MONTRÉAL, July 31, 2015 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, announced support to encourage women, Aboriginal peoples, members of visible minorities and persons with disabilities to consider a career in the longshoring industry where these groups have traditionally been under-represented.
Under the Workplace Opportunities: Removing Barriers to Equity (WORBE) program, the Maritime Employers Association will receive $71,500 for a project that will help increase the representation of the four designated groups under the Employment Equity Act in the longshoring industry by positioning it as a workplace of choice in terms of opportunities, flexibility and salary.
Through the creation of industry-tailored strategies and partnerships, the WORBE program is providing up to $500,000 annually for projects that improve the representation of women, Aboriginal peoples, members of visible minorities and persons with disabilities in federally regulated workplaces.
- Employment equity is a key element of the Government of Canada's mission to create safe, fair and inclusive workplaces. Employers covered by the Employment Equity Act are required to identify and remove barriers to the employment of people in four designated groups: women, Aboriginal peoples, members of visible minorities and persons with disabilities.
- Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, the Government of Canada is helping under-represented groups succeed in the workplace. For example, the Enabling Accessibility Fund has been extended on an ongoing basis at $15 million per year to improve accessibility in facilities (such as workplaces) across Canada. In addition, the Opportunities Fund, with an increase in funding to $40 million annually, is being reformed to provide more demand-driven training for people with disabilities.
- Employment equity is making a difference for employers and members of designated groups in federally regulated private sector workplaces:
- The number of women in senior management positions has increased by 50 percent since 2001.
- Since 1987, the number of Aboriginal employees has almost quadrupled.
- The representation of members of visible minorities has exceeded their labour market availability since 2007.
- There are more than twice as many people with disabilities in the workforce today as there were in 1987.
"Our Government wants to create an inclusive workforce, one that respects and promotes diversity. We believe that a workforce that reflects the diversity of Canada's population will contribute to a stronger Canadian economy."
– The Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, P.C., O.Ont., M.P., Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women
"At the Port of Montreal, women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities account for 38% of the longshore workers we have recently hired. Despite this encouraging result, we still have difficulty attracting these workers to this rather unconventional trade. The MEA feels privileged to have received a contribution from the Government of Canada for the production of a video that, once used, will be a powerful promotional tool among these groups."
– Jean Bédard, President and Chief Executive Officer, Maritime Employers Association
The Employment Equity Act aims to achieve equality in the workplace so that no one is denied opportunities for reasons unrelated to ability, and to address workplace disadvantages faced by the four designated groups: women, Aboriginal peoples, members of visible minorities and persons with disabilities.
The Labour Program ensures that federally regulated private-sector employers and Crown corporations report annually on the representation of these designated groups in their workplaces and on the steps they have taken to achieve full representation through the Legislated Employment Equity Program. Employment equity must be included in the employment plans and practices of all federally regulated businesses with 100 or more employees.
There have been varying degrees of progress in improving the representation of the designated groups toward achieving equity. However, under-representation persists in a number of occupational groups and industries.
Workplace Opportunities: Removing Barriers to Equity is a new grant and contribution program designed to support employers subject to the Employment Equity Act in their efforts to improve designated group representation in areas of low representation through partnerships and industry-tailored strategies.
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information: Andrew McGrath, Director of Communications, Office of the Hon. Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, P.C., O.Ont., M.P., Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, 819-953-5646, [email protected]; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, [email protected], Follow us on Twitter