Organizational policies, practices and initiatives are aimed at increasing employment representation of historically disadvantaged groups across the organization. Employment equity strategies are special measures taken to achieve specific goals. Once those goals have been reached, the special measures are no longer required.
Employment equity encompasses positive remedies for discrimination in the workplace through actions that assist in correcting past discriminatory practices against the four groups in Canada that have been identified as having faced arbitrary and unfair employment barriers. These groups are:
- Aboriginal People (First Nation (includes Status, Treaty or Non-Status), Metis and Inuit)
- Visible Minorities (includes persons (other than Aboriginal) who are non-white in colour/ethnicity regardless of place of birth, i.e. Chinese, Filipino, Black, Asian, Latin American, other, etc)
- Persons with Disabilities (a visible or non-visible long-term or recurring physical, mental, psychiatric, sensory or learning impairment, which limits the quantity or type of work you can do in the workplace or which may be perceived as a limitation.)
Note: Historically, unfair employment barriers for these groups have resulted in higher unemployment rates, lower than average pay rates, and concentration in jobs that are lower paid and have less chance of advancement.
In summary, employment equity focuses on these objectives:
- Ensures that the four designated groups are fairly represented throughout the workplace
- Identifies and eliminates discriminatory barriers in the workplace
- Prevents future discrimination and remedies the effects of past discrimination in employment