Fondé en 1983 --Unis pour la diversité et l'égalité raciale


Montréal, December 18, 2019 - The complaint of systemic racism in employment filed by a young Inuk filmmaker has filed against the National Film Board has been sent to investigation at the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Last summer, Stephen Puskas, a filmmaker originally from Yellowknife, NT, took the NFB to the federal Human Rights Commission for systemic racial discrimination in employment. Puskas had been selected for a 9-month internship at the federal cultural agency and worked on contract as an associate producer. In his complaint, he cited, among other things, repeated failures of the NFB to give him adequate orientation, support and integration.

During his stint at the NFB, Puskas was often assigned work that was more akin to administrative support and Indigenous consultancy work. As this type of work contradicted his job description, Puskas often felt devalued as an aspiring film producer and, at times, tokenized because of his racial identity.

He also noted a critical absence of Indigenous persons among the NFB’s staff, and other systemic barriers that led him to believe that the agency’s organizational culture and traditional operations constitute a “major systemic failure in the NFB’s efforts to redefine its fundamental relationship with Indigenous Peoples both inside and outside the agency.” Lacking confidence in the organization’s will to engage in systemic change and in Truth and Reconciliation, Puskas chose to end mediation held last month, and asked that his case be sent to investigation.

“I’m confident that my complaint of systemic discrimination will go far as many Indigenous filmmakers have contacted me about these deep-rooted problems in the NFB employment structure,” Puskas said.

Puskas is assisted by CRARR in his complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.