Fact Sheet #9c) Employment Equity Guidelines and Directives

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 9c): Guidelines and policy directives are in place with regard to employment equity and related processes (e.g., selection, promotion).

Possible Measures and Data Sources:

  • Evidence of tools and criteria.
  • Evidence of consultation with partners.
  • Enhanced internal processes and policies.

Indicator Description

The EEA is meant to help correct disadvantages in the workplace experienced by members of the four designated group members (DGM): women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities. A good way to meet the legislative requirements is to begin by creating guidelines or policy directives with regard to employment equity (EE) and related processes. A guideline or a policy directive differs from a work plan in that it is an overriding guiding principle that generally flows from the most senior leadership within an organization. These guidelines or policy directives may be found in many places: in executive strategies or corporate plans that support diversity as a way of becoming an employer of choice; in an organization’s key messaging on EE or diversity; within organizational mandates or cultural policies; within organizational policies on accommodation; and any other policy or guideline that has a broad influence on how your organization manages its human resources.

At Level 1, the organization undertook a number of activities related to EE such as engaging with employees/employee associations/unions about EEA requirements; identifying dedicated resources; encouraging employees to complete their workforce surveys; and collecting basic EE data. At Level 2, the information that was gathered at Level 1 is translated into guidelines to ensure all policies can be implemented and used in achieving EE goals.

For example, as part of the data collected from the workforce survey at Level 1, an organization may have found that visible minorities do not get promoted according to their availability. The organization would then include in their EE plan the implementation of guidelines on promotion which would be inclusive of visible minorities and which would address the possible barrier identified through the employment system review (See Fact Sheet #9b) for more information on the EE plan).

Suggested Approach

While setting guidelines and directives on EE, the organization may keep the following list of general points in mind:

  • Consult with employee representatives: As with all initiatives related to EE, it is important to consult with employee representatives and/or bargaining agents. If an EE Committee is already set up, this is an ideal forum in which to develop or review your guidelines and policy directives with an EE lens.
  • Obtain support from senior management: At Level 1, an individual was identified who would be responsible for EE. This individual may take the lead in creating the strategies and guidelines for the organization, or these could be developed through a working group, a special assignment, or another method that works for the organization. Whoever is responsible for developing EE guidelines and policy directives should have the understanding and support from senior leadership. Because EE touches employment systems that affect the entire organization, it is important that senior leadership be engaged.  
  • Consider how to integrate EE guidelines: In some instances specific references to EE may be added to existing policies, such as policies on procurement, recruitment, hiring, termination, etc. Broad EE guidelines can also be created and then appended to, or referred to in, other policies, directives, or business plans.
  • Review relevant clauses in collective agreements: Many collective agreements contain specific references to EE. These may be referred to in the development of the guidelines or policy directives.
  • Consult with internal experts: Depending on the structure and size of the organization, consultation with individuals from specific working units, such as policy, legal, human resources, or any other individuals that have expertise in the area of policy development, EE, or business planning, could take place.
  • Communicate with employees: Once guidelines and policy directives are complete, it is important to make sure that all those who will be responsible for their implementation receive a copy. It is also a good practice to post these onto your internal website, or other central document repository, so that everyone in your organization can review them.

Promising Practices

  • Using promising practices from other organizations. Over the years several organizational promising practices have been compiled and shared in interdepartmental setting. You can access these practices on recruitment, integration/job retention, promotion/development, management engagement, consultation, and self-identification at the following links:

Useful Tools and Links

Employment Equity Policy - Treasury Board Secretariat

Employment Equity Tools, Resources and Publications - Labour Program

Employment Equity Act

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