Federal Government Consulting on Employment Equity Act Modernization

The federal government seeks consultation on the modernization of the Employment Equity Act (the “Act”).  The consultation period opened on May 3, 2024 and will close on July 31, 2024.  

In December 2023, the government released the report of the Employment Equity Act Review Task Force.  It also announced its initial commitments regarding modernization of the Act, including:

  • Creating two new designated groups under the Act: Black people and 2SLGBTQI+ people;
  • Replacing the term “Aboriginal Peoples” with “Indigenous Peoples,” and updating the definition to include First Nations, Métis and Inuit, and to ensure it is consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act;
  • Replacing the term “members of visible minorities” with “racialized people” and updating the corresponding definition; and
  • Aligning the definition of “persons with disabilities” with the Accessible Canada Act to make it more inclusive.

The government now seeks input on the best way to put these changes and other recommendations into place, as well as input on the current state of the Act and how it can be improved.  

The government wishes to consult with Indigenous partners and stakeholders subject to the Act, such as:

  • Equity groups; and
  • Those under the federal jurisdiction, that is:
    • Groups, associations and unions representing employees;
    • Private-sector employers and employers’ groups and associations; and
    • Public-sector employers and partners.

The government also indicates that feedback from other interested parties is welcome.

Key areas for discussion include:

  • The purpose of the Act;
  • Designated groups (for example, definitions, terminology);
  • Collection of survey data;
  • Support provided to employees and employers; 
  • Accountability, compliance and enforcement; and
  • Public reporting.

The feedback received by the government will inform the changes to the Act.  The feedback will also be summarized in a report, which will be published online.   

In Our View

Parties who are interested in participating should note that their feedback must be provided through the consultation paper, which can be requested by email at edsc.lee-eea.esdc@labour-travail.gc.ca.  The government indicates that those who are invited to a virtual roundtable session may provide additional feedback at the session.

For more information, please contact Steven Williams at 613-697-6869 or Lauren Jamieson at 613-404-5058.

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