SHARE YOUR VIEWS: EMPLOYMENT EQUITY ACT REVIEW CONSULTATION, 2022.

May 11, 2022

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

Thank you for inviting broad public consultation and engagement on this critical topic.[1]  Please find my response within, under the 4 (“four”) broad headings of the Terms of Reference, namely:

SECTION CONTENT PAGE
(A) Defining equity groups – Modernize and define EEA designated groups. 1
(B) Better supporting Employment Equity Act (EEA) equity groups 13
(C) Improving EEA accountability, compliance and enforcement 17
(D) Improving public reporting for Employment Equity. 19

 

(A)

A Proposal for Amendment to the Employment Equity Act, Canada (EEA), and the Term and Category of “BLACK”, in order to Address Historic Work Discrimination against and Ill-Treatment of, Canada’s Black Community.

 

  1. APPLICATION OF THE EMPLOYMENT EQUITY ACT

The Employment Equity Act (EEA) was designed to prevent discrimination; however, it has actually served to promote and enforce discrimination.  If that were not the case, we would not have come to this point, and there would be no legal action for change.  While I, as a Black person, do not look down on other groups within the category of “Protected Classes”, what happens is that the more of them there are, the further back we, as Black People, become relegated.  Why is this?  The reason is because hiring managers then feel that they must reach across the class to seek and show diversity, and the last ones in (the newer members), are generally the first ones out, and selected.  In addition, several other protected classes have faced fewer known and persistent barriers,[2] and made more gains than Black Canadians.[3]  Some of the reasons obscuring the realization of these shortcomings, include: (i) inaccurate conclusions from data regarding the EEA; (ii) the EEA structure; (iii) recent initiatives; and (iv) unintended discriminatory consequences.

 

(i) INACCURATE CONCLUSIONS FROM DATA REGARDING THE EEA –

Our simple category of “Black”, has fallen ever further behind while our numbers and our concentration at the intake and lower ranks of federally-regulated private-sector employers, federally-regulated Crown corporations, and other federal organizations including the federal public service, simply ballooned.  Given these facts, Labour Market Availability (LMA),[4] is not a helpful measure of employment equity, at all.

Currently, the Employment Equity Act[5]protects” or “designates”, as used interchangeably, here:

♦ Women;

♦ Aboriginal People;[6]

♦ Persons with Disabilities; and

♦ Members of Visible Minorities.

 

(ii) THE EEA STRUCTURE –

In addition, the term “Visible Minority”, just like the term “Black”, further serves to relegate the Black Community, as we very quickly become invisible in the crowd within this category that essentially includes everyone in Canada who is not white and who is also not Aboriginal.

“The Employment Equity Act defines visible minorities as “persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour”. The visible minority population consists mainly of the following groups: South Asian, Chinese, Black, Filipino, Latin American, Arab, Southeast Asian, West Asian, Korean and Japanese.”  (Emphasis added).[7]

 

(iii) RECENT INITIATIVES –

Recent events involving crimes against people of Asian and South Asian descent have led to calls for greater protection of those groups, and so there has been a lumping together of Peoples in the term “Black, Indigenous, and People of Color” or BIPOC.  And, as I had said earlier, the more groups that fall under the diversity umbrella and receive equity, the further behind the Black Community finds itself in the struggle for more equitable representation, as we become least favored at the buffet.

 

(iv) UNINTENDED DISCRIMINATORY CONSEQUENCES –

As a result of this, there are the unintended consequences, with groups and individuals struggling and jostling to be not just “more distinct than others”, but also sufficiently distinct to be the candidate ultimately chosen for a role.  For example, there can be a stacking of equities, such that, assuming that a given slate of candidates has identical knowledge, skills, and work history:

– The covered employer may select a white female veteran, who is able-bodied, 2SLGBTQQIA+, and a member of a religious minority (presenting 4 prohibited grounds of discrimination).

– Not selected, would be the Aboriginal female 2SLGBTQQIA+ veteran, who is disabled (presenting 5 prohibited grounds of discrimination).

– Also not selected, would be the black female 2SLGBTQQIA+ veteran, who is disabled and a member of a religious minority (presenting 6 prohibited grounds of discrimination).

On the face of it, one might say that the white person was unfairly chosen, because the black person checked more boxes or presented with the most equities, and because although the Aboriginal person was equally qualified and actually had 5 equities, she should have been ahead, due to the historic discrimination addressed by the EEA.  This and similar results would be the case if the groups protected under the EEA were expanded, and if a stacking of equities were allowed.  There should be a rigorous formula, a “Plurality Mandate”,[8] with reasoned checks and balances to make work equitable, inclusive, and fair, and job seekers should always choose just one equity category.

And so, to summarize:

“In terms of employment, unemployment and wages compared with the rest of the population, Black women and men’s labour market outcomes have generally not improved between the 2001 and 2016 censuses, despite a few notable exceptions among women and immigrants.  As a result, Black people generally live in more difficult economic conditions than the rest of the Canadian population.”[9]

Having realized this, let us consider some: (v) hidden history, (vi) outcomes, and (vii) truths.

 

(v) HIDDEN HISTORY –

There was slavery in Canada,[10] just as there was slavery in the United States of America (USA).  This is a fact not well-known or spoken of, even though “Loyalist” families brought their enslaved people with them to Quebec (New France), when they moved north and settled near Saint-Armand, Quebec in approximately 1784.[11]  It is even less well known, that “there are records of slaves in Quebec dating to 1628.”[12]

“The colony of New France, founded in the early 1600s, was the first major settlement in what is now Canada.  Slavery was a common practice in the territory.  When New France was conquered by the British in 1759, records revealed that approximately 3,600 enslaved people had lived in the settlement since its beginnings.  The vast majority of them were Indigenous (often called Panis), but Black enslaved people were also present because of the transatlantic slave trade.” [13]

This Canadian practice of slavery was as ugly as the version in the United States, and especially as Black people stolen from Africa and enslaved in the Americas, started to displace the enslaved Indigenous People.  The enslavers were “(…) passing on ownership of human beings the same as they would furniture, cattle or land.  Defiant or troublesome enslaved people were often severely punished.  Physical and sexual abuse was always a very real threat[14] … if not the norm.

It was only after the final abolition of slavery across the entire British Empire of the time, that slavery officially ended in Canada.  Before then, there had been halting efforts in some Canadian jurisdictions, but even then, they were somewhat hesitant and half-hearted.  For example,

“In 1793 Upper Canada (now Ontario) passed an Act intended to gradually end the practice of slavery. The law made it illegal to bring enslaved people into Upper Canada and declared that children born to enslaved people would be freed once they reached 25 years of age, but explicitly did not free any enslaved people directly.”[15]

The official abolition of slavery, though, did not stop the maltreatment of Black people in Canada, as blatant discrimination with government support or leadership, continued and can be readily cited, as follows.

 

(vi) OUTCOMES –

Africville was a settlement of Free Black People outside Halifax, Nova Scotia, that had been established after the war of 1812.[16]  Despite the fact that the residents had constructed many of the town’s buildings with their own hard labour and purchased or bartered what they could not make, the province gave them no support and treated them with disdain and neglect.  And so,

“(…) by the mid 1960s, the impoverished conditions of Africville were a source of deep shame for the city. Its residents had no running water, no sewage system, no garbage pickup, no streetlights, no public transportation and no paved roads. Instead, Africville boasted an open dump, an incinerator, a prison, railway tracks and an abattoir on its doorstep.”[17]

“Instead of fixing things, Halifax city officials decided to raze Africville.  By 1967, after several years of study and talk, the city of Halifax planned to relocate the 400 citizens of Africville, demolish their houses and all community buildings.”[18]

As soon as something or somewhere looked like it could actually improve the conditions of the Black population, it was torn down.  That destruction of what could have started generational wealth, a sense of belonging, and a vibrant and self-contained community, was in Eastern Canada.

In Western Canada, the history of organized Black settlement in Canada dates back to 1858, when some 800 Black People from the United States, answered the invitation of Vancouver Island’s Governor at the time – Sir James Douglas, to come and settle in Victoria, on Salt Spring Island.[19]

“When Douglas invited Black people from the U.S. to B.C., he did so with the promise of land and voting rights.”[20]

“However, after Black settlers formed their own local militia in Victoria, they were barred from marching in welcoming ceremonies.  Black settlers on the Island would soon move to Hogan’s Alley in Vancouver and elsewhere, only to encounter similar experiences.”[21]

“Eventually, they were driven out of the area due to “slum clearance” policies that saw them displaced, over years, in the name of “urban renewal.””[22]

““At that time, the city of Vancouver passed a resolution at city hall, that the police should remove all undesirables,” Misago said of Hogan’s Alley. In this case, “the negroes.””[23]

““In the early 1900s, proposed immigration laws and practices prevented “undesirables” from entering Canada for over 50 years.””[24]  (Emphasis added).

