Fact Sheet #9b) Fulfilling Employment Equity Act Requirements

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 9b): Employment equity plan fulfills the requirements of the EEA.

Possible Measures and Data Sources:

  • Example of an action plan incorporating employment equity elements and employment equity-related policies.

Indicator Description

Once an employer conducts its workforce analysis to determine the degree of under-representation of designated group members (DGM) in its organization and reviews its employment systems policies and practices, the employer then prepares an employment equity (EE) plan. An EE plan is a list of actions that details the method by which the organization intends to correct the potential barriers of employment for DGM, by occupational groups, and reduce the under-representation. 

At Level 1, the organization recognized and met its legal obligations for completing its workforce survey and reporting its EE data to the appropriate government agency. At Level 2, the organization prepares, in line with the requirements of the EEA, the EE plan that sets out the measures that will contribute to the reasonable progress in the DGM representation within the organization. 

For example, an organization will develop an EE plan that specifies the positive policies and practices to be implemented. That EE plan would also include short-term goals for the hiring, and promotion of DGM in occupational groups where a gap was identified, and it would include a timetable with a designation of responsibility for implementing the proposed measures.

Suggested Approach

Like a work plan, an EE plan is meant to be a dynamic guide that puts strategy into action. The EE plan should be tailored to the specific needs of your workplace by taking into account your workforce analysis and employment systems review. It would also be developed in consultation with employees’ representatives or bargaining agents, in unionized workplaces. The following points are basic steps for creating an EE plan.

  • Complete a workforce analysis: A workforce analysis is a comparison between the representation of DGM in your workforce and the availability on the labour market from within a specified recruitment area. The labour market data is derived from Census results. This comparison is done for each of the Employment Equity Occupational Groups, as they may apply to your organization. This comparison is meant to indicate areas of under-representation of DGM in your workforce. You can generate that comparison report from the tool provided by the appropriate central government agency to which you report (i.e. for organizations in the private sector, you would use the Workplace Equity Information Management System software from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada).
  • Consult and collaborate with employees’ representatives: Under the EEA, your EE plan must be developed in consultation and collaboration with employees’ representatives in order to obtain their views and assistance to facilitate the communication and implementation of EE in the workplace. The EEA specifies that if your workplace is unionized, you must also consult with each bargaining agent representing your workforce and/or with representatives from each of the four DGM. That consultation and collaboration could be done by putting in place a committee that will be dealing and advising management on EE issues.  
  • Conduct an employment systems review: Based on the results from the workforce analysis (in areas of under-representation of DGM), you conduct a review of your employment systems. An employment systems review (ESR) is an analysis of your human resource procedures, policies and practices to help identify potential employment barriers faced by DGM. These reviews generally reveal barriers in processes related to recruitment, selection and hiring, development and training, promotion, retention and termination, and accommodation. An ESR will also give you good insight into what measures to include in your EE plan to eliminate the potential employment barriers.
  • Create an EE plan: An EE plan should include the following:  initiatives related to eliminating possible workplace barriers identified in the ESR; initiatives related to the creation of positive policies and practices (i.e. developing anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies, providing training to hiring managers on diversity, etc.); initiatives related to accommodation and accessibility (i.e. conducting an accessibility review of the workplaces, having a return to work policy, providing an area for religious prayers or for resting to accommodate pregnant employees, etc.); short term numerical goals for the hiring and promotion of DGM, and longer term goals for achieving EE in the workplace. An EE plan normally covers a period of one to three years.
  • Monitor your progress and implement changes: Your EE plan should lead to reasonable progress. To ensure that your EE plan is as effective as possible and that reasonable progress is being made, monitor the implementation of the plan on a regular basis. Systematizing regular consultation meetings with employees’ representatives and/or bargaining agents will allow you to follow up on progress and make any necessary changes as you go. Revise your EE plan at least once during the period of the plan. Some ways that you can achieve this is by including specific information about how and when you will achieve your goals. Your EE plan should also include time lines and designate a manager who will be accountable for each initiative. You can include information such as: benchmarks, measures, resources, risks, and any other information that will help your plan succeed.
  • Keep records of your work: As you go, such as the workforce analysis, the ESR, minutes of consultations with employees’ representatives and/or bargaining agents, communications about EE, etc. as this is required under the Employment Equity Regulations and it may assist you during an EE audit as evidence of your EE program.

Promising Practices

  • EE committee: Although the law does not specify how consultation must take place, many organizations have created an EE committee to consult and collaborate with employees’ representatives and bargaining agents. Along with human resources representatives, this type of committee will include members from each of the designated groups, union representatives (in unionized workplaces), and at least a senior executive who is responsible for EE. This committee would be a forum for sharing information, developing processes, and implementing EE related projects. Your organization can also expand the committee’s mandate and membership to members representing other areas, units or divisions of the organization.
  • Data system (see indicator 13a): Many organizations use human resources processes to ensure greater accountability and efficiency in their employment practices. This can facilitate employment equity planning, as information about employment systems from across an organization can be centrally retrieved, reviewed and analyzed to create both short and long term goals.

Useful Tools and Links

Employment Equity Act

Employment Systems Review: Guide to the Audit Process - Canadian Human Rights Commission

Employment Equity Tools, Resources and Publications - Labour Program

Guidelines for the Employment Equity Act - Human Resources and Skills Development Canada


Guideline 5: Workforce Analysis (Retrieved on 28 Aug 2012) - Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Guideline 7: Employment Equity Plan (Retrieved on 28 Aug 2012) - Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Guidelines for the Employment Equity Act (Retrieved on 28 Aug 2012) - Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Date modified: