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Analysis by Program Activity


Equality, respect for human rights and protection from discrimination by fostering understanding of, and compliance with, the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Employment Equity Act.


A. Foster understanding of and compliance with the Canadian Human Rights Act

Financial Resources ($ thousands)

Planned Spending
Actual Spending

Human Resources (FTE)


Program Activity Description

The Commission is engaged in knowledge transfer in Canadian society and internationally, regarding human rights and equality as envisaged by the Canadian Human Rights Act. By monitoring trends, identifying issues, and conducting research and studies, the Commission creates knowledge products. Sharing this knowledge and engaging stakeholders in the process promotes understanding of the Act and moves human rights issues forward.

The Commission fosters compliance with the Act by:

  • implementing strategies to prevent discrimination;
  • managing a comprehensive and effective dispute resolution process that focuses on resolving disputes early; and
  • providing recourse for those who believe that their rights, as set out in the Act, have been violated.

During the reporting period, this program activity had three sub-activities to support its goals:

  • stakeholder outreach, policy research and development, public inquiries, national human rights institution-building, and human rights impact assessments of government initiatives;
  • prevention initiatives and collaborative arrangements within the federal system to promote sound human rights practices in the workplace; and
  • integrated processing of individual human rights complaints filed against federally regulated employers and service providers.


A1 Stakeholder outreach, policy research and development, public inquiries, national human rights institution-building, and human rights impact assessments of government initiatives

Under section 27(1)(b) and (f) of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Commission is mandated to carry out research initiatives. In 2005–2006, the Commission launched the development of its human rights knowledge development program and created the Knowledge Centre to implement it. The research program is action-oriented; it serves to advance human rights in Canadian society and could provide a starting point for debating current social issues. Further, it supports the Commission’s development of guidelines, regulations and policies on human rights and employment equity, strategic initiatives and other tools to assist employers’ efforts to prevent discrimination.

The 2006–2007 fiscal year was the first full year of operations for the Knowledge Centre. This answered the Commission’s RPP commitment to “complete the design of the human rights knowledge development program.” The project included:

  • finishing the design of the Commission’s research program, which included developing procedures and processes for efficient and transparent research contracting; completing most of the organizational and staffing work associated with the creation of the Knowledge Centre; building a database of researchers in human rights, which included more than 90 names as of March 2007; and publicizing the program through visits to universities and research centres and the creation of a human rights research website;
  • creating a focus on a National Aboriginal Initiative to develop relations with First Nation and other Aboriginal stakeholders and to respond to the demands anticipated in relation to the potential repeal of section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act;
  • fully integrating the Strategic Initiatives Division, which allows the Knowledge Centre to translate its knowledge-building into projects designed to advance human rights;
  • ensuring that all complaint processing teams have ongoing support from legal and/or policy advisors; and
  • providing strategic legal advisory services and support to senior management, Commissioners and staff of the Commission.

The Commission, through its Knowledge Centre, also committed to “create knowledge by monitoring trends, identifying issues, conducting research and bringing together experts in the field of human rights, and sharing such knowledge with stakeholders.” In support of this RPP commitment, the Commission carried out the following projects:

  • A Guide for Managing the Return to Work. Based on the report, Managing the Return to Work: The Human Rights Perspective, the Commission published a guide for managing the return to work. The guide outlines key legal principles that apply to return-to-work situations; step-by-step procedures to guide an approach to case management; and a series of case studies demonstrating how to deal with different hypothetical scenarios. The guide is available online on the Commission’s website.
  • The Medical Perspective on Environmental Sensitivities. Environmental sensitivities are a group of poorly understood medical conditions that cause people to react adversely to environmental triggers. Approximately 3% of Canadians have been diagnosed with environmental sensitivities and many more are somewhat sensitive to traces of chemicals and/or electromagnetic phenomena in the environment. People experience neurological and numerous other symptoms, and avoidance of triggers is an essential step to regaining health. This report was commissioned to summarize scientific information about environmental sensitivities.
  • Accommodation for Environmental Sensitivities: Legal Perspective. The Commission engaged researchers to establish the degree of recognition of environmental sensitivities by the courts and, as a result, the degree of protection available from a human rights perspective.
  • Assessing Progress: A Framework for Developing a Human Rights Report Card in Canada. This document offers a framework for developing a human rights report card for Canada. The framework is based on grounds and relevant dimensions that serve as powerful tools to describe human well-being in Canada. The second phase of the project will assess the feasibility of a human rights report card.
  • Human Rights Issues in National Security: An Inventory of Agency Considerations. The Commission engaged researchers to examine the extent to which national security agencies and their monitoring entities are directed by legislation to consider human rights issues in fulfilling their obligations and/or have reported on human rights issues in their activities.
  • Gaining Ground: The Role of the Canadian Human Rights Commission in Advancing Sexual Orientation Equality Rights in Canada. This study examines the Commission’s role in advancing sexual orientation equality rights in Canada.

