Employment Discrimination

Inequality in the workforce

Canadian Employment Equity Act

The term employment equity (used in Canada) or affirmative action is a policy that “favours members of a disadvantaged group who suffer from discrimination within a culture.”

In Canada, aboriginal people, women, people that have disabilities and other minorities receive privileged treatment from employers in certain businesses. This is known as the Canadian Employment Equity Act. This is one action that helps deal with the injustice that these specific citizens are facing.

Canadian Human Rights Act (1977)

Being informed on your rights can only help people stand up for their self in the work environment. Fortunately, the Canadian Human Rights Act outlines everyone’s obligations and rights. Discrimination based on a number of grounds is prohibited. When anyone feels discriminated they have the opportunity to contact lawyers and their human resources department about the issue at hand.

Employment discrimination and its global importance

By definition, employment discrimination is “a form of discrimination based on race, sex, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, and age by employers.”

The global importance is that no matter where you are, people are being treated unjustly and they should have the same opportunities as anyone else.

Employment discrimination and how it affects the lives of Canadians

Problems and conflicts have and will arise if employment discrimination continues. Even in first world democratic countries like Canada and the United States, some are treated better than others. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (effective in 1985) needs to be respected as it has an honorable reputation of fairness with all citizens. Section 15 (1) specifically is about equality rights and it states that:

“Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination, and in particular without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”

Anyone that feels like they are being treated unfairly will have the opportunity to challenge the charter.

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Being discriminated in the workforce affects the quality of life of all humans

Being discriminated in the workforce only negatively affects the quality of life for all humans. Every day they are being treated poorly and they don’t deserve it. Their self-esteem maybe affected as well. Unfortunately, even with some of the laws we have today, citizens are too scared to do anything about the injustice they are facing. They don’t take action because of the worry of getting into too much trouble and possibly ruining their chance of getting other jobs in the future.

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Canada’s responsibility in regards of addressing the challenge of this social change

Canada’s responsibility in regards of addressing the challenge of this social change should not be minor. Government intervention is quite vital because In order for there to be cohesion at all, people need to be aware of what actions are not tolerated and that there can be consequences.

Campaigns taking place

A campaign called End Employment Discrimination directly relates to this issue as its sole purpose is to end employment discrimination. It was created by an individual of the name Gahiji Barrow in 2013. Through media and ads displayed in different workplaces, people become aware of this outreach. Even communities have become involved through organizing job fairs for those that are having difficulties in finding jobs and were previously discriminated against in the workforce. With this campaign, the vulnerable have a voice.

If you are interested in this issue you can help advocate! Putting up posters etc. around your school or workplace can help people become aware. These can be placed in main areas were everyone will see them. Making groups of Facebook for example, will give people the opportunity to join while being notified on upcoming campaigns or protests. Take full advantage of everything within your reach.

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Discrimination based on race

There are some shocking facts and incidents that happened in even in Canada. In 2010 research was directed by individuals that attended the University of Toronto. Resumes that consisted of English sounding names compared to Asian, Greek or Indian were 35% more likely to have employers call them back. This is an example of unfairness in opportunities for all people. There is no evidence to prove that this still does not occur today.

Discrimination based on disability

Research conducted in 2006 (Statistics Canada) showed that out of every 12 people, 1 person with some kind of disability was discriminated against for something that they could not control.

Gender Discrimination at Job Interview: WWYD?


The following video, even though set up by the actors, clearly depicts how even strangers will take a stand for someone else being discriminated against. This clip shows gender discrimination specifically in relation to employment.

Improvement with employment discrimination over the last 10 years

Fortunately, there has been slow change and improvement in regards to employment discrimination over the last 10 years. As a society’s values and outlook of certain things evolve, people continue to stand up and fight for what they believe is right. Individuals are not as afraid to talk to people that are figures of authority when there is discrimination. There is always room for improvement and more acceptances of others but at least society is moving in the right direction. Without having the proper legislation though, people will behave how they want. The laws may not change personal views but it will change actions for the greater good. People in management position for example aren’t only a certain race or age. There is more variety than ever before. Also, Since the 1970s, immigrants struggle less to find jobs. They used to struggle a lot more but now are doing many of the same jobs as fellow Canadians.

Social change

Trying to change societal behavior is not any easy task. Robert Merton mentions that because of this, some people become deviant as they violate the standards of society as a whole by engaging in certain activities. Deviance is not always necessarily something negative as it sometimes created social change. Ultimately, social change can be created by passionate and considered individuals that won't back down without a fight. It’s more difficult to control a large group of protesters than a couple of people.

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