So, in search of opportunity, they found only racism, and many of those who had initially moved to Salt Spring Island, would eventually move back to the United States after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863 – preferring to take their chances where there were larger and more established black communities, and a degree of weight and safety in numbers.[25]

Apart from racist “Urban Renewal” policies and outright neglect, there was also a far more troubling display of high-level Environmental Racism, as one resident of Vancouver’s Hogan’s Alley Community, wrote:

““When we moved to the area, I couldn’t figure out why it was so decrepit,” he said. “Garbage wasn’t picked up.  A lot of buildings were not occupied.  The city used to clean Union Street by spraying an oily liquid on the street and it smelled like creosote.””[26]  (Emphasis added).

As this toxic brew of likely carcinogens and certainly persistent organic pollutants gave off gases and leached into the groundwater and crop-growing soils, nobody knows how many cases of cancer, lung and skill ailments, other medical issues, and death, were directly caused by its usage … for this was, after all, just the Black Community, where health outcomes tended to be poor.

“What drives these worse health outcomes?  In part it is because many Black communities have impaired access to care, connected to systemic racism in Canada.  This includes everything from worse-equipped hospitals in Black neighborhoods in Toronto, to less-flexible jobs that make seeking care a challenge, to fear of racism from providers when seeking out care.”[27]  (Emphasis added).

This Environmental Racism was evidenced not just in land pollution, but also in land allocation.

“Historically, Black Canadians access to colonial land grants and residential housing was often restricted based on race.  For instance, some Black Loyalists in Nova Scotia and Ontario did not receive land grants as promised.  Those who did were given smaller allotments located on land that was of poorer quality, and in places physically segregated from white settlers, such as the historically Black communities of North Preston in Nova Scotia and Elm Hill in New Brunswick.”[28]

In fact, to this day, many descendants of early black settlers in Canada, sometimes with centuries of history in this country, do not have good title to the lands on which they and their families have worked and resided for generations.[29]  Other instances of racism and discrimination were pernicious, malicious, and unpredictable – especially in leisure and entertainment.  For example, one Mr. Charles Daniels won his Calgary lawsuit for being denied seating in the “whites only” area of a local Calgary theatre, after he had bought his ticket to be seated in that specific area.[30]   However, one Ms. Lulu Anderson lost her own Edmonton lawsuit a few years later, that resulted from the refusal of a local Edmonton theatre to even sell her a ticket.[31]   In other examples, whilst the Palace Theatre in Windsor, Ontario, referred to the raised “Black only” viewing area as “The Crow’s Nest”, the Loew’s Windsor Theatre in Montreal, Quebec, referred to its own similarly reserved upper balcony, as “The Monkey Cage.”[32]

Then of course, there was Mrs. Viola Desmond, who sat in a “white only” seat at the Roseland Film Theatre, in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, on November 8, 1946, after being refused that ticket, and purchasing a “blacks only” seat.[33]  She was arrested, tried, and convicted for not paying the one cent tax difference on the price of the two tickets, even though she had offered to pay the total difference when first challenged.[34]  She also paid a $20.00 fine for tax evasion, and the Nova Scotia government did not pardon her until April 14, 2010, long after her death on February 7, 1965.[35]

It must also be mentioned that the experience of anti-Black discrimination in Canada is not at all isolated.  The lived experiences of Black Pakistanis, are one case in point.

“Despite being the largest African immigrant population in South Asia, Sheedis – as they are known – in Pakistan face restrictions to social, economic and political progress.  This community was initially brought to the country as slaves between the first and 20th centuries, and entered the subcontinent through the ports of Sindh and Balochistan in present-day Pakistan, where many remain as dock workers, domestic workers, carpenters and blacksmiths.”[36]

Another example is the challenge posed to the narrative of Columbus discovering America (while being observed from the shores by those he was supposedly discovering),[37] and the narrative that any and all Black people found in the Americas at that time, clearly were slaves of the indigenous residents,[38] by looking at the history of North America and the records of Columbus, himself:

“The strongest evidence of African presence in America before Columbus comes from the pen of Columbus himself. In 1920, a renowned American historian and linguist, Leo Weiner of Harvard University, in his book, Africa and the discovery of America, explained how Columbus noted in his journal that Native Americans had confirmed that “black skinned people had come from the south-east in boats, trading in gold-tipped spears.”[39]

 

(vii) TRUTHS –

We can draw some truths and parallels from this hidden history, and the outcomes of same:

♦ Black People have had a presence in Canada for centuries, both under conditions of Slavery, and as Settlers and Citizens with supposedly equal rights to White Settlers and Citizens.

♦ Black People in Canada have faced centuries and generations of persistent discrimination regarding Real Property (real estate), including in land allocation, land title and ownership, land expropriation, Environmental Racism, and permissible land usage.

♦ Black People in Canada have faced centuries and generations of general physical violence, discrimination in service provision or outright official neglect, widespread disenfranchisement, and mass exclusion from opportunities to better their situations.

♦ In certain well-publicized cases across Canada, and undoubtedly several others that are not as well known, Black People started to develop vibrant, growing, and self-sustaining communities, only to have intentional official neglect combine with other organized official actions such as enforced gentrification and renewal, to constitute Institutionalized Racism that put a fast full stop, to every such nascent effort to grow generational wealth.

♦ Unlike the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923, which “virtually restricted all Chinese immigration to Canada by narrowly defining the acceptable categories of Chinese immigrants”,[40] Order-in-Council PC 1911-1324 of August 12, 1911, clearly stated that, “[f]or a period of one year from and after the date hereof the landing in Canada shall be and the same is prohibited of any immigrants belonging to the Negro-race, which race is deemed unsuitable to the climate and requirements of Canada.[41]   (Emphasis added).

♦ As history and Socioeconomic studies have shown, Black Canadians are not on the same footing as White Canadians and do not have equal access to work, home ownership, and business financing opportunities.  As a result, Black Canadians clearly remain in need of the benefits and protections provided by the EEA, and without undue dilution.  An expanded listing of the EEA protected groups is basically putting a fast full stop to any hope of progress that the EEA might bring.  Labeling “everyone” as being in need of EEA protections would be yet another case of effective Institutionalized Racism, because when everybody has a diversity protection, those in greatest need become nobody, and lose most.

Now that some history of the black presence in Canada is clearer, along with the depth and diversity of anti-black discrimination that has haunted this community, let us head out from there with the above resultant truths in mind, to consider the term and category “Black”, under the EEA – what is its origin, who does it include, and how can it be made more specific and meaningful.

 

  1. AFRICA, AND WHAT IS “BLACK”?

The Black Community is itself very diverse, and includes people of all hues and locales ranging from those with Albinism and Vitiligo, Fijians and Tongans and Tuvaluans and Samoans, Australians and Goans and Tasmanians, Peoples of Madagascar and Africa’s Islands, Peoples from the Black African mainland, Peoples from Latin America and the Caribbean, and many others.  The Black Community also includes Peoples of the Black Diaspora who may have a long heritage in Europe, Canada, and the United States thanks to Slavery and Colonialism, or who are more recent immigrants of the last 50-100 years, or who are locally born as second and subsequent generation Black People.  As noted in a 2014 study of the Black Community in Toronto, Canada,

“The Black community is highly diverse in terms of its origins (with immigrants from 130 countries and roots in Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and North America), demographic makeup, language, subculture, and socio-economic status.”[42]

Many of these diverse Peoples have different cultures, call themselves by different names, have different lived experiences of their blackness, and would seriously challenge any nation or statistician that wanted to provide enough categories for every single one of us.  That is not possible, and similarly but unfortunately, we know that we are the Black Community, but when we are all collected and treated as a monolithic and homogenous “Black”, the term does not cover the diversity, or provide or account for the type of weight and influence, that this group truly has.