The Knowledge Centre also created an initiative to monitor, record and distribute internally the legal decisions and trends that have an impact on human rights in Canada.

The Commission stated in the RPP that it would “develop policy and regulations resulting from the synthesis of human rights knowledge development.” Significant contributions were made by:

  • developing a legislative approach to the repeal of section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, including a proposed interpretative principle that would preserve the collective rights and interests of Aboriginal peoples, while extending the full protection of the Act that is currently denied to them;
  • reviewing the implementation of the Employment Equity Act over the past 20 years, developing a submission to be tabled in Parliament when it reviews the Act (likely in 2007–2008), and consulting with key stakeholders on this submission;
  • reviewing and revising the Commission’s policy on alcohol and drug testing, to include the very latest guidance from the Tribunals and courts on this evolving issue;
  • contributing to the development of the United Nations International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and supporting its implementation through the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions; and
  • monitoring and reporting on legal trends, synthesizing human rights knowledge developed to evaluate priorities in policy and regulatory development, and providing advice and assistance to stakeholders on human rights issues.

In the 2006–2007 RPP, the Commission also committed to “provide advice and assistance to stakeholders on human rights issues.” This is done on a day-to-day basis with employers, employees, unions, NGOs and international stakeholders, and represents a significant part of the Knowledge Centre’s continuous work. In addition to this ongoing service provided to Canadians, the Knowledge Centre:

  • reviewed key internal policies from employers that affect human rights issues, as part of the Commission’s Prevention Program, or as part of settlements or Tribunal orders; and
  • responded to requests for human rights information from First Nations and other Aboriginal stakeholders, and contributed to discussions on potential repeal of section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

The Commission continued to develop and enhance its website and use it as its primary tool of disseminating information to Canadians about the Commission’s work. The website, through which the public can obtain a wide range of information about human rights and the Commission’s activities, has become an increasingly important source of information. In 2006–2007, the Commission welcomed more than 1,042,000 visitors on its website, compared with 619,000 in 2005–2006 and 450,000 in 2004–2005. It now has 1,395 subscribers who are notified of new postings, compared with 914 subscribers last year. Requests for research contract proposals are posted on the website, and there is an online form for qualified individuals wishing to be included in a database of potential researchers for Commission research projects. The Commission also has an online publications order form, making it easier for the public to request Commission publications. The Commission distributed close to 65,000 publications during the year.

The Commission’s RPP commitment to “examine and propose action on systemic human rights issues” was achieved by, among other things:

  • conducting a second study on telephone access for the deaf and hearing impaired, covering federally regulated private employers, as a follow-up to the previous year’s study that dealt with federal departments;
  • publishing No Alternative – A Review of the Government of Canada’s Provision of Alternative Text Formats, which led to the development of a corrective action plan by the Government of Canada;
  • participating in B’nai Brith Canada’s Third International Symposium on Hate on the Internet in Toronto in September 2006, which brought together participants from the law enforcement, governmental, legal/legislative, industry, educational and community sectors to work toward global, multidisciplinary solutions to the problem of web-based hate and extremism;
  • launching the National Aboriginal Initiative, in part to inform discussions by Parliament on potential repeal of section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, and to initiate dialogue with stakeholders to develop models that respect the rights and interests of Aboriginal peoples;
  • following up with the Canada Border Services Agency on a settlement that deals with the very current issue of racial profiling; and
  • working with the Elizabeth Fry Society and Correctional Service Canada to implement the recommendations of the Commission’s special report on federally sentenced women.

