Ottawa, December 25th 2023 — We, the LGBT Purge Fund and the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, organizer of the National Black Canadians Summit (NBCS), wholeheartedly support the comprehensive recommendations made by the Employment Equity Act Review Task Force. Their recommendations are closely aligned with our objectives.
When the Employment Equity Act was passed in the mid-1980s, its purpose was to eliminate blatant discrimination in the workplace. Originally, it specifically identified four groups that frequently faced additional barriers, namely: women, aboriginal peoples, people with disabilities and members of visible minorities.
Over the years, the protection provided by the law for these groups lost some of its original impact. It left some groups of people in the workforce more vulnerable and without protections. Many others continue to experience devastating forms of exclusion and injustice in their workplace.
We are therefore pleased with the detailed report of the Employment Equity Act Review Task Force, which has explored ways to update this important provision. In particular, we welcome the findings that led to the following recommendations:
- Ensure that black workers are a distinct group under the Employment Equity Act, rather than being classified as “visible minorities”;
- Ensure that 2SLGBTQI+ workers are a new group under the Employment Equity Act;
- Ensure the creation of comprehensive and truly transformative conditions to foster inclusion and equity in employment for these two new groups, the elimination of barriers, the promotion of genuine consultation and the creation of an Equity Commissioner to oversee implementation.
These recommendations are all the more crucial as they underline the need for additional measures to effectively combat discrimination that has historically produced considerable and undue obstacles for many people. The expectation in the workplace is to establish a truly fair, inclusive and equitable environment.
The Fondation Michaëlle Jean Foundation and the LGBT Purge Fund thank the Task Force for their work and urge action to implement its recommendations.
Lola Mongaï Louangvannasy (she/her/elle/li) | Communications
Fondation Michaëlle Jean Foundation