OTTAWA - The federal government is continuing to set aside jobs for specific groups based on race, gender and ability, more than a year after it pledged to end such practices.
In November 2010, Stockwell Day, the treasury board president at the time, told the House of Commons that he was instructing departments to end the practice of setting aside jobs for specific groups, such as women, aboriginals, visible minorities and the disabled.
“We have also communicated that all department postings must not shut out any specific groups and must be open to all qualified candidates. Final decisions must be based on merit and on qualifications,” Day said at the time.
The move was in response to a QMI Agency story about an Ottawa-area woman denied a job because she was white. While applying online for a position with Citizenship and Immigration Canada the woman was asked to reveal her race. Once she selected Caucasian the application process was shut down and she was unable to proceed with the application.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney was quick to call for a review in 2010, telling QMI that jobs should be awarded based on equality of opportunity and merit.
“I was very concerned to read the report of a position only being open to people from an identifiable group,” Kenney said at the time.
Those concerns have given way to the status quo, however, with both the Treasury Board and the Public Service Commission saying that discriminatory hiring practices will remain in force.
“For there to be changes, the law would have to change”, said the commission spokeswoman Annie Trepanier.
And, Sean Osmar, a spokesman for Treasury Board President Tony Clement, said the Public Service Employment Act won’t be changed as the government has found “no amendments are required.”
Osmar told QMI that the government’s hiring practices were “fair and based on merit.”
Canada’s employment equity legislation was passed in 1986 by Brian Mulroney’s Conservative government.