In spite of some controversy in 2013, the Employment Equity Act is one of Canada’s most important pieces of legislature. From the act:
“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 fulfilment 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.”
Here are some ways a business can use the Employment Equity Act to improve workplace conditions for all qualified people.
- Wheelchair accessible buildings.
To accommodate all potential candidates who are qualified for a position it may be necessary to retrofit buildings to be accessible for all individuals. Building ramps and installing larger wheelchair accessible bathroom stalls can help improve conditions for employees and make it easier for those in wheelchairs to apply and work for an organization.
- Unfair and uncomfortable business practices.
The law encourages businesses to dispense with practices within the office that can be offensive or unfair to minority candidates of any type. This may include situations like holding business meetings in gentleman’s clubs, thus making female executives uncomfortable in the environment. Insensitive language, joking, and other forms of harassment based on sex, race, or disability are also discouraged through the act.
- Recruiting in aboriginal communities.
It is also encouraged through the act that companies attempt to attract minority candidates through extensive recruiting efforts. For example, an organization may specifically work with aboriginal communities to create job fairs and other recruitment events to attract qualified candidates from these demographics.
- Alternate language advertising.
Sourcing candidates from minority communities may also be as simple as advertising in local publications using the language of the community. For example, crating advertising in a Chinese language newspaper or recruiting in French speaking communities can help open the job up to a number of individuals.
- Apprenticeships for individuals with disabilities.
Some companies can take the act further to encourage individuals to work with their organization as part of an apprenticeship program. They can teach their industry to individuals looking to learn specific skills. Those individuals then become a qualified and desirable pool of candidate for future hiring.
Are you looking for more information on Canadian employment laws and processes? Contact Anserteam to find out how we can help you!