|EMPLOYMENT EQUITY PROGRAMS |
If you are a women, a person of Aboriginal ancestry, a person with a disability,
or a member of a visible minority, you may be able to take advantage
of "employment programs" that have been set up in a number of workplaces.
These programs are designed to ensure that everyone has fair and equal access to job opportunities.
They do this by eliminating discrimination in the workplace. Employment equity programs ensure that getting and keeping a job
depends on ability and merit. They also have special measures to make up for past discrimination.
The goal of employment equity is to ensure that the workforce better reflects the different groups of people
who live in our community.
Employment equity programs apply to "designated groups." These groups of people face barriers to employment for
reasons unrelated to ability. They may be unemployed or under-employed, may earn less income and may
have low status jobs.
Groups that benefit from employment equity programs are as follow:
- Women are under-represented in managerial and "non-traditional positions" such as the trades, technology
and scientific occupations.
- People with disablities may have a visible disability or may require an accommodation in the workplace
due to a persistent physical, mental, psychiatric, sensory or learning impairment. Note that different employers use
different definitions of "disability." If you think you have a disability and want to take advantage of employment
equity programs, ask employers about the definition they use.
- Members of visible minorities are defined as those who are visible because of their race or colour. They represent a variety
of races, culture, ethnic groups and national origins. They tend to be under-employed and over-represented in low wage jobs.
WHAT IS A DISABLITIY?
A person with a disability may find it difficult to decide
whether they should register in an Employment Equity Program.
The definitions that follow may be helpful in making that
- According to the World Health Organization, an "impairment" includes any disturbance of or interference with the normal structure
and function of the body, including mental functions. A "disability" is a loss or reduction of functional ability. The term "handicap"
refers to the social and environmental consequences to a person because of impairment and disability.
- The Saskatchewan Human Rights code defines disability
as any degree of physical or mental disability. This includes
the following categories or disablities: visually impaired,
hearing impaired, chronically health impaired, mentally
disabled, socially/emotionally (behaviorally) disabled,
learning disabled, orthopaedically disabled and multiply
Employment Equity programs do not create new jobs or guarantee jobs. However, they do ensure that job applicants are hired based on their ability
to do their job. Some employment equity special measures include:
- Actively encouraging members of designated groups to apply for job openings.
- Hiring qualified members of designated groups instead of other qualified people.
- Ensuring job qualifications are appropriate for the specific duties of that job.
- Providing special education and training opportunities.
- Providing workshops to employees on topics such as cross-cultural awareness or sexual harassement.
- Providing job-sharing and part-time work arrangements to accomodate members of designated groups.
- Renovating the workplace to make it accessible to people with physical disabilities.
- Providing technical aids and services to people with disabilities.
These are only a few examples of special measures. Each employer's employment equity program will be different, although the underlying
goals of all programs are the same.
Who Has Employment Programs?
The federal government requires some employers to have employment equity programs:
Contact your local Federal Public Service Commission to find out which employers
have federal employment equity programs.
- Federal Public Service
- Federal Crown Corporations
- Federally regulated businesses with 100 or more employees, which
would include employers in banking, communications, transportation,
flour and feed milling, and some mining.
- Other businesses with 100 or more employees, which bid on federal
government contracts for supplies and services worth $200,000
The Saskatchewan government encourages employers to voluntarily adopt
employment equity programs. Some employers have programs in place
while others are in the process of developing them. Employers with
employment equity programs include the provincial government, the
cities of Regina and Sasktoon, some provincial crown corporations
and the universities.
Ask the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission for a complete list of employers who have provincial programs.
Watch for job advertisements and application forms that state that an employer has an Employment Equity Plan, or similar wording
How Do I Register for an Employment Equity Program
When completing an application form, fill out the section that asks
whether you are a woman, a person of Aboriginal ancestry, a person
with a disability, or a member of a visible minority.
If you are sending your resume to an employer who has an employment equity program, identify yourself as a member of a designated group in your cover letter.
Some employers will only accept an application for a specific job opening. However, employers with employment equity programs will often keep a file of resumes and applications
from members of designated groups. When a job becomes vacant, these employers may decide not to advertise the job, and instead may look in their files for qualified applicants.
For example, the federal and provincial governments keep lists of people from the designated groups so they can refer qualified applicants for jobs on request.
You can get onto these lists by contacting:
Contact organizations dedicated to the interests of women, persons of Aborignal ancestry, persons with disabilities or members of a visible minority. Employers
sometimes seek the assistance of these organizations to identify members of designated groups who might be interested in a job.
- The Federal Public Service Commission of Canada and the Saskatchewan Public Service Commission if you are of Aboriginal ancestry.
- The Disablities Directorate, Department of Labour, Government of Saskatchewan, if you have a disability.