“Identity is complex, fluid and multi-faceted. It is formed through multiple processes and influences, relating to one’s race, ethnicity, culture, or country of origin. Many other expressed identities may reflect religion, gender, sexual orientation, profession or even the neighbourhood in which a person lives. These different facets of identity are not mutually exclusive; in most cases, they are interwoven. In the case of the Black population in the GTA, identity is particularly complex because of the population’s diversity – its different histories, origins and cultural backgrounds, as well as differences within the population in terms of levels of education, employment situations, and so on.”[43]

Please note that I say “Peoples” because there are over 5,000 ethnic groups in Africa, alone – with several nations counting their constituent ethnicities in the hundreds.  To give some fuller perspective, let us remember that the African continent comprises 54 individual countries, out of the globe’s 206 sovereign states or jurisdictions.  The African landmass also covers 30.4 million square kilometers (6% of earth’s total surface and 20% of all the land area), as compared to the 22.4 million square kilometers that was covered by the USSR/former Soviet Union in its entirety (17% of all the land area), the 9.9 million square kilometers that Canada covers, the 9.7 million square kilometers that China covers, and the 9.3 million square kilometers covered by the United States.  So essentially, the two key takeaways from this analysis so far, are that: (i) Africa is huge, and highly diverse; and (ii) there is a very rich, broad, and deep diversity in the word … “Black.[44]

“Black Experience Project participants express a strong sense of a shared Black identity and solidarity with other Black people. Participants are almost unanimous in agreeing that being Black is an important part of their identity – and most strongly agree that this is the case.  More than four in five participants also agree that they feel a strong sense of connection to Black people in other parts of Canada and the world.”[45]

Regardless of their own lived experiences, relationship to Africa, or identification with another part of the world in addition to Africa, the basic, clear, and undeniable fact, is that members of the Back Community in Canada are well aware of, acknowledge, and celebrate their Blackness.

 

  1. THE PROPOSAL

For the foregoing reasons, I propose that the Black Community be removed from “BIPOC”, and no longer be referred to as “Racialized”, due to the fact that both of these terms lose and devalue our distinctive Blackness.  We should, instead, be given our own standalone category and sub-groups for our continued equity-seeking efforts and initiatives.  Similarly, some can feel a loss or dilution of that essential Blackness in “Black-Canadian”, “Caribbean-Canadian”, “Afro-Canadian”, “Canadian Black”, and “Canadian”.  But, that dilution is not noticed by any of the structures or standard bearers of Institutionalized Racism that see race as a common denominator.

“Race is only one dimension of identity.  Participants also express a variety of ethnic or cultural identities, including Caribbean- and African-based identities.  Specifically, close to half of participants say their most important ethnic or cultural identity is Caribbean (either in general or in terms of a specific Caribbean country).  The next most common identity (for about one in four participants) is African (in general or in terms of a specific country or region), while one in ten identify their most important ethnic or cultural identity as Canadian.”[46]

We desperately need a term or a collection of terms that can readily encompass these many identities and many realities, that is or are simple and precise, and that have a deeper meaning and significance to which we can all relate.  The below proposed omnibus group would better capture more of the diversity that we have, but that we have not been able to fully express or describe in the homogenous category of “Black”, and those highly varied lived experiences that we bring from around the world and continue to use to enrich this Canadian mosaic of Multiculturalism.  It is only after this has been done, that we can more freely and fully and fairly feel, express, and reveal what it means to each and every one of us, to be a Black Person in Canada, in these modern days.

There are 11 distinct categories, within this Restatement of Blackness, as follows.  It reads:

 

In the first part, “Abimbola”, which is a Unisex name from the Yoruba people, culture, and language of West Africa, that means “the one who was born rich”.

 

In the second part, “Bawon Shayo”, which is in the same Yoruba language, and means “celebrates with them”.

 

So, the one who was born rich (of the rich cultures and Peoples of the great vast, fertile, and most superabundantly blessed continent of Black Africa, celebrates with those who share that same heritage of a very rich origin.  The Yoruba language, traditional religion, and culture happen to be one of the richest, most enduring, and most widely dispersed of the cultures and Peoples who were illegally and unjustly kidnapped in the slave trade.  As a result of this, there are very vibrant native Yoruba-speaking communities that have endured for many generations in Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad, and of course, Brazil.  For example, over 80% of the roughly 4 million people living in Salvador de Bahia, in Northeastern Brazil, are of African descent.  The Yoruba People are indigenes of the Ife Empire, in modern day Nigeria.  Ife was never actually conquered, by anyone.

 

“According to Brazilian anthropologist Nina Rodrigues (1862-1906) the Yoruba of Nigeria were the most numerous and influential Africans in the state of Bahia in the mid 19th century while Fayette Wiberly revealed that at this same time period, the Yoruba language had become the lingua franca for inter-nation communication in the Bahian city of Cachoeira.  Rodrigues would also write that in the later part of the 19th century, Africans of all nations in Salvador, Bahia, were speaking Yoruba as were increasing numbers of Brazilian born blacks and mulattos.  If (sic) fact, not only there was a constant flow of goods and people of the Yoruba coming into Bahia, but a small number were also leaving for Nigeria as well (Alonso 2014).  And still today thanks to groups such as Ilê Aiyê, the memory of the Yoruba remains strong through their usage of names, phrase (sic) and terms in their songs.”[47]

 

Preferably, just as with the modern equity self-declaration, these categories should stay open and available, whether or not people agree to self-identify as members of this more precise and well-defined group with a culturally powerful, relevant, and meaningful name that resonates, loudly.[48]

 

  • A – lmond is a term and a color that some of our Peoples may choose to use to describe heir own particular skin tones, as we are well aware that we come in very many hues.

 

  • B-lack
  • I – nadequate – This includes those people who feel they have lost part or most of their Black heritage or identity, or who somehow feel less Black than their peers.  They would want to identify themselves in this way and perhaps reach out to the rest of the Black Community for inclusion, education, and upliftment in day-to-day activities.

 

  • M – ezzo or Medium
  • B – lack is a term and a color that some of our Peoples may choose to use to describe their own particular skin tones, as we are well aware that we come in very many hues.

 

  • O – ff
  • L – ight, which is that very deep Black that is almost blue.

 

  • A – malgamated, which is a name or term that might be adopted by some of our People who have a mixed heritage of Black, combined with one or more other races.

 


  • B – lack, is the central and essential category and descriptor that some or many of our People may still choose to use in their self-identification and other declarations.

 

  • A – lmost
  • W – hite – this includes those individuals who are not visibly black, and who themselves, or who themselves and their ancestors and relatives, have been mistaken for white People, or sometimes accused by other Black people of “Passing for White”.

 

  • O-ffshore
  • N – eutrals – This includes all Islanders who identify as Black, but also wanting to stress their island heritage, claiming immediate locations other than the African mainland.

 

  • S – uffering
  • H – yperpigmentation – which is a condition that some of our People who suffer from, may wish to disclose and claim without the stigmatization bred of others’ ignorance.

 

  • A – lbinism. Again, this is a condition that some of our People who suffer from, may wish to disclose and claim without the stigmatization bred of others’ ignorance.

 

  • Y – ellow
  • O – nes, which is a name or term that might be adopted by some of our Peoples who have a mixed heritage of Black, combined with one or more other races.

As used in full, or in the below three forms, all who adhere or subscribe to this new definition of Blackness, can identify where they feel most affinity, in the full formulation of “Abimbola Bawon Shayo”, or one or more of –

Abim-Black”: Black with a very powerful, rich, ancient, and deep African heritage!

ABSO-Black”: Black with a diverse, global lived experience as separated, but not divided!

Shayo-Black”: Black and winning, with that robust, resilient Melanin magic, all day, every day!

 

  1. OPENING SUMMARY and INVITATION

I humbly invite the Canadian federal government, as convenors of this consultation, to put this entire proposal and submission out for the public consideration of Black Canadians and without editorial modification.  In this way, we may be able to come to a consensus in our own best interests on what we would like to see as a revised category for the Black Community, in the Employment Equity Act, and in other similar situations such as diversity self-declaration, and the Census.

