diagnostic from the doctor and although I didn't understand what it was, was it gender dysphoria?

(Mia Sigouin interjects)

Gender dysphoria.

(The definition of gender dysphoria appears: A condition where a person experiences persistent discomfort or distress because of a mismatch between their gender identity and the sex they were assigned at birth.)
(Emmanuelle Gallays continues speaking)

That was a new term for me. We wanted to kind of document the journey from Mia's perspective but also from a manager's point of view. That was the kind of the genesis for the guide.

(Shot of Kara Lafleur)
(Text on screen: Kara Lafleur, Human Resources Advisor, Employment Equity Division, Public Services and Procurement Canada)
(Kara Lafleur speaks)

So we were approached by them, we meaning my team, Diversity and Employment Equity, because Mia was transitioning and there was no policy or guiding document that she was aware of. The employment equity team, which is my team, created a working group, solicited input from various stakeholders, other human resource disciplines like pay and labour relations, the union members, union representatives from the various unions and our Pride at Work Network which is a network for the LGBTQ2+ community here within Public Services and Procurement Canada.

(Graphic representing the various stakeholders that contributed to the development of the trans guide)

(The definition of LGBTQ2+ appears: lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and two-spirit (adjective phrase).)

(Shot of Gordon Bulmer)

(Text on screen: Gordon Bulmer, Steward, Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada)

(Gordon Bulmer speaks)

One of the reasons I was involved with the trans guide is because I'm part of the Joint Committee on Employment Equity and Diversity here in the department. The fight for gender expression rights in the Human Rights Act was a 12-year fight. June 2017 the gender expression was added to the human rights charter as a protected ground. It vastly improved the lives of trans members, trans persons here in Canada.

(Image of posters from human rights rally, followed by an image of Canadian flags, encircled by alternating LGBTQ2+ and transgender flags.)

(Graphic representing the amendment made to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, through Bill C-16 to include gender identity or expression)

(Image of a street decorated with flags representing the LGBTQ2+ rainbow of colours, followed by an image of pink balloons and LGBTQ2+ flags decorating a street)

(Shot of Kara Lafleur)
(Kara Lafleur speaks)

The trans guide has started a movement, it’s still in the early stages but you’re seeing different changes throughout the department and through the Federal government as a whole. So for instance, within the department, our Translation Bureau created an accompanying glossary to go along with our guide.

(Animation representing the various terminology that can be found in the Gender and sexual diversity glossary)

So they created a glossary for gender and sexual diversity and all the terms in both languages which was very important because it’s very hard to find terminology in French. So all Canadians and private business can have access to this tool.

(Animation representing the web page address to access the Gender and sexual diversity glossary)

(Shot of Gordon Bulmer)
(Gordon Bulmer speaks)

The fact that Treasury Board and other departments have looked at our trans guide as a framework for the development of future documentation around the support of trans members, shows leadership by our department around social justice issues.

(Animation showing the different pages of the trans guide)

And it just shows that the Government of Canada can be a leader in social justice not just a follower.

(Image of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raising the LGBTQ2+ flag on parliament hill, followed by an image of a stylized Canadian flag with the LGBTQ2+ rainbow of colours)

(Shot of Kara Lafleur)
(Kara Lafleur speaks)

We received the Public Service Award of Excellence for public sector values in the workplace, it’s the Joan Atkinson Award. We were very proud and pleased to receive that as well.

(Image of the Trans Guide working group receiving an award at the awards ceremony)

And it was so nice to be part of a group and to create document that is actually going to help someone immediately. You can see the results straight away.

(Mia Sigouin speaks)
(Shot of Mia working at her desk, followed by a portrait style shot of Mia in an office setting)

My story overall at work has been great at PSPC because of the executive, because of the senior management, because of my manager, colleagues. They just made it an amazing journey.

(Text on screen: Consult the guide and glossary online at:,

(Music stops)
(Public Services and Procurement Canada signature)
(Canada wordmark)
End of video

In pursuit of carbon neutral: Arthur Meighen building

The Arthur Meighen building is set to be one of the first federal carbon neutral buildings. When complete it will include solar panels, a geothermal heating and cooling system and will serve as the main Government of Canada building for the Ontario region.

Video transcript: In pursuit of carbon neutral: Arthur Meighen building

(Text on screen: Making better possible)
(Mirela Nasaudean speaks)
(Arthur Meighen Building sign)

Having the approval to go with maximum carbon neutral was a dream. So when we got the approval, oh I think I cried.

(Text on screen: In pursuit of carbon neutral)
(Text on screen: Mirela Nasaudean, Project Team Leader, Public Services and Procurement Canada)

I don't remember, but I was so happy. It was the proudest moment in my civil servant life.

