CHAPTER 3: EQUITY AND DIVERSITY IN HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
11 September 2013
Managers and HRprofessionals are expected to manage employees in waysthat comply with and respect
the laws and regulations ofCanada. The workplacemust notonly reflect but also accommodate diversity.
Discrimination based on race, age, or sex is illegal in every jurisdiction. Employment Equity is the
employment of individuals in a fair and nonbiased manner. Designated Groups are women, visible
minorities, Aboriginal people, and persons with disabilities who have ben disadvantaged in employment.
Women are underrepresented as semi-professionals and technicians, as supervisors in trades, and in
natural and applied sciences. Women are also underrepresented in management positions and as
members of boards. Female earnings still lag behind those of men.
The Aboriginal people’s unemployment rate is higher than the national unemployment rate. In western
Canada, they account for a substantial portion of labor market growth. They face many barriers
compounded by low educational achievement and lack of job experience, as well as by language and
cultural barriers. In urban centers, many Aboriginal workers are concentrated in low-paying, unstable
Being disabled as adults, many of them are forced to make career changes. Disabilities face attitudinal
barriers, physical demands that are unrelated to actual job requirements, and inadequate access to the
technical and human support systems that would make productive employment possible.
and Southeast Asians experience lower than average incomes, higher rates of unemployment, and
reduced access to job interviews, even when they have the same qualifications as other candidates.
Systematic barriers that negatively affect employment for visible minorities include culturally biased
aptitude tests, a lack of recognition of foreign credentials, and excessively high language requirements.
Employment equity is good business sense. It broadens the base of qualified individual, helps employers
avoid costly human rights complaints, enhances employee morale by offering special measure, and
improves the organization’s image in the community.
Representation in the Canadian Representation in the
Population (%) Workforce (%)
Women 50.9 43.0
Aboriginal People 3.8 2.6
People with Disabilities 14.3 1.6
Members of Visible Minorities 16.2 15.4
The Legal Framework
The Constitution Act of 1982 contains the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms:
Fundamental freedoms (s.2) that comprise the standard rights of freedom of speech, press,
assembly, association, and religion
Democratic rights (ss. 3-5) covering franchise rights
of residence and/or employment Legal rights (ss.7-14) conferring standard procedural rights in criminal proceedings
Equality rights (s.15) guaranteeing no discrimination by law on the grounds of race, ethnic origin,
color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship, Aboriginal residence, or
mental and physical ability
Language rights (ss.16-23)
The Canadian Human Rights Act(CHRA) proclaimsevery individual should have an equal opportunity with
with his or her duties and obligations as a member of society, without being hindered in or prevented
from doing so by discriminatory practices based on race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, age, sex
or marital status, or convictions for an offence for which a pardon has been granted or by discriminatory
Banks, airlines, railway companies, and insurance and communications companies). For the areas not
under federal jurisdiction protection may be available under provincial ones.
Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ) is a justifiable reason for discrimination based on business
reasons of safety or effectiveness (IE: Blind people as pilots).
Prohibited grounds of jurisdiction in Canada chart on page 90-93.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) deals with complaints concerning discriminatory
practices covered by the CHRA. It may choose to act on its own if it believes that sufficient grounds exist
for a finding of discrimination, it also has the power to issue guidelines for interpreting the act. An
individual can file a complaint if they feel they have been discriminated against. The CHRC reviews the
facts and determine whether claim is legitimate. An investigator is assigned to find more facts, submits a
report finding it substantiation or non-substantiation of the allegation. Settlement is arranged, if parties
are unable to reach agreement, tribunal will further investigate complaint. If tribunal finds discriminatory
practice, it may order the organization to compensate to the victim.
The pay equity law makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against individuals on the basis of job
content. The goal of pay equity was to eliminate the historical wage gap between men and women and
to ensure salary ranges reflect the value of the work performed. Pay equity means equal pay for work of
equal value. Two principles:
Equal pay for equal work, pay equality, male and female workers must be paid the same wage
rate for doing identical work
Equal pay for similar or substantially similar work, male and female workers must be paid the
Pay Equality is when it is required to pay women same as men doing same job. It is required by law in
every jurisdiction in Canada. It is about fair pay for individual women employees.
Pay Equity isaboutfair pay forentireoccupations,which aredissimilar,within anorganization(IE: Nurses
to electricians). It is required of all federally regulated employers, both private and public sectors.
Provincially it varies. Implementation of pay equity is based on comparing the work of female dominated job classes to the
value of work performed in male dominated jobs by males. Comparisons require the use of a gender-
in such a way that the characteristics of male jobs (IE: Heavy lifting, dirty working conditions), are valued
fairly in comparison with the characteristics of “female jobs (IE: Manual dexterity, caring for others).
Employment Equity Act (1995)
Canada Labor Code requires the employer to:
Provide employee with questionnaire that allows them to indicatewhetherthey belong to oneof
the four designated groups
in the market
Communicate information on employment equity to its employees and consult and collaborate
with employee representatives
Identify possible barriers in existing employment systems that may be limiting the employment
opportunities of members of designated groups
Develop an employment equity plan aimed at promoting an equitable workplace
Make all reasonable efforts to implement its plan
Monitor, review, and revise its plan from time to time
Prepare an annual report on its employment equity data and activities
The CHRC is authorized to conduct on site compliance reviews. Failure to comply may result in fines.
Implementation of Employment Equity in Organizations
Implementation of employment equity in an organization follows precepts of any management program.
Successful implementation must employ strategic planning, which must be incorporated into an overall
business strategy. Six main steps of what a plan should incorporate are:
Step 1: Senior Management Commitment
Commitment to an employment equity plan necessitates a top-down strategy. A more supportive culture
is created when the CEO or owner-operator publicly introduces written policy describing the
organization’s commitment to employment equity. The policy statement should be supplemented with a
communique explaining what employment equity is, the rationale for the program, and its implications
for current and future employees. It should be assured that all information will be treated confidentially.
It should be communicated through workplace posters, meetings, newsletters, etc.
Senior management must place the responsibility for employment equity in the hands of a senior
manager, a joint labor-management committee, and an employment equity advisory committee with