Similarly, as with our Aboriginal friends in Canada, we would also and very much like to see:

 

(i) Some mandatory annual training for federal employees on Black History and African History before, during, and after First Contact, created and delivered by Black Historians approved and designated by the Black Community.  This would educate and alert federal public servants to implicit biases that they may have unconsciously developed and nurtured from a very early age,[49] and also bolster the sense of inclusion for Black public servants;

“One challenge for Black students is the lack of Black teachers in the classroom. Recent studies show that having a Black teacher can result in a 13% increase in enrolment in post-secondary schooling and decrease the probability of dropping out by 29%. Yet, while Black people make up 3.5% of Canada’s population, only 1.8% of teachers are Black.”[50]

 

(ii) Mainstreaming and codification of “Impact of Race and Culture Assessments” at Section 718.2 of the Criminal Code, as a means to further sensitize the populace on the impacts of systemic racism on the accused, and their non-accused family members, educators, potential employers, other support providers, and other Justice system actors;[51]

“Reforming police standard operating procedures is an effective tool against all police uses of force which disproportionately impact Black people. These include adopting policies such as a use of force continuum that sets out which weapons can be used in what circumstances and requiring by-stander officers to intervene if a fellow officer is using excessive force.  Research has shown that more restrictive use of force policies can reduce killings by police by as much as 72%.”[52]

 

(iii) Codification of the “Abimbola Bawon Shayo” definition in the Criminal Code’s Sections 2, 318, 493.2, 718.2, and 718.04 inter alia, and in other federal laws, to modernise them and replace those terms of “BIPOC”, “Racialized Person”, and “Visible Minority”, which devalue our distinctive Blackness and within which we experience dilution and loss of both our essential Blackness and any sense of advantage that we might have had, alone.

“Changing police hiring practices to be more inclusive can also make a big difference.  In one example from the U.K., new hiring directives increased the share of ethnic minorities in a local police service by 1.5% — leading to a 39% reduction of minorities subject to stop and search, and 11% fewer complaints against officers.”[53]

Provinces and Territories would be welcome to follow suit, and consider similar initiatives for school curricula and so forth, as current narratives perpetuate an inaccurate, stereotypical triangle bounded by slavery as the start of all Black History,[54] black-on-black crime as the lived experience of every Black person on earth, and corruption, poverty, and refugee status as their end state.

I first address federal, provincial, and territorial leaders and thought leaders with the courage to admit and act on the truth and the fact that Systemic Racism against Black People has long been and remains alive and well in Canada.  Let us, as the Black Community, work together with you to dispense with these hate-filled, regressive stereotypes and resultant stigmatization that continues our marginalization as “that dark color in the corner”, of Canada’s Multicultural Mosaic.

I then address Canada’s Black Community, and say we are too diverse to continue being disunited and to go on letting our surface differences outweigh our common blackness; we have too much in common in terms of lost opportunities, lost time, and lost heritage, to remain too diverse to be and move, as one; and, it is high time that we form a consensus tide that will lift all of our ships.

““So we need to understand that all racism is systematic.  It’s been there for a long time.  We need to make sure that there is accountability so we need to be those gate keepers.  I think it’s important that we, as individuals, teach children and teach ourselves that we don’t want to re-validate individual’s closed minds about who we are.  It is up to us to define who is an Aboriginal person, who is a Black person, who is a member of the Black community.  We don’t want to validate those stereo-typical thoughts that they have about us.””[55]

Canada’s Black Community is the quintessential example of “Intersectional”,[56] and has lost for too long on too many fronts from anti-Black bias, gender bias, ethnic origin discrimination, and so many others.  Why is this the case?  The more surface area we present as an opportunity to receive discrimination for our inherent natures, appearances, genders, lifestyle, places of origin, and the other identities that we may have, or ways in which we choose to see or describe ourselves, the more that forms of bias and discrimination, will coalesce to disadvantage and disenfranchise us.  In this way and sadly so, discrimination has both hunted us, and haunted us, and it still does.

When asked what the term “Intersectionality” meant, 30 years after she had created and introduced that term to the discussion on race and inequality, Law Professor, Kimberlé Crenshaw, replied:

“It’s basically a lens, a prism, for seeing the way in which various forms of inequality often operate together and exacerbate each other.  We tend to talk about race inequality as separate from inequality based on gender, class, sexuality or immigrant status. What’s often missing is how some people are subject to all of these, and the experience is not just the sum of its parts.”[57]

As the above analysis clearly shows, no single ethnic, cultural, or lifestyle group has suffered the intensity, diversity, and duration of deaths, indignities, exclusions, and covert and overt threats, disadvantages, and disenfranchisements that the Canadian Black Community has suffered and continues to suffer based on the immutable and genetic colour of their skin, to the extent that it or they would merit addition as a protected class under the Employment Equity Act (EEA). Not one!

However, due to the fact that they come from all walks of life, all of Canada’s constituent populations, and have performed with distinction to protect and preserve the freedoms the we all hold dear, I would support the inclusion of “Veterans” as a protected group within the EEA.  Ratios in a fair, balanced, and comprehensive scheme for their EEA inclusion, are discussed below.[58]

Despite this vote for Veterans’, which I trust others support, “Black” should still be a standalone group in the EEA.  We should erase “BIPOC”, “Racialized”, and “Visible Minority”, which devalue our distinctive Blackness, and by which we experience dilution and loss of both our essential Blackness, and any sense of advantage we might have had, if we had our own category.

 

 

(B)

How to Better Support Equity Groups Protected under the Employment Equity Act (EEA).

 

Anti-Black Racism remains alive and well in Canada, and especially in the employment setting.

“Racism in the workforce creates barriers to employment and impairs career progression for Black people.  (…) Black people in Canada face many systemic challenges and barriers in the hiring process.  Even when experience is comparable to that of non-Black candidates, systemic biases make it more difficult for Black candidates to land positions for which they are qualified.”[59]

With an improved definition of “Black” under the Employment Equity Act, as expanded into 11 (“eleven”) very meaningful subcategories in “Abimbola Bawon Shayo”, the next issue is how to better support those protected Equity Groups under the EEA?  As my below proposal shows, significant headway can be made by considering these 7 (“seven”) suggested steps, TO WHIT:

 

  1. APTITUDE OVER EXPERIENCE:

So many times, the job poster will state a requirement for a specific type of experience in a specific industry or sector.  However, anyone who has experience in that task but from a different industry, is and will be automatically screened-out by answering no to the screening questions.  There should be an emphasis on aptitude over minutely detailed experience, as not everyone – even those who left the job to create this vacancy, was a ready-made perfect fit, and those with experience and abilities applicable to the role, will likely do well in the role.

“When Black people do succeed in finding a job, systemic racism in the workplace can result in hitting up against a glass ceiling.  In addition to facing microaggressions and having to “code switch” (defined as a person changing the way they express themselves when they are around non-racialized people in the workplace), Black employees have low rates of sponsorship and find hidden biases in promotion processes.  This is reflected in the data that shows Black leaders hold less than 1% of executive roles and board seats at major Canadian companies.”[60]

 

  1. BLANKET GEOGRAPHIC LIMITATIONS SHOULD END:

Many federal jobs are posted for the National Capital Region (NCR), but only people living or working there can apply for them, by prerequisite.  When you have a strong candidate from another part of the country who maintains a residence in the NCR or who can easily (and may even offer to) relocate to the NCR at their own expense, or who can even work remotely during the Pandemic, they can’t apply.  If they do apply, they are then told that they should not have applied, or receive thinly-veiled insults for not reading the poster and wasting Selection Committee time.  These self-defeating, blanket geographic limitations should end, as they do not get Canada the best candidates.

“The impact of systemic anti-Black racism driving employees away doesn’t just impact those workers – it also results in a financial hit for businesses, as the average cost of replacing an employee is 33% of their annual salary.[61]

 

  1. CANCEL THE NEED TO SHOW HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION IF YOU HAVE A HIGHER DEGREE:

This ludicrous requirement has lost many Black Canadian Citizens and Black Landed Immigrants some very choicy jobs, despite having a few post-secondary degrees for which high school is a prerequisite, which any well-versed Selection Committees should know.  Many Black Canadian Citizens and Black Landed Immigrants have either lost or misplaced these High School documents over time, or during strife and while fleeing for their lives.  With advanced degrees fully earned in Canada or fully accredited by Canada, why ask that candidate to produce a High School Diploma?

