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About the authors
Prem P. Benimadhu is Director and Ruth Wright is Research Associate Of the Compensation Research Centre, The Conference Board of Canada. This article is based on preliminary findings of a major Conference Board study which will be released in the fall of 1991.
Preliminary findings of a study on employment equity indicate that the focus of debate has shifted from "whether" to "how"
Preliminary findings of a study on employment equity reveal that legislation has had a significant impact on the employment practices of federally regulated businesses. The Employment Equity Act has clearly been a catalyst in elevating the priority of employment discrimination on corporate agendas. Five years after the legislation was brought into force, efforts to improve representation of groups designated as employment disadvantaged under the Act have met with slow but measurable improvement. Major stakeholders would argue about whether this should be defined as success or failure; nevertheless, it is evident that employers, government and representatives of designated groups are working together in a process of trial and error to establish workable reporting mechanisms, adjust employment practices and experiment with outreach programs and supportive benefits and services in order to achieve the Act's objectives.
About the survey
In September 1990, The Conference Board of Canada sent a questionnaire to the approximately 365 federally regulated organizations covered under the Employment Equity Act. The questionnaire sought, first, to identify the resources each organization had devoted to administration of legislated reporting requirements and to gain an understanding of how an employment equity office or program had been integrated into the overall organization. It also examined the extent to which employers had reviewed and adjusted employment policies and practices at various stages of employment, from recruitment through training and development. Addressed to the person responsible for employment equity in the organization, the questionnaire then asked this individual to assess whether specific types of programs and initiatives had been effective in improving representation of designated groups among their …