MONTREAL -- A Quebec-based one-time police officer is among the plaintiffs in a potential class action lawsuit against the federal government alleging systemic discrimination when it came to hiring Black employees.

Alain Babineau, a former RCMP officer, said his time on the force was mired by racially-motivated discrimination. That includes being asked during his first job interview what he would do if he were called a n----r.

The proposed lawsuit, which has not been authorized to proceed by a federal judge, alleges that Black civil servants were systemically denied “opportunities and benefits afforded to others based on their race” and that the federal government engaged in “systemic practice of Black employee exclusion” leading to “economic and psychological harm to thousands of employees.”

The current and former civil servants are seeking $900 million in damages for the roughly 30,000 Black employees they alleged were affected.

According to data from the Canada Treasury Board, only 96 of the roughly 6,000 executives in public service are Black and 656 –or 12 per cent – are visible minorities.

Babineau said in his case, some of the promotions he was offered were specifically set aside for visible minorities and said he witnessed “a dog and pony show” when he attempted to bring in diverse recruits.

A Treasury Board spokesperson said no comment would be forthcoming while the claim is before the courts.

The lawsuit is also calling on the government to implement a plan to diversify the public service.