- The Canada-Saskatchewan Career and Employment Services office nearest you if you are a member of any designated group.
Lack of Formal Qualifications
Job advertisements often ask for a certain level of education and
a number of years of related experience, or an equivalent combination
of education and experience. If you lack education or experience,
you may still qualify if your paid or unpaid work experience required
similar kinds of knowledge, skills and abilities.
Ask yourself what knowledge, abilities and skills that job requires.
Look for examples of how you developed and used those skills and abilities through your paid or unpaid work. Think of your work with local and volunteer
organizations, employers and self-employment. Be sure to consider the skills used in managing your home and family, and your contribution to your farm, trap
line, or other family business.
State these abilities and skills in your resume or cover letter.
You may be concerned that your language skills will prevent you from getting a job. However, some jobs need only basic skills.
Improve your skills if the type of job you want requires better
skills than you have. For information about language training programs,
contact your nearest Human Resources Centre of Canada or the Saskatchewa
Employers can refuse to employ you if your language skills are not sufficient
to do the job. However, if your skills are sufficient for that particular
job, refusal based on language may actually be discrimination on the
basis of race, which is against the law.
For more information, contact the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.
Non-Canadian Education and Work Experience
Employers may be reluctant to accept non-Canadian post-secondary educational credentials if they are not familiar with your educational institution or its reputation.
Contact the relevant faculty office at the University of Regina
or the University of Saskatchewan, or the Saskatchewan Institute
of Applied Science and Technology for evaluation of the Canadian
equivalency of foreign credentials.
Work experience from countries other that Canada will usually have the same value as similar work performed in Canada. In some cases, your work experience may prove more valuable
if it is not usually found in Canada.
Contact the governing body for your profession; for example, the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses' Association, to find out how your credentials will be evaluated.
Include the information on the equivalency fo your credentials with your job application.
Poor Relationship With Employer
If you were fired, were pressured to resign, resigned due to harassment, or in some other way left a previous job on poor terms, consider the following:
- Be calm and factual about the situation if asked by a potential employer. Do not volunteer information unless asked, and do not be defensive, lie or hide the truth. BE HONEST!
- Be prepared in an interview to explain what you learned from
the situation and how you might have handled it differently.
- Ask your former employer what they will say if called for a
job reference. Try to get their commitment to discuss your job
strengths and not just problems that arose.
Returning to the Workforce After an Absence
If you have been out of the paid workforce for a number of years perhaps while raising your children or for other reasons, remember that you
have been developing skills and abilities that may be transferable to the workforce.
Determine what education, experience, knowledge, skills and abilities are required for the types of jobs that you are interested in.
Review your education, paid and unpaid work experience, community involvement, as well as, home and family life in order to find ways that you have developed those qualifications.
Include in your application form, resume, or covering letter, the
specific ways that you meet the qualifications that are required
for the job.
Focus your attention on what you have learned while you've been out of the workforce.
Focus on your wealth of experience and expertise not your age. Emphasize your energy, enthusiasm and commitment to the job.
Make sure what you say and how you say it is acceptable in today's workplace. You may wish to visit your local library and research
publications that are related to communications.
Make sure that you are up-to-date on development in your field.
Because of the advances in technology be sure that you are computer
Flexible Work Hours
If the standard work day (for example, eight working hours per day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., five days a week) is not suitable for you, but you want full-time work,
consider flexible or staggered work hours.
Flex-time means working assigned "core" hours, such as 9
a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with freedom to choose starting, lunch and finishing
times, which may vary from day to day. The hours worked would total
the standard weekly or monthly work hours, depending upon the flex-time
Staggered work hours allow for "core hours, with start and
stop times different from the "normal" work hours of other than
full-time employees, but hours are fixed from day to day. For example,
instead of working 8 a.m to 5 p.m., you may work 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Alternatives to Full-time Work
If you want to work less than full-time hours, consider working part-time or job sharing.
Working part-time can mean working fewer hours each day or working fewer days per week. It often means little job security and reduced benefits, but it allows you time for yourself,
your family and other responsibilities. Employers often don't advertise part-time job openings and may find applicants by referring to applications on file or considering them as they are received.
Apply often to employers who have many positions available for part-time workers. Always state on your application or covering letter that you are interested in part-time work.
Job-Sharing is an arrangement where two or more people share one full-time position. The division of duties, hours of work, salary and benefits vary depending on the situation. In most cases, the two employees wanting to job-share decide how to split
the duties and hours of work, subject to management's approval.
Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job and want to job-share, as it is usually the person who already has the job who finds someone to share
it with. They would approach management with the job-sharing proposal.
If you are interested in job-sharing be sure to clarify that on your application. Some employers keep lists in case their employees become interested in job-sharing.