“One promising practice is to revisit job postings and look for hidden biases.  For example, the Johnson & Johnson corporation saw a 9% increase in the number of women applying for roles after using software to adjust job postings and remove gender-coded language, business jargon, and laundry lists of skillsets not required.  The same approach could be used for the Black community.”[62]

 

  1. DECREASE THE EMPHASIS ON BILINGUALISM AS BLANKET PREREQUISITE:

Despite being native French speakers, some Black applicants can tend to be screened out on other grounds.  There is, then, little hope of passing this impenetrable barrier for Anglophones or Lusophones, or those fluent in other “European languages”.  Citizens from two very populous Asian and Subcontinental nations that we will not name, as well as immigrants from certain non-English and non-French speaking European countries, have reportedly and demonstrably and repeatedly shown that they have no trouble at all getting very senior jobs in the federal public service with poor written and spoken English, little to no French comprehension, and barely intelligible speech, due to thicker accents than many Anglophone Africans.  How is this possible?

One particularly instructive story appeared in Canada’s print and electronic media, within these past several years.  In that story, a senior federal public servant, who happened to be an Anglophone Caucasian male, was able to both secure, and stay in, a very senior position, while undergoing costly French language instruction for over 16 months, but not becoming Bilingual.[63]  Would a member of Canada’s Black Community have even gotten past the screening stage, once it was known that he or she was not already fluently Bilingual?  This is truly a great question.

I would say the media story is likely not an isolated incident, and both that case, and the anecdotal stories just above it, glaringly show that any and all ongoing requirements for blanket Bilingualism are a redundant roadblock to getting the best talent into jobs they deserve, and so they need to go.

 

  1. EDUCATE AND PREPARE SELECTION COMMITTEES BETTER:

Selection Committees in the federal public service have been found seriously wanting in knowledge of the candidates and their diversity, appreciation of the hard work and life experiences that many bring to the table, considering the cross-applicability of skills and experience, and properly following their own procedures.  An Ottawa Selection Committee member once rejected a Western Canada applicant because the application arrived at 1:55 Eastern time with an application deadline of 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.  When tasked on it by email, she took her time to answer and then reportedly and callously stated that “oh well, its too late to do anything about it now, anyway!”  The applicant did not grieve the process – not wanting to work with such a blatantly biased, questionable character who could presumably and easily supervise and/or sabotage others.

““There is the old saying that Aboriginal people, women or minority groups have to do things twice as well to receive half the recognition.  This is often the case.  We are always under a microscope and we have the feeling that others are just waiting for us to fail.  If it wasn’t for the fact that we are working for our people, I believe many of us would give up and go home.””[64]

 

  1. FORGET ABOUT ADVERTISING FOR PRE-FILLED POSITIONS:

The process of advertising a position when the workplace already has a preferred candidate, should also stop, as well as this incessant placing of people into pools from which nobody ever draws.  There have been and continue to be, so many “Acting” opportunities that Black applicants never get an opportunity to fill, because they do not have the proper experience that other less diverse co-workers somehow and some way, always get invited to accumulate, in advance.  There is anecdotal evidence of at least one Black candidate who passed the pre-screen, and then went for an examination where the only other candidate had left his desk doing the job being applied for, to come and write the examination.  Guess who got the job?  What about the debrief, to determine this losing candidate’s strong and weak points?  On one missed answer, they were specifically told, “oh, we don’t do it like that in reality, but someone who is doing that job, will know that.”

These competitions take a great deal of time and effort to apply for, and the screening questions and résumé portions can run into dozens of pages to draft, edit, and review.   It is blatantly unfair and improper to waste people’s time and effort again and again, or get them overly excited, by continuing this practice of advertising outside for an opportunity, when the inside candidate already has the job locked-down.

“In terms of career progression, developing formal sponsorship programs can be a big unlock for Black employees.  According to our research, Black employees are five times more likely than White employees to describe a sponsorship program as “the most effective program for racial and ethnic diversity and inclusion” that their company could put in place.  And yet, only 11% of Canadians in a 2019 survey report that their company has a formal sponsorship program.”[65]

 

  1. GOOD MANAGERS ARE DIVERSE, OR HAVE AND BRING A DIVERSE PERSPECTIVE, OR, BOTH:

Before even starting any of the above 6 (“six”) steps, however, it would be best and helpful to have diverse managers who can oversee this process of change.  Sufficiently familiar with group lived experiences, they could take that hard look at patterns and practices within the day-to-day operations of employer departments and units, which could be changed for the betterment of all.

It is not enough to just lump everyone into a single category of “Visible Minority”, when the Black community, alone, has experienced so much and continues to, while other EEA member groups (women, the physically challenged, and Aboriginal Canadians), have all made so much progress.

If we continue to use the simple definition of “Black” and if we continue to be lumped together with and under “Visible Minorities” absent our own standalone category, then we will continue to be the “always neglected and never selected” poor cousins within that group.  We will also never leave that now statistically proven status as the solid base in and of the Canadian federal public service that enters employment, and stays, and leaves employment, at the bottom rung.  Diversity goes beyond basic group definitions, and it “MUST” focus more closely on the Black experience.

As with managers, there MUST also be Selection Committee members who have lived that Black experience and are familiar with it, and who bring knowledge, skills and abilities from significant work and life done outside Canada.

“Anti-Black racism in Canada negatively impacts the nation’s social and economic fabric, reducing the potential of over a million Canadians.  We must work together to achieve system-level change through interventions that address racism across all life cycle areas.”[66]

 

  1. SUMMARY –

Having now proposed a redefinition of one of the Equity Groups within the Employment Equity Act (EEA) and the creation of a standalone category, and having also proposed 7 (“seven”) steps to better support all of the protected or designated groups under the EEA, we can now consider ways to improve accountability and compliance under the EEA, as well as EEA enforcement.

 

 

(C)

How to Improve Accountability and Compliance under the EEA, and How to Improve Enforcement of the EEA.

 

The easiest and most practical way to improve accountability and compliance under, and enforcement of the EEA, is to have and promote a Plurality Mandate across the federal Public Service and federally-regulated employers.  Provinces and Territories may choose to follow this Plurality Mandate for their own public services, and the federal government should both apply the mandate to federal contractors, and provide incentives for its voluntary private sector adoption.

The Plurality Mandate itself, has three prongs:

(1) “Component Categories” (with 5 components);

(2) “Application Levels” (with 10 components); and

(3) “Practices and Procedures”.

 

  1. THE PLURALITY MANDATE: COMPONENT CATEGORIES –

Under this Plurality Mandate, there would first be 5 (“five”) component categories, which are those designated groups under the EEA.  As stated above,[67] I would add Veterans to Women, Aboriginal Peoples, Persons with Disabilities, and Canada’s Black Community (Abimbola Bawon Shayo).

 

  1. THE PLURALITY MANDATE: APPLICATION LEVELS –

Next, there would be 10 (“ten”) Application Levels, with each level having and sharing the same mandated plurality.  These 10 application levels (including staff with casual, contract, term, permanent, and other categorizations at each and every application level), are:

i. Interns.

ii. Entry-Level hires.

iii. Junior Staff.

iv. Mid-level Staff.

v. Senior Staff.

vi. Middle Management.

vii. Senior Management.

iix. Executive Management.

ix. The Board/Directorial Level, and above.

x. Contractors & Suppliers to the federal government (self-identifying as plurality-owned).

 

  1. THE PLURALITY MANDATE: PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES –

In terms of Practices and Procedures to operationalize this Plurality Mandate, it provides that there should be a minimum of 6% and a maximum of 12% of each of the 5 Component Categories (the protected groups) occupying all of the available positions, at each of the 10 Application Levels.  Collectively, that would mean that if having more than 100 employees, federally-regulated private-sector employers, federally-regulated Crown corporations, and other federal organizations, should have and report anywhere from a low of 5 x 6% (30%) and a high of 5 x 12% (60%) in the diversity level of their workforce at each of the application levels.  This is the Protected Plurality.

Other Equity-seeking groups that are not now protected under the EEA, and the inclusion of which I earlier discouraged on grounds given, include, (i) People of Asian and South Asian heritage; (ii) Religious minorities; (iii) Seniors; (iv) Young people; (v) the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community; and (vi) all others.  With these 6 groups, there should be a floor of no less than 6% (6 x 6% = 36%), and a ceiling of no more than 8%, but for only 2 of these 6 groups.  This is the Core Plurality.

Adding the Protected Plurality ceiling (60%) to the Core Plurality ceiling (36%) covers 96% of employees or staff, at each and every one of the 9 application levels, within the federal public service, federally-regulated private-sector employers, federally-regulated Crown corporations, and other federal organizations, falling under the definitions and provisions of the EEA.

