For the first time in decades, Canada’s workplace fairness laws have undergone major changes

Federal legislation designed to ensure equal opportunities for employees of underrepresented groups is undergoing the most significant reform since it was introduced 35 years ago.

The Liberal government announced today that it has convened a new working group to review the Employment Equity Act, which the government describes as “an important tool for promoting fairness, equality, and diversity in federally regulated workplaces.”

legislation It is stipulated that no one’s employment opportunities shall be rejected for reasons unrelated to ability. It stated that creating these conditions “needs to take special measures and adapt to differences”.

Labor Minister Filomena Tassi said the legislation improved the status of various groups who are marginalized in the workplace, but the bill was overdue to be updated.

“It’s about bringing this behavior into the 21st century,” Tasi said.

She added that future legislative changes “will definitely lead to a fairer workplace.”

The 13-member working group that conducted the review was asked to make recommendations to “modernize” the legislation. The working group will hold its first meeting on July 15 and is expected to submit its final report in early 2022.

Approximately 1.3 million people are employed in federally regulated industries and workplaces, accounting for approximately 6% of the Canadian workforce.

The review may lead to a more precise marginal chemical person category

The existing Employment Equality Act identifies four groups that face additional barriers in the workplace: women, indigenous people, disabled people, and members of people of color.

These categories were defined when the Act was introduced in 1986. The legislation was mainly inspired by the Royal Employment Equality Commission in 1984, which was led by Rosalie Abella before being appointed to the Supreme Court.

Among other things, the working group will be responsible for reviewing these groups, which may lead to the creation of more precise and diverse underrepresented worker categories.

Adelle Blackett, a professor of law at McGill University who was appointed chair of the working group, said that, for example, LGBTQ people may need to be represented in the next iteration of the bill.

Adelle Blackett, a professor of law at McGill University, will chair a 13-member working group reviewing Canadian employment equity legislation. (McGill University)

“Now is the time,” Blackett told CBC News. “We have a very important opportunity to achieve equality.”

Blackett said the national atrocities committed against the Canadian boarding school system and the settlement of George Floyd’s murder in the United States are driving efforts to address systemic inequality.

“It’s hard not to think about how to build a meaningful and inclusive legacy, including in our workplace,” Blackett said.

according to The latest report on fairness in the federally regulated workplace, Women, Aboriginals, and people with disabilities are still under-represented in federally regulated workplaces.

The representation of people of color is more favorable. Based on their overall share of the labor force, these workers fill slightly more jobs than expected.

Unifor says existing bill “failed to materialize”

The establishment of the review task force follows the recent efforts of the Liberal government to reduce inequality in a range of sectors-including new pay equality legislation that will take effect at the end of August.

Critics, including the Federal New Democratic Party, described some of the announcements as pre-election manipulation.

New Democratic Party women and gender equality commentator Lindsay Mathyssen said that last week’s news about pay fairness followed the Liberal Party’s recent record of providing “pretty words rather than substantive actions.”

Unifor, the largest union representing federally regulated private sector workers, said it urgently needs to amend the bill.

Unifor National President Jerry Dias (Jerry Dias) said: “Although the Employment Equity Act has been in force for 35 years, it has failed to deliver on its promise.” Wrote on TwitterHe called on the federal government to ensure that workers’ opinions are taken into account during the review.

“Updated terms, expanded inclusiveness, and prioritized enforcement will go a long way,” Dias added.

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