National Human Rights Institution-Building

In 2006, the Commission initiated a number of consultations with internal, interdepartmental and international stakeholders within the field of international development and human rights advocacy. The purpose was to explore potential areas of collaboration and develop an international strategy focusing in areas where its expertise can be most beneficial internationally and domestically. In January 2007, the Commission adopted a new International Program Strategic Framework, committed to three areas of international focus:

  • advancing human rights priorities internationally;
  • strengthening human rights institutions in other countries; and
  • promoting the domestic implementation of international human rights standards.

CHRC has been a long-standing active member of the United Nations International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC). In March 2007, the Commission was elected as the Chair of the ICC. The Commission now begins this three-year term leadership role in bringing together National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from around the world to promote and protect human rights internationally. Through the ICC, the Commission will strengthen human rights institutions, facilitate relationships between various international human rights stakeholders, play a key role in assisting NHRIs at risk, and encourage foreign authorities to create NHRIs where currently none exist.

In addition to being elected to this prestigious position, the Commission led efforts to strengthen the ICC accreditation process, give more prominence to the 1993 United Nations-endorsed Paris Principles Related to the Status of NHRIs, and to give NHRIs both a seat and a strong voice at the table of the newly created UN Human Rights Council.

In October 2006, the work and mandate of the CHRC was reviewed by the ICC. The Commission was granted the accreditation status A by the ICC. Accordingly, the Commission was deemed fully compliant with the “Paris Principles,” a set of international rules providing guidance on the mandate, composition and functioning of independent NHRIs and which were endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 1993. In addition to being internationally recognized as an NHRI, accreditation as a fully Paris Principles-compliant member allows for the participation in UN human rights-related fora.

The ICC structure is divided into four regional groups (Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe and the Americas). The Network of National Human Rights Institutions of the Americas was created in 2002 under the leadership of the Commission, and includes over 15 NHRIs from Latin America. This year, the Commission continued to play a key role in consolidating the Network and advancing human rights priorities in the hemisphere. The Commission also explored opportunities for establishing similar networks of NHRIs in other parts of the world.

A2 Prevention initiatives and collaborative arrangements within the federal system to promote sound human rights practices in the workplace

In 2006–2007, the Commission continued to realize success with more employers embracing a preventive approach as an important part of their overall human rights strategy. Three more organizations, with a combined workforce of 34,000, signed memoranda of understanding (MOU) in this regard, all sharing a commitment to improve human rights in their workplaces.

The Commission has developed training manuals and is currently updating and revising text on the duty to accommodate and anti-harassment in the workplace and service delivery areas. The Commission is developing human rights training for investigators and a train-the-trainer program.

In October 2006, the Commission hosted a Discrimination Prevention Forum for representatives of federally regulated employers that are signatories to an MOU. The Forum focused on meeting the challenges associated with addressing disability and accommodation in the workplace. Participants also benefited from the full range of programs and services offered by the Commission, including research from the Knowledge Centre.

Employer Advisory Council

In April 2006, the Commission launched an Employer Advisory Council, which provides a forum for raising, discussing and acting on issues related to the prevention of discrimination in workplaces and service centres across Canada to strengthen a culture of respect for human rights. The Council is made up of senior Commission Discrimination Prevention staff and representatives of employers who have signed an MOU with the Commission. The diverse membership of federally regulated employers helps the Commission communicate more widely throughout various sectors on prevention-related matters, best practices, tools and resources. It is anticipated that the membership will continue to grow.

Because employers identified the duty to accommodate as having a significant impact on their organizations, the Council established a subcommittee to undertake a detailed exploration of the issue. The subcommittee is examining challenges and best practices with a view to reducing the number of complaints filed on this ground and encouraging inclusiveness of this group in the workplace. It will report its findings to the Council in 2007.

