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CAUT Bulletin Archives

January 1998

Federal Merit Awards for Employment Equity Initiatives

The Ministry of Human Resources Development has announced the 1997 merit award winners for initiatives in employment equity, undertaken under the Federal Contractors Program. Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) has established two types of awards: Vision Awards and Certificates of Merit. This year, the University of British Columbia received a Vision Award and the University of Windsor received a Certificate of Merit.

Federal Contractors Program
The Federal Contractors Program and the Employment Equity Act have been in place for over 10 years. The main objective of the Federal Contractors Program is to ensure that major contractors who do business with the Government of Canada achieve and maintain employment equity in their workforce. The program applies to contractors who employ at least 100 people and who wish to bid on federal contracts worth at least $200,000. As a condition of their bid, these contractors must commit themselves to implementing employment equity and to achieving a fair and representative workforce. If employment equity measures are not created and implemented, the contractor may lose the opportunity to compete for future government business.

Merit Awards
According to information from HRDC, over the past ten years, "employers have made special efforts to achieve a representative workforce. To honour those special efforts, the Government of Canada introduced its annual merit awards program in 1990. The Employment Equity Vision Awards and Certificates of Merit are granted to organizations in recognition of special achievements in implementing employment equity."

HRDC states that "the companies and organizations honoured this year by the Labour Branch of Human Resources Development Canada clearly understand the benefits of making the best use of human resources. By going beyond the traditional approaches to human resource management, these employment equity practitioners have carried out leading-edge work -- not only in managing diversity, complexity and change but also in capitalizing on them."

Vision Award Winners
"The Vision Awards are given in recognition of the creative and innovative approaches taken to implement equity and fairness in the workplace." The following companies and institutions received Vision Awards in 1997:

Carrier Canada Limited; General Motors of Canada Limited & CAW-Canada; Microsoft Canada Co.; The University of British Columbia.

HRDC states that "the University of British Columbia is one of Canada's leading universities and one of the world's most highly respected institutions of advanced learning and research. Employing over 15,000 people, UBC holds individual achievement and merit as fundamental considerations in recruitment and retention of their faculty and staff.

"The success of the university's employment equity program is founded on providing a fair and equitable workplace and offering all individuals full opportunity to develop their potential. Counselling services, religious accommodation, a harassment-free work environment, and a family leave program are only some of the features of the organization's work environment. In 1996, UBC not only achieved workforce representation of members of the designated employment equity groups but also established a new Equity Enhancement Fund designed to support departments in achieving employment/educational equity goals. In addition, UBC works to ensure the adoption of monitoring and accountability mechanisms to evaluate and adjust employment equity programs.

"With numerous changes to employment equity policies and senior level commitment to all initiatives, the University of British Columbia continues its efforts to identify and eliminate discriminatory barriers that interfere with employment opportunities in all jobs and at all levels."

Certificates of Merit Winners
"The Certificates of Merit are awarded in recognition of special and continuing efforts toward attaining a representative workforce." The following companies and institutions received Certificates of Merit in 1997: Andersen Consulting; Diesel Division, General Motors of Canada Limited; Husky Oil Ltd.; ORTECH Corporation; Rogers Broadcasting Limited; Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada; The National Life Assurance Company of Canada; University of Windsor.

HRDC states that "the University of Windsor is a leading Canadian teaching and research institution, with a staff of almost 1,200. Operating with two very distinct workforces, the university's Employment Equity Infrastructure includes a Presidential Commission of Employment Equity, which monitors the entire hiring process and employment equity procedure. The Employment Equity Procedures Assessors monitor all employment status processes, assist committees in applying fair equity procedures and report to the Presidential Commission. Recognizing that the university workforce does not directly match the workforce of corporations and governments, the University of Windsor has developed a plan that is unique, pioneering and, most importantly, successful."

Source: HRDC at (programs and services; labour program; workplace equity). Information about the Employment Equity Act and Regulations is also available at this site.