Employment Equity Act review: Recommendations highlight long-overdue changes

PSAC welcomes the final report of the Employment Equity Act (EEA) Review Task Force that puts forward many of the recommendations we have long been calling for to create a more diverse and inclusive federal public service.   

Introduced almost 40 years ago, the Act was intended to remove barriers and address the chronic under-representation of historically disadvantaged equity-seeking workers.  

Yet despite the creation of the EEA, equity groups in the federal public service continue to be denied opportunities at all levels of the staffing process. Workers have been overlooked and held back from career advancement for years as a result of systemic barriers, policies and practices that perpetuate racism, homophobia, ableism, sexism and other forms of discrimination in our workplaces.  

To address these concerns, PSAC prepared our submissions outlining a number of areas for improvement to ensure the key objectives of the Employment Equity Act are met. 

The EEA review report put forward numerous recommendations PSAC supports, including:  

  1. The inclusion of Black and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities as employment equity groups; 
  2. The use of disaggregated data for all equity groups; 
  3. The replacement of outdated terminology with updated and appropriate language;  
  4. The creation of an independent Office of Equity Commissioner: This office would curb the current limitations that federal public service workers encounter when filing complaints through the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC);  
  5. The establishment of Joint Employment Equity Committees with detailed roles and responsibilities; 
  6. The inclusion of employment equity into collective agreements, including provisions that enable for the negotiation of employment equity that go above and beyond the requirement under the EEA; 
  7. Elevating the EEA to quasi-constitutional status – which will strengthen the Act and meaning that provisions in the Act will now take ensure it takes precedence over the Public Service Employment Act and the Financial Administration Act. 

PSAC will continue to hold the government to account to ensure these critical improvements are implemented into the Employment Equity Act to better protect our members from all forms of discrimination in the workplace.  


January 3, 2024