Demonstrated benefits

The interest shown by employers in working with the Commission to review and share practices and policies that address human rights disputes is an encouraging sign of their ongoing commitment to foster inclusive, respectful workplaces. As the Commission expands its efforts in this area, more tools and resources from employers and the Commission will be shared online, making them easily accessible to all employers, unions and other stakeholders interested in providing a discrimination-free environment and a more inclusive and representative workforce.

The number of complaints against MOU signatories that the Commission accepted decreased over each quarter of the 2006–2007 fiscal year (see chart below). In contrast, the number of accepted complaints against other organizations did not demonstrate a similar decrease. Further examination of the time to resolve an accepted complaint for MOU signatories relative to organizations that have not signed an MOU with the Commission will be conducted in 2007-2008.

FIGURE 1: Number of accepted complaints against MOU and non-MOU organizations in fiscal year 2006–2007

Bar chart depicting the number of accepted complaints against MOU signatories and the number of accepted complaints against organizations that have not signed an MOU with the Commission. The number of complaints against MOU signatories decreased over each quarter of 2006-2007, going from 39 in the first quarter to 26 in the second quarter to 25 in the third quarter to 21 in the fourth quarter. Over the same period, the number of complaints against non-MOU organizations per quarter went from 136 to 161 to 92 to 109.

The Commission has played a key role in creating a network of organizations committed to preventing discrimination and improving the culture of human rights in the workplace and in service delivery areas. The Commission plans to expand the network to include more stakeholders across Canada.

A3 Integrated processing of individual human rights complaints filed against federally regulated employers and service providers

In 2006–2007, the Dispute Resolution Branch combined its intake and alternative dispute resolution services to create a new unit, with the mandate of encouraging the use of less formal approaches to resolving disputes. The new unit is the first point of contact for people who believe they have experienced discrimination. It is staffed by senior analysts working in tandem with mediators to help parties look at practical solutions to their concerns and, where appropriate, avoid investigation and litigation. The Dispute Resolution Branch now consists of three divisions: Resolution Services, Investigations and Litigation Services.

The results of the continued improvements are shown in the tables below. The Commission is now processing cases more quickly: the average age of cases is now at 8.9 months compared with last year’s average age of 9.1 months, and 69% of the active cases are less than one year old while only 5% are more than two years old.

FIGURE 2: Total Active Caseload by Age Category

Bar chart depicting the total active caseload by age category. The total active caseload decreased from 931 cases in March 2005 to 663 cases in March 2006 to 604 cases in March 2007. Over the same period, the number of cases over two years old fell from 77 (or 8% of the caseload) to 35 (or 5% of the caseload) to 31 (or 5% of the caseload). The number of cases between one and two years old went from 270 (or 29% of the caseload) to 153 (or 23% of the caseload) to 158 (or 26% of the caseload). The number of cases under one year old decreased from 584 (or 63% of the caseload) to 475 (72% of the caseload) to 415 (69% of the caseload).

FIGURE 3: Average Age of Cases (in months)

Bar chart showing the average age of cases in months, which decreased from 12.7 months in March 2005 to 9.1 months in March 2006 to 8.9 months in March 2007.

The early resolution process

The new process, introduced early in 2007, allows for resolution of an allegation of discrimination before a formal complaint is filed. When a member of the public contacts the Commission with an allegation of discrimination, staff will determine whether the allegation falls within the Commission’s jurisdiction. If it does, the next question is whether the matter could be dealt with more appropriately and more quickly through some other procedure, such as a grievance or other process, possibly in the inquirer’s workplace, which encourages dialogue and resolution of conflicts before a complaint is filed. The Commission supports the efforts of employers and service providers to deal with disputes within their own organizations. Internal processes often have the advantage of being more reflective of the culture and particular circumstances of the organization, and faster.

If no such other process is reasonably available, Commission staff will encourage dialogue between the party that alleges discrimination and the other party. The goal is to help the parties find a solution before a complaint is filed under the Act and the matter escalates, becoming more difficult to resolve and spreading through the organization to affect other people.

