Equality, Diversity and Disadvantage in Employment

By Mike Noon; Emmanuel Ogbonna | Go to book overview

6 Equality and Diversity in
Employment in Canada

Harish C. Jain


INTRODUCTION

Canada has become a multiracial, multicultural and multireligious society (Jain, 1987, 1993), whose growing ethnic diversity includes a large number of non-white Canadians, called visible minorities (VMs). They consist of several non-white groups including Chinese; South Asians (for example, East Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan); Blacks (for example, African, Haitian, Jamaican, Somali); Arabs (for example, Armenian, Egyptian, Iranian, Lebanese, Moroccan); Filipinos; East Asians (for example, Cambodian, Indonesian, Laotian, Vietnamese); Latin Americans; Japanese; and Koreans (Renaud and Norris, 1999). VMs comprised 11.2 per cent of the population and 10.3 per cent of the workforce in 1996. Part of the reason for the growth in the VM population has been rising levels of immigration from non-European countries.For instance, prior to 1961, VMs were only 3 per cent of all immigrants to Canada.In 1971-80, VM immigrant proportions rose to 51 per cent; in 1981-90, to 65 per cent; and in the period 1991-96, to 74 per cent (Norris, 1999). VM population and workforce rates have more than doubled since 1981; they constituted 4.7 per cent of the Canadian population in 1981, increased to 6.3 per cent in 1986, and to 9.4 per cent in 1991. The corresponding workforce rates were 4.7 per cent in 1981; 6.3 per cent in 1986; and 9.1 per cent in 1991. 1

This chapter is divided into several parts. The first part consists of a brief review of pre-employment and post-employment job barriers confronted by VMs.In the second part, the legislative environment and federal employment equity (EE) policies such as the Employment Equity Act (EEA) and the Federal Contractors Programme are described and analysed.This is followed by a review of the Canadian literature (empirical studies) relating to employment equity.We then consider VM representation in private and public sector organisations, as well as VM representation in 1987 and 1996 in industrial sectors and selected organisations affected by the EE Act.The final two parts provide an

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