Employment Equity (EE) is a federally legislated program designed to help employers:
- identify and eliminate barriers in an organization’s employment procedures and policies
- institute positive policies and practices that ensure the effects of systemic barriers are eliminated
- ensure appropriate representation of ‘designated group’ members throughout their workforce.
The purpose of this Act is to achieve equality in the workplace so that no person shall be denied employment opportunities or benefits for reasons unrelated to ability and in the fulfillment of that goal, to correct the conditions of disadvantage in employment experienced by women, aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities by giving effect to the principle that employment equity means more than treating persons in the same way but also requires special measures and the accommodation of differences.
The stated goals of EE:
- eliminate employment barriers for the four designated groups identified in the Employment Equity Act: women, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal people, members of visible minorities
- remedy past discrimination in employment opportunities and prevent future barriers
- improve access and distribution throughout all occupations and at all levels for members of the four designated groups
- foster a climate of equity in the organization.
In Canada, there are two Federal Employment Equity Programs:
Legislated Employment Equity Program (LEEP)
This includes all federally regulated employers with 100 or more employees, such as banking, communications, and international and inter-provincial transportation organizations.
It also represents the federal government. Other parts of the public service, including the Canadian Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, may be specified by order of the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Treasury Board, as being required to comply with the EE Act.
Federal Contractors Program (FCP)
Under the FCP, employers with 100 or more employees who have secured a federal goods or services contract of $200,000 or more are required to sign a certificate of commitment to fulfill their mandated goal of implementing employment equity in their workplace.
Advantages for Aboriginal People
There are advantages for Aboriginal people in applying to an EE company. Every year, EE companies must submit a report indicating their efforts to improve the hiring, retention, promotion and development of Aboriginal employees.
When an Aboriginal person applies to such a company, he or she is asked to make a self-disclosure. This self-disclosure is optional. However, should the occasion arise, it is in the best interests of any Aboriginal job applicant to disclose one’s Aboriginal status or ancestry.