In most cases, the Commission uses this approach to seek an early resolution. If both parties are prepared to look at solutions at this stage, the process can be relatively quick. In some cases, discussions may be carried out through a process of shuttle negotiation, often by telephone. In more complex situations, or in those involving more people, one of the Commission’s mediators may take over the file and invite the parties to a meeting. This process is called “preventive mediation” to distinguish it from the type of mediation that can take place after a complaint is filed. At the meeting, the mediator will help the parties focus on their interests in an effort to identify options that work for everyone. Everything discussed at the mediation session is confidential and cannot be used in any subsequent procedures.

The results of this new approach are already encouraging. In 2006–2007, the parties in 47 cases agreed to try to resolve their disputes through preventive mediation and 27 cases (57%) were settled this way.

When a situation cannot be resolved early and a complaint is filed with the Commission, the parties may be invited to participate in mediation if it has not already been attempted. This type of mediation (after a complaint is filed) was introduced in 1999 and continues to be successful. In the period under review, the parties in 181 cases agreed to mediation. Of these, 80 were settled which represents a settlement rate of 44%.

If the file remains unsettled, it is turned over to an experienced human rights specialist who determines if the file is suitable for a preliminary assessment or whether it will be referred directly for investigation. The preliminary assessment approach continues to be a highly effective way of dealing with complaints.

The objective of preliminary assessment is to help the parties narrow the facts in dispute, provide information about the types of remedy that could be reasonably expected, and generally set the stage for the most appropriate next step in the process. In some cases, the assessor’s work can result in either a decision to withdraw the complaint or an agreement to enter into mediation. In other cases, the assessor may refer the matter directly to the Commission, bypassing a lengthy investigation. If an investigation is required, guidance is provided on the best way to proceed.

In cases where an investigation is required, the complaints are assigned to Commission teams made up of staff from Investigations and the Knowledge Centre (legal and policy advice). By continuing to dedicate resources to grounds-based, multidisciplinary teams, the Commission can more easily identify the best approach to dealing with a particular complaint. This, in turn, leads to more efficient, timely investigations, or more appropriate and creative solutions. The Commission’s investigation caseload was significantly reduced in 2006–2007 from 271 to 234. The Commission also completed the implementation of the modified investigation report format, both internally and with contract investigators, which includes a legal and analytical framework and better focuses on the issues in a complaint.

A separate team investigates complaints of hate on the Internet or transmitted by telephone. These complaints can be linked to any of the 11 grounds of discrimination set out in the Canadian Human Rights Act. In 2006–2007, the anti-hate team improved its procedures to deal with this type of complaint more quickly.

If an investigation is completed and the case is sent to the Commission for review, the Commissioners can decide to appoint a conciliator for one last attempt at resolution. The Commission can also decide to refer the matter to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for hearings. In these cases, the Tribunal will normally also encourage the parties to settle the matter through mediation.

The Commission’s focused litigation strategy allows it to support the parties at pre-Tribunal mediation, while concentrating on vigorously pursuing high-impact, public-interest cases before the Tribunal. The Commission can also intervene in precedent-setting cases before courts and administrative tribunals dealing with human rights issues.

In 2006–2007, the Commission continued to focus its litigation activities on matters having the greatest human rights impact. On a case-by-case basis, the Commission determines the scope and nature of its participation before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal after assessing such factors as whether the case raises broad policy issues, relates to major policy concerns, or raises new points of law. Above all, the Commission seeks to participate in cases that will advance human rights for all Canadians.

In 2006–2007, a total of 48 cases were resolved via settlements at Tribunal with the assistance of Commission counsel. These cases, which represent 72% of all Tribunal cases completed, resulted in significant and innovative systemic and policy settlements.

Litigation highlights for fiscal year 2006–2007

The Commission participated in the following cases.

