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Senate Committee Calls on Federal Government to
Stay Vigilant, Ensure Employment Equity
achieved in Public Service  

Ottawa – (December 10, 2013) – The federal government needs to support greater monitoring and evaluation to achieve the goal of employment equity in the federal public service says a report by the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights. The report entitled: “Employment Equity in the Federal Public Service: Staying Vigilant for Equality” examines the progress that has been made and the challenges that remain for the federal government in reaching employment equity goals.

The report calls for monitoring and evaluation efforts to include better tracking, development and collection of employment-related data by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and for more information on this topic to be made available to the public. The report recommends this information include an improved review of the appointment process in the federal public service, including for non-advertised positions. Up-to-date data on the workforce adjustment processes is also necessary to ascertain their impact on employment equity. 

The Committee also calls on the federal government to expand its efforts to promote greater advocacy and employee participation on issues concerning employment equity within the federal public service. Such efforts should include the creation of an Employment Equity Champions and Chairs Committee for women as already exists for the other employment equity groups, given that full employment equity for this group has also not yet been realized.   

“Our Committee has learned that much progress has been made in achieving employment equity goals for women, Aboriginal people, persons with disabilities and visible minorities over the years that the Committee has been studying this issue, but there is still work to be done to ensure that Canadians have a federal public service that is truly representative of them at all levels,” said Senator Jaffer, chair of the committee.  “As Senators, we are able to work on issues over a longer period of time and for a country as diverse as Canada, this is a policy issue for which regular monitoring and review is of great importance.”

“The Committee’s continued work on employment equity issues is important because although , for example, women are represented at a greater rate in the federal public service than their workforce availability, they are still lagging behind men in terms of being appointed to executive and high-salary positions,” said Senator Ataullahjan, deputy chair of the committee.  “Women are still largely clustered in certain occupations and departments. They remain concentrated in administrative support jobs, generally hold lower-paying jobs than men and are over-represented in term appointments

Since 2004, the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights has retained an on-going order of reference to monitor issues of discrimination in the hiring and promotion practices of the federal public service and to study the extent to which targets to achieve employment equity are being met. The four equity groups named in the Employment Equity Act are: women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities.