The Employment Equity Act is an important tool for Canada to promote fairness, equality and diversity in federally regulated workplaces. Since its introduction in 1986, continued progress has been made for the four designated groups covered by the Act. However, there is still work ahead to address inequalities and long-standing barriers that limit workers from reaching their full potential. The COVID-19 pandemic, recent tragedies and movements for social change have made this even clearer.
As we work to identify ways to make work environments more inclusive and representative, we must recognize the lived experiences of women, LGBTQ2 Canadians, Indigenous peoples, Black and racialized Canadians, persons with disabilities and other under-represented groups in federally regulated workplaces, and ensure that the Act reflects the realities of today’s workplaces. That is why today the Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi, launched a Task Force to conduct the most extensive review of the Employment Equity Act since its introduction. The Minister made this announcement along with the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, Bardish Chagger, and the newly announced Chair of the Task Force, Professor Adelle Blackett.
Over the next months, the Task Force will study the Act and consult with stakeholders, communities and Canadians on issues related to employment equity. Operating at arm’s length from the Government, the Task Force includes 13 members, including the Chair, Professor Blackett and vice-chairs, Professors Marie-Thérèse Chicha and Dionne Pohler, who bring a broad range of backgrounds, perspectives and fields of expertise to this important work. The Task Force will hold its first in a series of meetings on July 15, 2021.
The Task Force has been tasked with making concrete, independent and evidence-based recommendations to the Minister of Labour on how to modernize the Act. Its final report is expected in early 2022.
The modernization of the Act is an important step in advancing the state of equity, diversity and inclusion in federally regulated workplaces, including by addressing the need for better retention and leadership opportunities for under-represented groups at some of Canada’s largest corporations. Creating more equitable, diverse and inclusive workplaces will also help result in higher productivity and better retention. Taken together with other measures, this will help build a country where every Canadian has a fair and equal chance to reach their full potential.
Canadians and stakeholders are invited to visit the Employment Equity Act Review Task Force webpage for more information. They can also share their views on the review of the Act by email at EDSC.LEE-EEA.ESDC@labour-travail.gc.ca.