Supreme Court cases

  • In March 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered its decision in the case of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) v. VIA Rail Canada Inc., a case dealing with the accessibility of VIA Rail’s new rail cars. The majority ruled in favour of the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) decision, which ordered VIA Rail to make its new Renaissance rail cars accessible to persons with disabilities. The dissenting members of the Court would have dismissed the appeal and sent the matter back to the CTA for redetermination. The Commission took a lead role as an intervenor in this matter and successfully argued that human rights norms, and the duty to accommodate in particular, are paramount and must be applied by every decision-maker in dealing with human rights issues.
  • In 2006, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Tranchemontagne et al. v. Ontario (Social Benefits Tribunal). The Court agreed with the Commission and held that the Social Benefits Tribunal is required to interpret its enabling legislation in a manner consistent with the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Federal Court cases

  • In Keith Dreaver et al. v. Jim Pankiw et al., the Federal Court agreed with the Commission decision, finding that Members of Parliament are not immune from provisions of the Canadian Human Rights Act. It found that the statutory language of the Act is broad enough to encompass statements made by members in householders (newsletters) published and paid for by the House of Commons.
  • In Brooks v. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Federal Court of Canada confirmed that the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has jurisdiction to award legal costs to a complainant whose complaint is substantiated. This has important implications for complainants who choose to be represented by legal counsel.
  • In the Canadian Human Rights Commission v. Winnicki, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld a two-and-a-half-month sentence of imprisonment on Mr. Winnicki for being in contempt of an injunction order prohibiting him from posting hate on the Internet.

Tribunal cases

  • The Commission participated in the pre-Tribunal settlement of the pay equity complaints filed by the Personnel Administration (PE) group against the National Research Council of Canada resulting in a settlement of the complaint based on the years of service of each PE employee.
  • On May 15, 2006, as a result of a mediation process initiated by the Commission, the parties in the long-standing pay equity dispute, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) v. Bell Canada, reached a settlement. This marked the end of a 14-year-old dispute affecting 4,765 current and former telephone operators.
  • In Buffett v. Canadian Forces, the Commission argued that the respondent’s refusal to grant the complainant funding for a reproductive medical procedure (in vitro fertilization or IVF) constituted adverse differential treatment based on his disability and his sex in breach of sections 7 and 10 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. The Tribunal found that the Canadian Forces did not offer the same benefit to its male members with infertility problems that it is offering to its female members with infertility problems, and that this constituted a prima facie case of adverse differential treatment.
  • In 2006, the Tribunal rendered its decision in the case of Bob Brown v. National Capital Commission, which deals with the accessibility of a public infrastructure for persons with disabilities. The Tribunal held that it is not reasonable accommodation to force people with mobility impairments to take a detour and that access should be provided as near as possible to the place where it is required.
  • Commission counsel participated in Warman v. Glenn Bahr and Western Canada for Us, Warman v. Craig Harrison, and Warman v. Peter Kouba, where the complaints were substantiated and the Tribunal ordered the respondents to each pay a penalty, which in one case was $10,000. The respondents were also ordered to cease and desist the posting of hate messages over the Internet.


B. Employment equity audits in federal and federally regulated workplaces

Financial Resources ($ thousands)

Planned Spending
Actual Spending

Human Resources (FTEs)



The requirements of the Employment Equity Act are designed to ensure that federally regulated private sector employers with more than 100 employees, Crown corporations, and federal government departments and separate agencies take the necessary steps to identify, correct or eliminate the effects of employment discrimination affecting the four designated groups: women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities. The program has three sub-activities to support its goals:

  • ensuring employer compliance with employment equity statutory requirements in the form of an employment equity plan;
  • ensuring reasonable efforts and reasonable progress are made toward full representation of the four designated groups in accordance with labour market availability; and
  • conducting stakeholder outreach, policy research and development, public inquiries, and employment equity impact assessments of government initiatives.


B1 Ensuring employer compliance with employment equity statutory requirements in the form of an employment equity plan

The Employment Equity Compliance Program requires employers to identify barriers to employment and implement best practices to eliminate gaps in the representation of designated groups. Through the Employment Equity Act, the Commission is mandated to conduct audits of the federal public sector and federally regulated private sector workplaces to ensure compliance with the Act.

