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Sunday, February 11, 2007

A simple proposal - modify the Employment Equity Act

For those of you who don't know, the federal Employment Equity Act is legislation first passed in 1986 and later modified in 1995 that prohibits employment discrimination on four primary groups: women, members of visible minorities, aboriginal peoples, and persons with disabilities.

When I think about the troubles that immigrants have in obtaining work in their chosen field in Canada (even if they are more than qualified) - this act seems like a place that the government could start to right a systemic wrong.

Let's challenge the government to add "immigrants" to their list of those against whom employment discrimination is illegal. Think about it: with the addition of a single word to legislation that is already widely embraced, many of the issues involved in keeping immigrants underemployed would dissappear.

According to the Media Awareness Network: "Employers designated under the Equity Act are required to submit an annual statistical report to the federal government, detailing the representation of these four groups among their employees. (Employers who fail to file a report are subject to a fine under the Act.) These employment equity reports are made available to the public."

Now, while not all employers are designated under the act (businesses impacted are those that employ 100 or more individuals, or who do work for the federal government), certainly this would be a great start.

Read the backgrounder here and Contact your Member of Parliment if you believe adding this protection to one more disadvantaged group of Canadians.

(Full text of the EEA)

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