Currently, and as originally stated at the start of this submission, anytime a new group joins the Employment Equity family roster, Black people under the current structure, definitions, and application get pushed further back as a “last in, first out” ethos prevails.  A Plurality Mandate is the only way to guarantee that everyone gets ahead, and I strongly recommend it, as recruitment, training, promotion, and retention will all move into a much better place and at a rapid pace. Finally and understandably, it is preferable that Human Resources should not be led by a person in the Core Plurality.  And, it is also preferable that Recruitment Teams in general and the Interview Panels, specifically, each and both:

(a) Meet the Plurality Mandate, but at a 60% Protected Plurality to 40% Core Plurality ratio in the Recruitment Team;

(b) Meet the Plurality mandate at that same 60:40 ratio for Protected and Core, and have at least 1 (“one”) member of the Interview Panel self-identifying as being as of the same elected or selected “primary plurality, as each subject Candidate; and

(I) Although Candidates may identify several in their profiles, they should be limited to the selection of no more than 1 (“one”) “Primary Plurality”, whether Protected or Core, for the purposes of each separate and distinct job application, as well as Acting, Deployment, and other Secondment and Assignment options.

As an added bonus, the more inclusive nature of this Plurality Mandate and its applicability across entities of all sizes and sectors and geographies, make it a very strong candidate to replace the 50-30 Challenge with regard to Board and senior management positions, in:

i. Large corporations;

ii. Post-secondary institutions;

iii. Not-for-profits, including hospitals;

iv. Small and medium-sized enterprises; and

v. Charities, agencies, boards, and commissions;

and thereby be and become the default Legislated Employment Equity Program (LEEP).

 

  1. SUMMARY –

With redefinition for the Black Community creating the standalone group of Abimbola Bawon Shayo, 7 suggested steps to better support all Protected Groups under the EEA, and a Plurality Mandate that will bring greater opportunities, equities, and participation for all Canadians, whether or not protected under the EEA, let us turn now, to the question of improved public reporting.

 

 

(D)

How to improve public reporting for employment equity.

The existing system of compliance under the Act, specifically the duty of employers to file reports on the composition of their workforce in relation to employment equity, compliance audits by the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), and access to these audits by the Labour Program, should continue.  However, in order to address certain deficiencies in reporting on and compliance with the EEA, as stated in the 2019 ESDC evaluation,[68] I recommend or reiterate the following:

 

RECOMMENDATION 1 –

Lower the operating floor of the EEA to employers with 50 or more employees, down from the current floor of 100 or more, thereby capturing more Canadian sectoral and geographic data;

 

RECOMMENDATION 2 –

It being odd that currently covered employers with 100 or more employees could lack an organized Human Resources function in-house (unless the role is fully outsourced), I recommend:

(i) Mandating the presence of an organized Human Resources function (whether In-house or outsourced) for all current and intending federal contractors with 50 or more employees – whether or not lowering the entire floor for all entities covered by the EEA;

(ii) Providing bonuses and incentives through grants and contributions, for demonstrated actual compliance or steps towards compliance, with the EEA, within 90, 180, 270, and 360 days, as applicable, of:

(I) voluntary reporting of a shortcoming by the covered employer; or

(II) the finding of any deficiency in the covered employer as the result of:

(aa) a random audit;

(bb) a targeted audit as the result of an anonymous, third-party complaint;

 

RECOMMENDATION 3 –

Focus more on measuring, acknowledging and recognizing employer efforts and progress towards equity, and not just a “checking-off” of their basic compliance with reporting requirements, by:

(i) Seeking concrete evidence and instances of compliance and Pay Transparency;

(ii) Fostering and promoting actual Plans for and of, Compliance and Pay Transparency;

(iii) Following-up at the 90-, 180-, 270- and 360-day intervals identified above, in order to assess those Plans for and of, Compliance and Pay Transparency;

 

RECOMMENDATION 4 –

  1. Expand Labour Program funding, authorities, and capacities to better research compliance with the EEA, including through engaging in time and demography “SWOT” studies on future representation strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats;

 

RECOMMENDATION 5 –

Expand Labour Program funding, authorities, and capacities to better promote the EEA, including further sensitization of sectors and members in partnership with self-regulating organizations (Lawyers and Notaries, Accountants, Engineers, Medical and Dental practitioners, human resources and payroll professionals, and other learned intermediaries), specifically regarding:

(i) Public awareness of the intent and scope of the EEA;

(ii) The benefits of compliance with the EEA;

(iii) The consequences of EEA non-compliance;

(iv) Collecting and sharing best practices by protected group, sector, and geography.

 

  1. CLOSING SUMMARY and SALUTATION

I thank you for this opportunity to share my thoughts on review of the Employment Equity Act (EEA), which is a very timely and necessary exercise, as the invitation and my submission show.

I trust that my suggestions and observations prove beneficial, and contribute to a meaningful and broad consideration of the many voices, options, and policy directions, that are available for consideration within our diverse and dynamic, Canadian Multicultural Mosaic, and help to build a more equitable society and work reality – whether in the office, on the road, or working from home, at all levels from the mailroom to the Boardroom, and in all sectors and geographies.

I therefore very much look forward to seeing the final, end-result, and then perhaps, we Black Canadians will be able to live and proclaim as a prevailing truth, that “Abimbola Bawon Shayo!”  – or as shortened, and used interchangeably, we will be able to confidently self-declare, as –

Abim-Black”: Black with a very powerful, rich, ancient, and deep African heritage!

ABSO-Black”: Black with a diverse, global lived experience as separated, but not divided!

Shayo-Black”: Black and winning, with that robust, resilient Melanin magic, all day, every day!

 

Sincerely yours,
Ekundayo (Dayo) George
– Edmonton, Alberta, April 28, 2022.

 

 

END NOTES.

[1] Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).  Share your views: Employment Equity Act Review Consultation (Opened on February 28, 2022 and will close to new input on April 28, 2022).  Posted on Canada.ca, and visited March 1, 2022.  Online: <https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/portfolio/labour/programs/employment-equity/task-force/consultation.html>

[2] Adam Cotter, Canadian Centre for Justice and Community Safety Statistics.  Experiences of discrimination among the Black and Indigenous populations in Canada, 2019.  Released February 16, 2022, posted on statcan.gc.ca, and visited April 19, 2022.  Online<https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2022001/article/00002-eng.htm>

“For instance, four in ten (41%) Black people experienced discrimination or unfair treatment based on their race or skin colour in the five years preceding the survey, a proportion about 15 times higher than that of non-Indigenous, non-visible minority people (3%).  Discrimination based on ethnicity or culture was experienced by more than one in four (27%) Black people, compared with 2% among the non-Indigenous, non-visible minority population.”  (Emphasis added)

See also, René Houle, Statistics Canada.  Changes in the socioeconomic situation of Canada’s Black population, 2001 to 2016.  Released August 13, 2020, posted on statcan.gc.ca, and visited April 18, 2022.  Online: <https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-657-x/89-657-x2020001-eng.htm >

“Although earning a postsecondary diploma is generally associated with better employment and income, certain factors may alter this association and lead to difficult situations, particularly for immigrants. The location where the highest diploma was earned, whether the diplomas and experience are recognized in Canada, and overqualification (often a direct consequence of foreign education not being recognized) are some of the factors that can affect the economic situation of the Black population in Canada.”

[3] René Houle, Statistics Canada.  Changes in the socioeconomic situation of Canada’s Black population, 2001 to 2016.  Released August 13, 2020, posted on statcan.gc.ca, and visited April 18, 2022.  Online: <https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-657-x/89-657-x2020001-eng.htm>  In 2015, using 2015 dollars, the median annual wage for black men was roughly $40,000 compared to $56,000 for all other men in Canada, which is a difference of $16,000.  In the same year, the median wage gap between black women and all other women in Canada ranged between $3,500 and $7,200.  Of note, that median wage gap between Black men and all other men, had actually reached a high of $22,000 in 2015.

[4] Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).  Employment Equity Act: Annual Report 2020, Footnote 5.  Posted on Canada.ca, and visited April 19, 2022.  Online: < https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/portfolio/labour/programs/employment-equity/reports/2020-annual.html#h2.5.4>

LMA, expressed as a percentage, refers to the share of designated group members in the workforce from which the employers could hire, based on Statistics Canada data.

When this measure is a growing pool of candidates stuck at the entry-levels and lower ranks, because Statisticians cite the false progress of their rising numbers as a sign of growing success, this continued application of Labour Market Availability (LMA) rates, just works with other factors to keep Black people stuck in the same crowded place.