(Mirela looking out a window)
(Street view with cars passing)

Arthur Meighen Building is located at 25-55 St. Clair Avenue East in Toronto, Ontario.

(Mirela in mechanical room speaking)

As a project manager, I was just asked to start with a feasibility study in 2015 when we were looking at a major renovation of the project.

(Mirela and Maria McGibbon in front of the building discussing)

That was pretty much what we were tasked to do: understand what's the condition of Arthur Meighen Building.

(Mirela discussing blueprints with 2 colleagues)

A change in direction came through. I was so excited when I heard that. That was an opportunity for us to actually look at something better.

The Canadian Green Building Council was brought to the table by the Headquarters team by asking us if we were interested to actually be one of the pilot buildings that are participating in the Zero Carbon Pilot program.

(Building facade)
(Maria McGibbon speaks)
(Text on screen: Maria McGibbon, Senior Sustainability Specialist, Public Services and Procurement Canada)
(Maria in mechanical room taking notes on pad)
(Canadian flag flying on building roof)
(Computerized image of the view from the sky of the future building)

Midway through the first design of the project, we were told to stop what we were doing and revisit a new design to ensure that we are pushing the boundaries and going carbon neutral.

We knew we could do it, we just didn’t know how, and that was part of the challenges. There was no previous template, there was no previous direction on how to do this.

(Maria looking over blueprints with 2 colleagues)
(Maria opening a sliding door)

We had, as a team, had to create the path forward.

(Computerized image of front of future building)
(Drawings of future solar panels on the roof)
(Animated graphic showing geothermal system operations)

We defined carbon neutral as being firstly energy efficient as possible and secondly using and creating energy in the building, so utilizing solar panels on the roof, using a geothermal system to heat and cool the building.

(Kent A. Watson speaking to camera)
(Text on screen: Kent A. Watson, Regional Client Service Director, Public Services and Procurement Canada)

I think it’s extremely important for us, PSPC, to lead the federal government in building design of this type.

(Kent and Maria going over blueprints)
(Pan of an empty floor with Maria talking to 2 colleagues)
(Text on screen: 80% with downward arrow)

The design itself is going to take the current building and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, carbon emissions, by more than 80%.

So just that fact itself will be able to identify to, you know, current employees or new employees that, you know, by working in this environment, they are contributing to a much healthier environment both within the office and, you know, within the city itself.

(View from the back of an employee working on a computer)
(View of a city)
(Maria speaks to camera)

The maximum site carbon neutral option also included wellness features. Ensuring that there was access to daylight and views in the stairways and making sure that each floor was connected inside and outside, so as you’re walking up the stairs, you can look outside the entire way from the bottom floor to the top floor.

(Moving images of the design for the future staircase from the front of building)
(View from sky of the future building computerized design)
(Kent speaking to the camera)
(Mirela crossing an empty room)
(Text on screen: WELL building standard, air, water, nourishment, light, comfort, fitness, mind)
(Computerized image of a workout room)

The WELL certification is an enhancement to a normal building design. It looks at the occupants’ health. It takes into account water, light, the occupants’ health themselves, energy use. It’s a holistic design approach that incorporates everybody.

(Mirela in front of a screen making a presentation to colleagues)

Accessibility was always something that PSPC and Government of Canada was looking at. Every single ramp, every single space, every single sitting area or collaboration area would be accessible for everyone. Canadian National Institute for the Blind have a great pilot happening at Yonge and St. Clair.

(A beacon installed over a door)

What they're doing is they are collaborating with all the businesses in the area by introducing these beacons that are small devices that will be introduced inside of the buildings or outside of the buildings.

Those beacons will be able to communicate to a smart device that the people will carry with them and will be able to read to them what's happening in that area.

(A woman with headphones on clicking on her smartphone)
(Maria speaking to the camera)

We were supported by our senior management to look outside the box and explore. The only way we’re going to, you know, make a change is if we take action and create a true flagship for Canadians and provide a new way of renovations for buildings.

(Maria by a window inside the building)
(Outside view of the front of current building)
(Maria and Mirela on rooftop discussing with flying Canadian flag in the back)
(Mirela on rooftop talking to a colleague)
(Computerized image of front of future building)
(Text on screen: Currently under construction, expected completion by 2022)
(Public Services and Procurement Canada signature)
(Music stops)
(Canada wordmark)

Modernizing our pension services

PSPC is responsible for the pension administration for all Government employees and is always looking to modernize our public pension service delivery model, in order to make better possible. Experience the stories of Dolorèse and Kyra and see how the Department makes a difference in people’s lives during a period of significant transition.

Dolorèse’s story as a retired public servant

Kyra’s story as a retired RCMP officer