Employment Equity and Diversity Management: Lessons Learned from the Private Sector

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A legal framework was designed and implemented in the Province of Quebec to provide equal access to employment in private firms in order to remedy the situation experienced by persons, among other groups, who are members of visible minorities In 1998 and 2005, we undertook a survey with the individual responsible of the program (most of the time, this person was an HR specialist) in order to define and understand the links between the legal obligation, the concrete results in terms of analysis and revision of HR practices and policies and the levels of representation of visible minorities within investigated firms. The main findings show that: 1- they are still several barriers to equality in employment - most firms without doing any real impact analysis of their HR system, believe that their HR practices are unbiased toward members of the visible minorities and immigrants; 2- many misconceptions regarding the proactive intervention of the State to address the issue of systemic discrimination in employment are widely held, thus reinforcing what could be considered the "blind spot of racism"; 3- firms that believe they can get business benefits from diversifying their workforce are those that are the most advanced in terms of conformity toward their legal obligation; and 4- firms seem to find voluntary diversity management practices more relevant to their operations than the legal framework which could indicate a shift of focus from the notion of equality to that of diversity. This presentation tries to assess the evolution of the situation of equality between 1998 and 2005 while putting emphasis on some explanations of success and suggesting solutions to overcome the identified barriers to equality.


Keywords: Equal Employment Access, Quebec, Systemic Discrimination, Diversified Workforce, Diversity Management
Stream: Nations, Nationalism, Communities
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Marie-Thérèse Chicha

School of Industrial Relations, University of Montreal
Canada

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Eric Charest

School of Industrial Relations, University of Montreal
Canada

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Ref: D08P0475