Child Care Services
There is a range of child care services available in the province,
including private chiild care arrangements, licensed child or day
care centres, and licensed family child care homes.
For detailed information on these services and suggestions
on what to look for contact the Child Day Care Office, Saskatchewan
If you are a low-income parent and are using a licensed child/day
care centre or family child care home, you may be qualified for
some financial assistance. For further information call the Child
Day Care Subsidy Unit, Saskatchewan Social Services.
Care for Elderly Persons
If you require assistance caring for an elderly family member so that you can work outside the home, care within your home may be available, depending
upon the situation. Some Special Care Homes provide adult day care services.
Call your Regional Health Authority or check your telephone
directory's Yellow pages under Home Care Disabled & Elderly persons,
or contact the Community Care Branch, Saskatchewan Health, or your
local Home Care Board.
Inappropriate Interview Questions
Under the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, employers are not allowed
to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, colour, sex, marital
status, disability, age, nationality, ancestry, place of origin,
family status, sexual orientation or receipt of public assistance.
In addition The Canadian Human Rights Act includes pardoned convictions
to this list.
All areas of employment, including the hiring process, must be free
of such discrimination. Therefore, employers cannot ask questions
about any of the above topics. Questions asked should relate to
how well an applicant can do a particular job.
If you are asked inappropriate questions:
Give an answer that relates to the job and not the personal information,
If asked if you have, or plan to have children you could respond by saying "My career plans are..."
If a persistent employer continues to ask inappropriate questions, or if you feel that you were discriminated against based on the factors listed above, contact the
Saskatchewan or the Canadian Human Rights Commission for advice.
If asked whether your age may interfere with your ability to do the job, you could respond "My past experience, including..., has prepared me for this type of work."
Accommodating People with Disabilities
An employer may ask:
"Do you have a disability which will affect your ability to perform any of the functions of the job for which you have applied"?
If there are accommodations that could be made by the employer, there is a legal obligation to do so, unless the accommodation would cause undue hardship for the employer. "Accommodations"
should be interpreted broadly and could include:
"If yes, what functions can you not perform and what accommodations
could be made which would allow you to do the work adequately?"
- Changing the workplace structurally to make it accessible to someone with
- Providing technical aids or services such as tape recorders,
braile computer accessories, and sign language translators.
- Changing job duties, such as exchanging telephone duties for
other duties in the case of speech impairment.
- Working flexible hours to allow for therapy or medical appointments.
- Job-sharing and job-coaching for someone with a psychiatric
or learning impairment.
Contact the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission or the Saskatchewan Disabilities Directorate for more information.
If you have a mobility impairment, many urban centres provide public transportation services that are accessible to you. Note that some services
are door-to-door and can be booked ahead for work start and stop times
Call your regional bus or transit services for more information.
Harassment and Racism in the Workplace
There are people who are prejudiced against others, and may show
their biases either directly or in more subtle ways. Should you
find intolerant and racist attitudes during your job search or within
the workplace, or should you encounter harassment of a racial, sexual
or personal nature, there are steps you can take to address the
If you have been offended by a job interviewer's or
co-worker's comments or behaviour towards you (or someone else),
tell them so, calmly and firmly.
If they persist, tell a staff member in the employers Human Resources or Personnel Department. Tell your supervisor if the problem is in your workplace.
If necessary, contact the Saskatchewan or Canadian Human Rights Commission for advice.
*Remember, you do not have to tolerate racism or harassment!
Religious Practices and the Work Schedule
You may be concerned about getting or keeping a job because your religion
requires that you not work during certain hours or on certain days.
Under human rights law, the employer (and union) must accomodate you
unless doing so would cause undue hard-ship for the employer.
For more information, contact the Saskatchewan Human
Pre-employment Medical and Drug Testing
It is unlawful under the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code for employers to require applicants to undergo medical or drug testing before making an offer of employment. Information
obtained by the tests could be used to discriminate against an applicant based on factors such as age or physical disability.
Once an offer of employment is made, a medical examination may be conducted if:
An offer of employment may be conditional upon passing a test for the use of illegal drugs.
- It can be shown that a certain physical ability is required for the specific job in question.
- All employees offered the same or similar positions are required to take the same medical examination.
For further information, call the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.
Driver's License Suspended
If you need a driver's license for work, yet your driver's license has been suspended because of impaired driving, you may apply for reinstatement to the
Driver Appeal Coordinator in Saskatchewan Highways and Transportation. Reinstatement is evaluated on a case by case basis.
If you are concerned that a criminal conviction will make it more difficult to get a job, you can apply for a pardon.
The waiting period is three to five years, depending upon the type of conviction.
For information, contact your regional Parole Office.