workplace equity

What is Employment Equity?

Employment equity is a term that is often misunderstood. We wanted to take some time to explain what employment equity in Canada really means and discuss its current status.

What is employment equity?

The Employment Equity Act, we know today, was implemented in 1995 for the sole purpose of achieving equality in the Canadian workplace so that no person should be denied employment. Employment Equity encourages the practice of creating work environments free from barriers. It promotes special measures for employing members of underrepresented groups including women, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, and visible minorities. It is an ideal that workplaces should strive towards.

The Employment Equity Act means that employers are responsible for finding and removing barriers against persons in designated groups that result from their policies, procedures, and practices. They should create a workplace that is positive and make reasonable accommodations so that their workforce reflects equal representation of women, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, or visible minorities. For example, if a warehouse does not have any accessible ramps it must provide adequate access to the workplace for employees with disabilities.

Is employment equity discrimination?

Contrary to some opinions, employment equity is not a form of ‘reverse racism’ or discrimination. It is a practice that helps rebalance the scales and offers opportunities to those who are often overlooked.

Workers everyday are denied opportunities based on their physical abilities, gender, race, and so much more. The Employment Equity Act ensures employers push their workplace towards equality.

How can a Union help?

Alberta unions do not have control over staffing decisions; however, Teamsters 987 is committed to ensuring Alberta workers are employed at a workplace that upholds employment standards and equality.

Who does the Employment Equity Act apply to?

  • private sector employers
  • the portions of the federal public administration set out in Schedule I or IV to the Financial Administration Act
  • the portions of the federal public administration set out in of Schedule V to the Financial Administration Act that employ one hundred or more employees, and
  • such other portion of the public sector employing 100 or more employees, including the Canadian Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

(Government of Canada)

If you have questions about Employment Equity in your workplace, contact us today.

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