[5] Employment Equity Act, S.C. 1995, c. 44, at section 3 Interpretation.  Posted on lois.justice.gc.ca.  Online: <https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/e-5.401/page-1.html#h-215135>

[6] Intending no offence, I will use “Aboriginal” and “Indigenous” interchangeably, herein, as do the sources cited.

[7] Adam Cotter, Canadian Centre for Justice and Community Safety Statistics.  Experiences of discrimination among the Black and Indigenous populations in Canada, 2019, at Footnote 1.  Released February 16, 2022, posted on statcan.gc.ca, and visited April 19, 2022.  Online<https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2022001/article/00002-eng.htm>

[8] See discussion, Infra, at (C): Improving EEA Accountability, Compliance, and Enforcement.

[9] René Houle, Statistics Canada.  Changes in the socioeconomic situation of Canada’s Black population, 2001 to 2016, at “Conclusion”.  Released August 13, 2020, posted on statcan.gc.ca, and visited April 18, 2022.  Online: <https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-657-x/89-657-x2020001-eng.htm>

[10] Slavery fueled, and in many cases still fuels, the Canadian economy, from east to west, as one author writes.

“The source of materials and trade feeding industry in Canada (sugar and cotton coming in; furs, fish, timber, liquor, and cloth going out) were products of slavery.  Sugar barons and lumber merchants in Montreal, shipbuilders in the Maritimes, leaders of industry in Upper Canada / Canada West, the first banks—they all accumulated vast wealth from the slave economy.  Post-Confederation, their tainted wealth flowed into the infrastructure of a modernizing Canada.  It lingers in the assets of leading banks that for years refused to give mortgages to nonwhite citizens.” (Sic).

See Andrew Hunter.  Tainted Wealth: Canada Has Tried to Erase Its History of Slavery.  Posted February 25, 2022, on thewalrus.ca, and visited April 20, 2022.  Online: <https://thewalrus.ca/canada-slavery/>

[11] Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press.  Black rights group wants to formally recognize historic site with racist name.  Posted October 1, 2016, on cbc.ca, and visited April 21, 2022.  Online: <https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-nigger-rock-name-change-black-coalition-1.3787740>

[12] Id.

[13] Matthew McRae.  The Canadian Museum of Human Rights.  The story of slavery in Canadian history.  It happened here, too.  Posted on humanrights.ca, and visited April 21, 2022.  Online: <https://humanrights.ca/story/the-story-of-slavery-in-canadian-history>

[14] Id.

[15] Id.

[16] CBC Radio.  Africville: A Community Destroyed.  Posted February 18, 2016, on cbc.ca, and visited April 20, 2022.  Online: <https://www.cbc.ca/radio/rewind/africville-a-community-destroyed-1.2919404>

[17] Id.

[18] Id.

[19] Danielle Piper.  What Happened to Vancouver’s Black Neighbourhoods?  Posted August 13, 2019 on thetyee.ca, and visited April 20, 2022.  Online: <https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2019/08/13/Vancouver-Black-Neighbourhoods/>

[20] Id.

[21] Id.

[22] Id.

[23] Id.

[24] Danielle Piper.  What Happened to Vancouver’s Black Neighbourhoods?  Posted August 13, 2019 on thetyee.ca, and visited April 20, 2022.  Online: <https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2019/08/13/Vancouver-Black-Neighbourhoods/>

[25] Id.

[26] Christopher Cheung.  Repairing the Damage of ‘Slum Clearance’ in Vancouver’s Inner City.  Posted June 27, 2018, on thetyee.ca, and visited April 21, 2022.  Online: <https://thetyee.ca/News/2018/06/27/Vancouver-Inner-City-Slum-Clearance-Repair/>

[27] Nan DasGupta, Vinay Shandal, Daniel Shadd, Andrew Segal, and in conjunction with CivicAction.  The Pervasive Reality of Anti-Black Racism in Canada – Health and Community Services.  Dated December 14, 2020, posted on bcg.com, and visited April 19, 2022.  Online: <https://www.bcg.com/en-ca/publications/2020/reality-of-anti-black-racism-in-canada>

[28] Natasha Henry.  Racial Segregation of Black People in Canada – Housing and Home Ownership.  Posted May 28, 2019, on thecanadianencyclopedia.ca, last edited on April 6, 2022, and visited April 21, 2022.  Online:

<https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/racial-segregation-of-black-people-in-canada>

[29] Chris Arsenault, Thomson Reuters Foundation.  Lacking land rights, historic black communities in Canada seek change.  Posted September 6, 2017, on reuters.com, and visited April 22, 2022.  Online: <https://www.reuters.com/article/us-canada-landrights-race-idUSKCN1BH38E>

[30] Natasha Henry.  Racial Segregation of Black People in Canada – Commercial Establishments.  Posted  may 28, 2019 on thecanadianencyclopedia.ca, last edited on April 6, 2022, and visited April 21, 2022.  Online:

<https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/racial-segregation-of-black-people-in-canada>

[31] Id.

[32] Id.

[33] Wikipedia.  Viola Desmond.  Posted on en.wikipedia.org, and visited April 18, 2022.  Online: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viola_Desmond>

[34] Id.

[35] Id.

[36] Zahra Bhaiwala, Neekta Hamidi, and Sikander Bizenjo.  Black Lives Matter – for Pakistan’s Sheedi community too.  Posted August 14, 2020, on weforum.org, and visited April 23, 2022.  Online:  <https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/08/black-lives-matter-for-pakistans-sheedi-community-too/>

[37] Garikai Chengu.  Before Columbus: How Africans Brought Civilization to America.  Originally published October 12, 2014, but posted August 10, 2018 on globalresearch.ca, and visited April 24, 2022.  Online: < https://www.globalresearch.ca/before-columbus-how-africans-brought-civilization-to-america/5407584>

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.  Chinese Immigration Act, 1923.  Posted on pier21.ca and visited April 20, 2022.  Online: <https://pier21.ca/research/immigration-history/chinese-immigration-act-1923> This Act was passed into law on July 1, 1923, and repealed on May 14, 1947.  Although this law was in effect for some time before it was repealed, several apologies have been made (by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2006, Premier Christy Clark of British Columbia in 2014, and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson in 2018), and significant funds have been provided in compensation.  See also Wikipedia.  Chinese Immigration Act, 1923.  Posted on en.wikipedia.org, and visited April 22, 2022.  Online: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Immigration_Act,_1923>.  In the case of Black Canadians though, and the hundreds of years of injustice that they have suffered in Canada, no apology has been made and no reparations have been paid, let alone considered.

[41] Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.  Order-in-Council PC 1911-1324.  Posted on pier21.ca and visited April 20, 2022.  Online: <https://pier21.ca/research/immigration-history/order-in-council-pc-1911-1324>  This Order-in-Council was passed into law on August 12, 1911, but repealed on October 5, 1911.  Although short-lived, its chilling impact on potential immigrants who heard of it, cannot be denied.  See also Wikipedia.  Order-in-Council P.C. 1911-1324.  Posted on en.wikipedia.org, and visited April 22, 2022.  Online: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order-in-Council_P.C._1911-1324>

[42] Ryerson University.  The Black Experience Project.   Greater Toronto Area Study Capturing The Lived Experiences of a Diverse Community.  Phase 1 – Community Engagement Final Report, January 2014, at page 5.

Posted on ryerson.ca and visited April 23, 2022.  Online:<https://www.ryerson.ca/content/dam/diversity/reports/BEP_Phase1Report_WEB_2014.pdf>

[43] Environics Institute.  Black Experience Project in the GTA: Overview Report, July 2017, at page 29.  Posted on environicsinstitute.org and visited April 23, 2022.  Online: <https://www.environicsinstitute.org/docs/default-source/project-documents/black-experience-project-gta/black-experience-project-gta—1-overview-report.pdf?sfvrsn=553ba3_2>

[44] Of note, I refer to the document: Annex – Policy Brief 1: – Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat demographic list, which is appended as a Resource in the Background Material for this consultation.  To show the diminution and relegation of the word and category “Black”, one clearly sees that much care and effort were taken to separately list the majority of the nations of East Asia, the Middle East (mostly Arab nations), South Asia, and Southeast Asia, all very clearly.  And yet, to contain the vast diversity in the word Black, as I have explained in depth, we only have:

“Black (that is, African, African-Canadian descent, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latino/Afro-Latinx, Afro-North African and Middle East)”.

