In recent years, as part of our work to help employers in Canada proactively identify, remove and prevent barriers to employment equity, we added new tools to our auditing toolbox. One of them uses an innovative horizontal auditing approach to identify systemic barriers for specific designated employment equity groups within specific employment sectors. We are using this approach to produce sector-wide reports, complete with examples of the common practices that can be used to address under-representation and promote inclusion.
Here are the highlights from our work in 2021 in conducting horizontal audits:
- Completion of the audit on employment of Indigenous people in the banking sector: In 2020, we had published a sector-wide report on the Employment Equity section of the Commission's website. This year, we completed the final steps of this horizontal audit process, which included monitoring of the management action plans for each organization. As both a test case for the effectiveness of this new auditing process and as an attempt to get an accurate picture of employment representation of Indigenous people in the banking sector, the audit has been a success. The audit was well received among stakeholders, which has confirmed the need for the Commission to continue to conduct targeted audits and to share good practices publicly.
- Assessing barriers for people with disabilities in the communications sector: Near completion, this horizontal audit focussed on identifying barriers faced by people with disabilities across the federally regulated communications sector. By the end of 2021, 17 employers received their individual reports as part of this audit process. A final sector-wide report will eventually be published on the Commission's website.
- Identifying gaps in career-advancement for racialized people: Over the course of 2021, we kept moving forward on this employment equity audit. The ultimate goal is to assess the level of representation of racialized people in management and executive roles in the federal public service. We want to identify key employment gaps as well as barriers to the recruitment, promotion and retention of racialized employees in management and executive positions. Once completed, the final sector-wide report of this audit will be released publicly so that every organization can benefit from the best practices we are garnering.
Other employment equity updates
In 2021, we launched the latest innovation in our audit toolkit: a new blitz approach for private sector employers with less than 300 employees. We have developed it to help smaller employers better understand their obligations under the Employment Equity Act, and to help them comply without having to go through a full audit. Using this blitz audit, we can help these employers identify gaps in representation in their workforce and measures to address any barriers.
Providing our input in how to improve the Employment Equity Act
When our society evolves it is important that our laws evolve with it. That is why in 2021 we lent our expertise to the federal government's task force reviewing the Employment Equity Act. From necessary updates to dated terminology, to other improvements needed to ensure this important legislation remains an inclusive tool for change, we are working to develop a formal submission on proposed changes to the Act.