Fact Sheet #9a) Anti-Discrimination and Employment Equity Policies

Level 2

Element: Alignment of Policies and Processes

Outcome 9: Organizational anti-discrimination/employment equity policies are implemented with the objective to achieve compliance with the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) and the Employment Equity Act (EEA).

Indicator 9a): Existence of organizational anti-discrimination policies.

Possible Measures and Data Sources:

  • Copies of approved anti-discrimination policies.

Indicator Description

Anti-discrimination policies should address discrimination, as covered by two principal sources: the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA);and any current, relevant legal decisions pertaining to human rights in Canada[1] .

At Level 1, your organization began identifying resources to deal with anti-discrimination complaints. You also released messaging that supports anti-discrimination and employment equity and started to engage with employees/employee associations/unions to discuss the handling of complaints. While these processes are essential steps in creating an inclusive workplace, it is important to define your organizational commitment to human rights by creating a formal anti-discrimination policy for your organization.

Many organizations will define anti-discrimination within several policies, including policies on anti-harassment, accommodation, return-to-work, internal conflict resolution, and other general policies on anti-discrimination that address discriminatory behaviour, as covered by the CHRA[2] . Your organization may choose to create one all-encompassing policy, or create several policies.

Suggested Approach

  • Create a procedures guide: Set up a guide that employees and management may access to familiarize themselves with your organization’s specific policy review/development procedures. Your procedures guide may include information such as policy approval processes, potential project leads, relevant tools, parties to be consulted, communications, general guidelines, etc.
  • Understand legal obligations: Make sure that those involved in the policy development process have a clear understanding of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) and the Canada Labour Code. Both of these pieces of legislation address discrimination in the workplace. You will also need to consider any current, relevant legal decisions pertaining to human rights in Canada [3].
  • Consider existing policies and identify gaps: Your organization may already have policies related to anti-discrimination, including provisions within collective agreements. Consider these policies and indentify possible legislative gaps.
  • Consider prominent issues in your organizations: Your organization may decide to create one all-encompassing anti-discrimination policy, or address certain issues in a separate policy. Each organization will have different concerns with respect to human rights depending on their organizational culture, industry, geographic location, etc. Some additional policies to highlight might include policies on drug and alcohol testing, sexual harassment, aboriginal employment preferences, the accommodation of mental illness, scent-free policies, etc.

Promising Practices

  • Update policies on a regular basis: Laws change and policies may become outdated. Schedule policy reviews on a regular basis to make sure your policies are still relevant and that they employ the correct language.
  • Consult with administrative agencies: There are already a number of tools and model policies that have been developed by human rights and labour standards organizations. Visit their websites or contact them to find out more.

Useful Tools and Links

Developing Anti-Discrimination Policies

Sample Policies


A Place for All: A Guide to an Inclusive WorkplaceCanadian Human Rights Commission, 

[1] The Canadian Human Rights Commission maintains a resources section on their website entitled “Recent Jurisprudence” that presents cases and decisions where the Commission has played a role and/or that established jurisprudence in the area of Canadian human rights, at http://www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca/media_room/jurisprudence/jurisprudence-eng.aspx.

[2] For more information on discriminatory practices, you can visit the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s website under the section entitled “Resolving Disputes”, at http://www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca/eng/content/i-want-develop-internal-process-resolving-complaints

[3] http://www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca/media_room/jurisprudence/jurisprudence-eng.aspx

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