Clearly then, “Black” MUST be redefined and SHOULD be a standalone group, it we are to be considered with any seriousness.  For now, we do not even deserve listing and specificity with the same care and attention, as others.  Posted on Canada.ca, and visited April 17, 2022.  Online: <https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/portfolio/labour/programs/employment-equity/reports/act-review-federal-antiracism-secretariat-demographic-list-annex-1.html>

[45] Supra, note 43 at page 29.

[46] Supra, note 43 at page 31.

[47] Marques Travae.  In historic visit of King Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi of Ile-Ife, Nigeria, Bahia is declared the Yoruba Capital of the Americas.  Posted June 19, 2018, on blackbraziltoday.com, and visited April 10, 2022.  Online: <https://blackbraziltoday.com/bahia-is-declared-the-yoruba-capital/>

[48] The Department of Public Safety Canada, in cooperation with the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia and the Micmac Native Friendship Centre.  Common Ground: An examination of similarities between black and aboriginal communities.  Aboriginal Peoples Collection (APC) 29 CA (2009).  Posted on publicsafety.gc.ca, and visited April 22, 2022.  Online: <https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/cmmn-grnd/index-en.aspx>  These are the words of an Anonymized Black Person, speaking at a gathering of Black People and Aboriginal People to discuss their common situations within and regarding various aspects of Canada’s multicultural mosaic, and explore potential areas and themes of cooperation for their own mutual benefit as distinct groups, and overall societal betterment.

““Ownership.  We need to empower ourselves.  As long as power is what they do with us, we are disempowered.  We need to understand that power starts with us and we need to build it up and we need to move forward.  And we need to understand that.”” (Sic).

[49] These biases can be regarding others, or regarding oneself, for example, some students may have internalized a feeling and self-fulfilling attitude that they are not good at a certain subject and never will be, when in fact the problem is that the person was never nurtured in the subject as a child or given a chance to develop proficiency.   The Law of Human Performance or of Practice, is highly instructive in cases such as these, and should be noted.

“The quintessential point here, however, stems from the fact that according to the law of human performance, the abilities, skills, and attributes of students that are meaningfully engaged and challenged in and outside the classroom (as by assignments and mentoring activities) — from pre-K through graduate school and beyond — are the ones that develop!”

Intentionally recruiting more Black instructors at all of these grades and levels, who have an interest in seeing their wards and students succeed, would go a very long way to trading many of these early biases for excellence.  See Diola Bagayoko.  The Law of Human Performance or of Practise: An Extension of the Power Law of Performance or of Practice. (2010).  Posted on subr.edu, and visited April 24, 2022.  Online: <https://www.subr.edu/assets/subr/HonorsCollege/pdf/LHP-LawOfHumanPerformance-Font11.5-WithHandbookReference-2018.pdf>

[50] Nan DasGupta, Vinay Shandal, Daniel Shadd, Andrew Segal, and in conjunction with CivicAction.  The Pervasive Reality of Anti-Black Racism in Canada, at Children and Youth Development.  Dated December 14, 2020, posted on bcg.com, and visited April 19, 2022.  Online: <https://www.bcg.com/en-ca/publications/2020/reality-of-anti-black-racism-in-canada>

[51] Nan DasGupta, Vinay Shandal, Daniel Shadd, Andrew Segal, and in conjunction with CivicAction.  The Pervasive Reality of Anti-Black Racism in Canada, at Police Services.  Dated December 14, 2020, posted on bcg.com, and visited April 19, 2022.  Online: <https://www.bcg.com/en-ca/publications/2020/reality-of-anti-black-racism-in-canada>

“Only a quarter of Black people in Toronto trust police to treat them fairly compared to three-quarters of White people. This is not surprising, when we consider that Black people are significantly more likely to be profiled, arrested, held overnight, and be subjected to police force than non-racialized Ontarians.”

[52] Id. at Reduce Police Bias and Violence.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Garikai Chengu.  Before Columbus: How Africans Brought Civilization to America.  Originally published October 12, 2014, but posted August 10, 2018 on globalresearch.ca, and visited April 24, 2022.  Online: < https://www.globalresearch.ca/before-columbus-how-africans-brought-civilization-to-america/5407584>

“Clearly, Africans helped civilize America well before Europeans “discovered” America, and well before Europeans claim to have civilized Africa.  The growing body of evidence is now becoming simply too loud to ignore. It’s about time education policy makers reexamine their school curriculums to adjust for America’s long pre-Columbus history.” (Sic).

[55] The Department of Public Safety Canada, in cooperation with the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia and the Micmac Native Friendship Centre.  Common Ground: An examination of similarities between black and aboriginal communities.  Aboriginal Peoples Collection (APC) 29 CA (2009).  Posted on publicsafety.gc.ca, and visited April 22, 2022.  Online: <https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/cmmn-grnd/index-en.aspx>  These are the words of an Anonymized Black Person, speaking at a gathering of Black People and Aboriginal People to discuss their common situations within and regarding various aspects of Canada’s multicultural mosaic, and explore potential areas and themes of cooperation for their own mutual benefit as distinct groups, and overall societal betterment.

[56] See Katy Steinmetz.  She Coined the Term ‘Intersectionality’ Over 30 Years Ago. Here’s What It Means to Her Today.  Posted February 20, 2020, on time.com, and visited April 27, 2022.  Online:  <https://time.com/5786710/kimberle-crenshaw-intersectionality/>

[57] Ibid.

[58] See discussion, Infra, at (C): How to Improve Accountability and Compliance under the EEA, and How to Improve Enforcement of the EEA.

[59] Nan DasGupta, Vinay Shandal, Daniel Shadd, Andrew Segal, and in conjunction with CivicAction.  The Pervasive Reality of Anti-Black Racism in Canada, at Job Opportunities and Income Supports.  Dated December 14, 2020, posted on bcg.com, and visited April 19, 2022.  Online: <https://www.bcg.com/en-ca/publications/2020/reality-of-anti-black-racism-in-canada>

[60] Id.

[61] Id.

[62] Nan DasGupta, Vinay Shandal, Daniel Shadd, Andrew Segal, and in conjunction with CivicAction.  The Pervasive Reality of Anti-Black Racism in Canada, at Improve Employment Prospects and Career Development.  Dated December 14, 2020, posted on bcg.com, and visited April 19, 2022.  Online: <https://www.bcg.com/en-ca/publications/2020/reality-of-anti-black-racism-in-canada>

[63] Tom Spears.  $90,000 and 16 months of language training later, NRC executive resigns before returning to work.  Posted May 4, 2018, on ottawacitizen.com, and visited April 26, 2022.  Online: <https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/90000-and-16-months-of-language-training-later-nrc-executive-resigns-before-returning-to-work>

[64] The Department of Public Safety Canada, in cooperation with the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia and the Micmac Native Friendship Centre.  Common Ground: An examination of similarities between black and aboriginal communities.  Aboriginal Peoples Collection (APC) 29 CA (2009).  Posted on publicsafety.gc.ca, and visited April 22, 2022.  Online: <https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/cmmn-grnd/index-en.aspx>  These are the words of an Anonymized Aboriginal Person, speaking at a gathering of Black People and Aboriginal People to discuss their common situations within and regarding various aspects of Canada’s multicultural mosaic, and explore potential areas and themes of cooperation for their own mutual benefit as distinct groups, and overall societal betterment.

[65] Ibid.

[66] Nan DasGupta, Vinay Shandal, Daniel Shadd, Andrew Segal, and in conjunction with CivicAction.  The Pervasive Reality of Anti-Black Racism in Canada.  Dated December 24, 2020, posted on bcg.com, and visited April 19, 2022.  Online: <https://www.bcg.com/en-ca/publications/2020/reality-of-anti-black-racism-in-canada>

[67] See discussion, Supra, at (A) 4: Opening Summary and Invitation.

[68] Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).  Evaluation of the Employment Equity Programs – Final Report – March 2019.  Posted on Canada.ca, and visited April 18, 2022.  Online: <https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/reports/evaluations/employment-equity-programs.html#a4>

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5 Responses to “SHARE YOUR VIEWS: EMPLOYMENT EQUITY ACT REVIEW CONSULTATION, 2022.”

  1. Kalifa Goita Says:

    Excellent analysis and pragmatic proposals for a révolution in Canada

  2. Kalifa Goita Says:

    Great


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