A new streamlined audit process has been implemented. The implementation phase of this project is expected to be completed by March 2008, at which point the number of audits completed per year is expected to increase. The new approach focuses on achieving better results toward equality in the workplace.

In 2006-2007, the Commission initiated 42 compliance audits. Efforts were focused on assessing the progress of employers previously audited. This approach has enhanced our capacity to evaluate progress being made by employers in increasing representation levels in the workforce. The Commission also completed 13 audit reports. The successful completion of program objectives was affected by staff turnover while substantial efforts were deployed to reinforce capacity through the hiring and training of new team members.

Approximately 41% of the employers covered by the Act have been audited or are currently under audit. This accounts for 77% of the workforce covered by the Employment Equity Act.

B2 Ensuring reasonable efforts and reasonable progress are made toward full representation of the four designated groups in accordance with labour market availability.

In 2006-2007, audit tools were redesigned to ensure that audits are completed within a shorter time frame. The revitalized audit approach, along with greater efforts in disseminating information to employers about the Act’s requirements, should contribute to a greater representation of designated groups among employers subject to the Employment Equity Act. New performance measures in alignment with the new audit process have been developed.

The Commission monitors progress made by employers in implementing their plans and achieving an equitable workforce. This monitoring includes the achievement of hiring, promotion and representation goals. For the private sector, goals are measured against data that employers submit annually to Human Resources and Social Development Canada. In the public sector, goals are measured against data submitted to the Canada Public Service Agency.

The Commission has completed three years of monitoring progress for approximately 140 employers. Close to 40% of hiring and promotion goals for employers in the private sector and 53% of goals in the public sector were met since the beginning of the program. When compared with results from the previous year, the attainment of goals increased in the private sector for all designated groups. However, in the public sector, overall attainment of goals as well as those for Aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities was lower when compared with the previous year. The attainment of goals varied by sector and by designated group from a low of 32% for persons with disabilities in the private sector to a high of 66% for women in the public sector in 2006–2007. The private sector was slightly more successful in achieving goals for Aboriginal peoples than the public sector. These results have assisted in the development of corrective actions aimed at increasing representation levels. About 43% of goals for visible minorities by employers in the public sector were met. This was similar to the private sector where 42% of goals for visible minorities were attained.

FIGURE 4: Percentage of Goals Attained Among Employers Found in Initial Compliance

Bar chart depicting the percentage of goals attained among public and private sector employers found in initial compliance. In total, in the public sector 53.4% of goals were attained compared to 40.5% in the private sector. For women, 65.8% of goals were attained in the public sector and 42.7% in the private sector. For Aboriginal peoples, 46.7% of goals were attained in the public sector and 51.1% in the private sector. For persons with disabilities, 60.6% of goals were attained in the public sector and 32% in the private sector. For visible minorities, 43.1% of goals were attained in the public sector and 42.3% in the private sector.

B3 Stakeholder outreach, policy research and development, public inquiries, and employment equity impact assessments of government initiatives

Sharing knowledge with employers on hiring and promotion practices that help ensure equality in the workplace for designated groups is an important part of the Employment Equity Compliance Program.

As the program progresses, the Commission gathers information through the audit process on successful strategies for combating discrimination. This is why the audit program has been incorporated into the Discrimination Prevention Program. The Commission is now able to build on the outcome of its audit program by providing employers with prevention tools, best practices and enhanced information for the continuous improvement of human rights in the workplace.

The Commission is participating in the five-year review process on the effectiveness of the Employment Equity Act, being conducted by a parliamentary committee. This review gives the Commission the opportunity to report on its achievements to date and to make a formal submission to the parliamentary committee. To that end, the Commission coordinated a number of consultation sessions with stakeholders, including employer associations and union representatives.

In 2006-2007, the Commission revised the information on its website about employment equity and added new tools such as best practices and guidelines that employers can access online to assess their compliance status. This approach will encourage employers to identify problems and propose solutions before being audited. These proactive measures will contribute to equality in the workplace.