Employment Equity Act (S.C. 1995, c. 44)

Act current to 2016-06-06 and last amended on 2014-11-01. Previous Versions

PART IEmployment Equity

Employer Obligations

Marginal note:Employer’s duty

 Every employer shall implement employment equity by

  • (a) identifying and eliminating employment barriers against persons in designated groups that result from the employer’s employment systems, policies and practices that are not authorized by law; and

  • (b) instituting such positive policies and practices and making such reasonable accommodations as will ensure that persons in designated groups achieve a degree of representation in each occupational group in the employer’s workforce that reflects their representation in

    • (i) the Canadian workforce, or

    • (ii) those segments of the Canadian workforce that are identifiable by qualification, eligibility or geography and from which the employer may reasonably be expected to draw employees.

Marginal note:Employer not required to take certain measures

 The obligation to implement employment equity does not require an employer

  • (a) to take a particular measure to implement employment equity where the taking of that measure would cause undue hardship to the employer;

  • (b) to hire or promote persons who do not meet the essential qualifications for the work to be performed;

  • (c) with respect to the public sector, to hire or promote persons without basing the hiring or promotion on merit in cases where the Public Service Employment Act requires that hiring or promotion be based on merit; or

  • (d) to create new positions in its workforce.

  • 1995, c. 44, s. 6;
  • 2003, c. 22, s. 237.
Marginal note:Employment of aboriginal peoples

 Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, where a private sector employer is engaged primarily in promoting or serving the interests of aboriginal peoples, the employer may give preference in employment to aboriginal peoples or employ only aboriginal peoples, unless that preference or employment would constitute a discriminatory practice under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Marginal note:Certain rights not employment barriers
  •  (1) Employee seniority rights with respect to a layoff or recall under a collective agreement or pursuant to the established practices of an employer are deemed not to be employment barriers within the meaning of this Act.

  • Marginal note:Other seniority rights

    (2) Unless they are found to constitute a discriminatory practice under the Canadian Human Rights Act, employee seniority rights other than those referred to in subsection (1), including rights acquired under workforce adjustment policies implemented when an employer is downsizing or restructuring, under a collective agreement or pursuant to an established practice, are deemed not to be employment barriers within the meaning of this Act.

  • Marginal note:Adverse impact on employment opportunities

    (3) Notwithstanding subsections (1) and (2), where, after a review under paragraph 9(1)(b), it appears that a right referred to in either of those subsections that is provided for under a collective agreement may have an adverse impact on the employment opportunities of persons in designated groups, the employer and its employees’ representatives shall consult with each other concerning measures that may be taken to minimize the adverse impact.

  • Marginal note:Public sector

    (4) The following are not, in relation to the public sector, employment barriers within the meaning of the Act, namely,

    • (a) priorities for appointment under the Public Service Employment Act or regulations made by the Public Service Commission; and

    • (b) workforce adjustment measures established by the Treasury Board, including measures set out in agreements relating to workforce adjustment, or by the Public Service Commission or any other portion of the public sector referred to in paragraphs 4(1)(c) and (d).

  • 1995, c. 44, s. 8;
  • 2003, c. 22, s. 164.
Marginal note:Analysis and review
  •  (1) For the purpose of implementing employment equity, every employer shall

    • (a) collect information and conduct an analysis of the employer’s workforce, in accordance with the regulations, in order to determine the degree of the underrepresentation of persons in designated groups in each occupational group in that workforce; and

    • (b) conduct a review of the employer’s employment systems, policies and practices, in accordance with the regulations, in order to identify employment barriers against persons in designated groups that result from those systems, policies and practices.

  • Marginal note:Self-identification

    (2) Only those employees who identify themselves to an employer, or agree to be identified by an employer, as aboriginal peoples, members of visible minorities or persons with disabilities are to be counted as members of those designated groups for the purposes of implementing employment equity.

  • Marginal note:Confidentiality of information

    (3) Information collected by an employer under paragraph (1)(a) is confidential and shall be used only for the purpose of implementing the employer’s obligations under this Act.

Marginal note:Employment equity plan
  •  (1) The employer shall prepare an employment equity plan that

    • (a) specifies the positive policies and practices that are to be instituted by the employer in the short term for the hiring, training, promotion and retention of persons in designated groups and for the making of reasonable accommodations for those persons, to correct the underrepresentation of those persons identified by the analysis under paragraph 9(1)(a);

    • (b) specifies the measures to be taken by the employer in the short term for the elimination of any employment barriers identified by the review under paragraph 9(1)(b);

    • (c) establishes a timetable for the implementation of the matters referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b);

    • (d) where underrepresentation has been identified by the analysis, establishes short term numerical goals for the hiring and promotion of persons in designated groups in order to increase their representation in each occupational group in the workforce in which underrepresentation has been identified and sets out measures to be taken in each year to meet those goals;

    • (e) sets out the employer’s longer term goals for increasing the representation of persons in designated groups in the employer’s workforce and the employer’s strategy for achieving those goals; and

    • (f) provides for any other matter that may be prescribed.

  • Marginal note:Establishment of numerical goals

    (2) In establishing the short term numerical goals referred to in paragraph (1)(d), every employer shall consider

    • (a) the degree of underrepresentation of persons in each designated group in each occupational group within the employer’s workforce;

    • (b) the availability of qualified persons in designated groups within the employer’s workforce and in the Canadian workforce;

    • (c) the anticipated growth or reduction of the employer’s workforce during the period in respect of which the numerical goals apply;

    • (d) the anticipated turnover of employees within the employer’s workforce during the period in respect of which the numerical goals apply; and

    • (e) any other factor that may be prescribed.

  • Marginal note:Definitions

    (3) In this section, “short term” means a period of not less than one year and not more than three years, and “longer term” means a period of more than three years.

Marginal note:Reasonable progress

 Every employer shall ensure that its employment equity plan would, if implemented, constitute reasonable progress toward implementing employment equity as required by this Act.

Marginal note:Implementation and monitoring of plan

 Every employer shall

  • (a) make all reasonable efforts to implement its employment equity plan; and

  • (b) monitor implementation of its plan on a regular basis to assess whether reasonable progress toward implementing employment equity is being made.

Marginal note:Periodic review and revision of plan

 Every employer shall, at least once during the period in respect of which the short term numerical goals referred to in paragraph 10(1)(d) are established, review its employment equity plan and revise it by

  • (a) updating the numerical goals, taking into account the factors referred to in subsection 10(2); and

  • (b) making any other changes that are necessary as a result of an assessment made pursuant to paragraph 12(b) or as a result of changing circumstances.

 
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