May 1, 2009 By: Christopher C. Rootham and Janice B. Payne
Print

Some Statistics

In Canada,

  • Visible minorities make up 13.4% of the Canadian population as of 2001 (up from roughly 5% in 1981)
  • Visible minorities make up 12.6% of the working Canadian working population (up from 6.3% in 1986)
  • Visible minorities (when aboriginal Canadians are excluded) are better educated than the rest of Canada
  • Visible minorities experience lower rates of employment holding education constant
  • Only 29% of Canadian-born visible minorities with university degrees are in the top income quintile (vs. 38% of Canadian-born, non-VM)

In the Federal Public Service,

  • Visible minorities make up 7.4% of federal public service

    • Only 4.2% of EX category positions
  • Visible minorities are "clustered" in the science and technology community

    • 24% of all visible minority employees are in these occupational groups, vs. 10% of the entire public service

Best Practices for Management

Corporate Culture vs. "Getting the Numbers Up"

  • Dedicating to a change in corporate culture is insufficient if there are not obvious positive results
  • The more visible minorities are present, the more welcoming the corporate culture
  • Change in corporate culture must move in concert with increasing numbers of visible minorities

Ten practical steps to making a difference:

  1. Determine how you can help achieve the goals identified in your department's equity plan
  2. Use existing employment equity programs and tools
  3. Review statement of qualifications before posting jobs
  4. Do not screen out candidates with foreign credentials
  5. Increase participation of visible minorities on selection boards
  6. Provide visible minorities with full access to training and career development opportunities
  7. Access inventories of candidates self-identified as visible minorities
  8. Make your staff part of the solution
  9. Welcome and support new employees
  10. Create a positive work culture – lead by example

Things to avoid asking during an interview:

  • "Where are you from?" or "Were you born in Canada?"
  • "Will you need time off for religious holidays?"

Some practical steps:

  • Training in communication (learning interactions that are acceptable are respectful between different ethno-cultural communities)
  • Encourage support networks
  • Distribute multicultural calendars to avoid booking meetings during non-Christian religious holidays
  • Dedicate space for cultural needs (a prayer room, for example)
  • Encourage employees to attend office multicultural events
  • File a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission
  • File a grievance (after the Public Service Modernization Act has been implemented)
  • File an internal harassment complaint
  • Ask the Public Service Commission to investigate (if the matter relates to staffing)
This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2017 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

Service: Employment Law