Employment Equity laws act as a guideline through which employers must work proactively to establish barrier-free employment opportunities and working conditions for historically marginalized groups, specifically women, indigenous peoples, workers with disabilities and workers of colour.
Systemic discrimination and deeply rooted social and cultural biases create artificial barriers that can exclude workers from job opportunities and career advancement, as evidenced by the labour market outcomes outlined above. These barriers, if not broken down, can divide workers, break lines of solidarity and limit collective bargaining power. Legislating Employment Equity in all jurisdictions is an important step governments can take. Requiring employers in both public and private sectors to identify workplace barriers, devise plans that ensure equal access, opportunity and greater worker representation, monitor job placements and promotions, and conduct regular systems reviews in collaboration with unions, will go a long way to address the historic underrepresentation of equity-seeking groups in the auto industry.