COLUMN: Lilley – Feds still engaged in discriminatory hiring

- August 10th, 2012

Feds need to fix hiring based on race, sex

by Brian Lilley

Imagine for a moment there was a company that had a policy of only allowing men to fill certain jobs or set aside other jobs for whites only. Now imagine that this company not only had this as policy but put it in writing and then advertised it.

Any company that did this would be hammered in the media and denounced on all sides for discriminatory hiring practices.

Yet if this is so wrong for the private sector, why is the federal government doing it?

Of course with the feds they don`t have any jobs set aside for men, just women, and there are no jobs just for white people, but white people are barred from applying for certain jobs. Why is this allowed?

More than two years ago, I wrote about an Ottawa-area woman who was applying for a job with the federal government. Like many such jobs these days, she was required to apply online and complete a questionnaire. One of the questions asked her what race she was, and once she answered Caucasian the entire process was shut down.

Stories about this event prompted the government to promise action.

“I was very concerned to read the report of a position only being open to people from an identifiable group,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said at the time.

(The woman was applying for a job with Citizenship and Immigration.)

Stockwell Day, who was then in charge at Treasury Board, promised that while the feds will continue to reach out to underrepresented groups, no one should be stopped from applying for a job based on sex, colour, creed, etc.

Despite the promise nothing has happened.

Right now there is a job at Elections Canada restricted to women, while jobs at several other departments are open only to one of the four protected groups — “Aboriginal persons, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, women.”

Even as ministers Day and Kenney were denouncing the practice, bureaucrats were pushing back against their ideas. Memos were sent to those in charge of hiring at every department, telling them they were required to take “positive” steps in ensuring employment equity. Translation from bureaucratic-speak — block people from getting and, in some cases, applying for the job based on their sex or ethnicity.

Since March, Tony Clement, the minister in charge of Treasury Board, has been sitting on a recommendation from one of his top bureaucrats to fix this problem.

Daphne Meredith, chief human resources officer at Clement’s department, recommended the Employment Equity Act be changed to end what most of us call reverse discrimination. Almost six months later nothing has happened.

Clement has paid lip service to the idea that jobs should be handed out based on merit and not based on someone’s sex or ethnicity, but he is afraid to act.

His office tells me there are no changes planned, but at the same time say that they want to ensure jobs are based on merit. You can’t have it both ways.

Right now the federal government’s own reports show that women, the disabled and Aboriginals have higher representation inside the federal public service than they do within the general population. Women are now 55.2% of the federal workforce but only 52% of the available workforce.

Doesn’t that mean there should be affirmative action for men and people who are not Aboriginal or disabled?

Doing that would be seen as wrong though, wouldn’t it?

Hiring based on race and sex is disgusting no matter which way it is done.

The feds should come clean and change the law.

Categories: Contributor Columns

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9 comments

  1. jenny says:

    This is an article based on false premises. Canada is 25% visible minority and 52% female. Yet federal jobs are disproportionaltely awarded to white men! Some job categories are shamefully slanted to one gender or race, while the pool of qualified candidates is not.
    That is why PM Mulroney instated the Employment Equity system. Note that LESS than 1% of federal jobs are reserved for EE groups. So don’t worry, white males, you’re still favoured in 99% of jobs.

    Quit crying because you already have the upper hand in this society.

  2. Brian Lilley says:

    Jenny your numbers are off in one area and prove my case in another.

    First off the federal government puts the visible minority workforce at 13%. You can see more here http://blogs.canoe.ca/lilleyspad/general/if-the-feds-really-believed-in-employment-equity/

    Secondly, if you believe in employment equity then you must want the feds to correct that 3% difference, women are over represented.

    If you don’t want that then perhaps like me you believe that everyone should be treated the same and we should hire based on merit.

  3. Bruce says:

    good try at spin jenny.

    Have you considered that equality of outcomes is an implacable enemy of merit and make no mistake your argument supports equality of outcomes and the powerful authoritarian government which is the only possible way of creating it.

    Racism by the way is not defined as “evil white males discriminating against noble visible minorities” that is just leftist spin (and racist)

    Racism “a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement”

    “a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination”

    your insistence that peoples race determines how they should be treated is racist, your belief that certain races must have govt support to compete or succeed is racist.
    your belief that whites (the race that ended slavery and brought in equality before the law) is morally flawed and inherently bigoted is both historically biased and in itself racist.

    and incidentally the “race guilt” what you want to apply to a race (whites) is the fundamental principle underlying antisemitism.

    so much for your moral high ground

  4. marco says:

    Hey Jenny, please produce figures showing how federal jobs are disproportionately awarded to men.

  5. Kaila says:

    These laws assume all employers are racist.

    Caucasians are the largest population group-larger numbers is not an upper hand, it’s a reality.

    ESL students are also graded differently in university and colleges, not being held to the same standard of English or French comprehension or writing as non-ESL students-meaning marks are artificially higher than demonstrated ability.

    Disabled persons, depending on the disability, are often at a disadvantage. It’s wrongly assumed the disabled will have more sick days.

    Some cultures will not let women work in jobs where they will come into contact with men-employers have no control over these cultural differences.

  6. Alain says:

    Affirmative action/employment equity is one tentacle of the octopus I call identity politics. This octopus has many tentacles; a couple more are multiculturalism and official bilingualism. It is based on the rejection of the individual in favour of the group, and the groups are defined by the state. As an individual you do not count, you have no rights and your individual achievements do not count. I recall over forty years ago friends of Japanese ancestry, born and raised here, who were ticked off that Census Canada refused to allow them to identify as Canadians. Everyone had to be a hyphenated Canadian. I heard the same complaint from friends of Scottish ancestry and I experienced it myself. National unity cannot be built of this kind of quicksand, so the octopus needs to be killed and its tentacles removed.

    Back to official state discrimination now most often called employment equity, I witnessed the federal government watering down the qualification requirements for certain groups in order to ensure they got hired. It was usually women and the requirements were physical and strength. Under the normal requirements the women were not qualifying, so the requirements were changed solely for them. This has affected law enforcement bodies, fire fighters, correctional guards and the military. When affirmative action first came in, I supported it believing it meant that only the best qualified person would be hired and no one could be discriminated against due to sex, colour, or religion. How mistaken I was.

  7. A says:

    I’m an existing government employee, and I’ve personally been prohibited from even applying for an internal competition thanks to employment equity. Now, I’m facing a probable job-loss in the near future, but I’m not mad, I voted for Harper and would again. If I’d been allowed to compete for the position about a year ago, I might have been able to stave off the axe of government cuts, but thanks to the colour of my skin and my gender, it seems that I’ll soon have to try to find work elsewhere. If it was just me, then I could take the hit to my lifestyle, but it’s not just me. I’m the primary breadwinner for three other people. It’s so nice that people like Jenny think so poorly of white males, yet they always forget those whom we carry upon our shoulders. Sadly, they have so much farther to fall.

    Naturally, I agree with Brian that the time for the employment equity act has come and gone.

  8. Santa says:

    Well done Brian, us white males need to keep exposing the systemic racism and sexism directed towards us. Unfortunately though, we’ll need a constitutional ammendment which removes the affirmative action clause (aka racism and sexism towards white males).

  9. Al Ross says:

    It is sad that in 2012 there are still bigots like Jenny in our midst.

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