Employment, and Pay Equity:
BY MARCIA BRAUNDY
It has been an honour to be guest editor of this special issue of Women's Education des femmes.
In 1986, after recommendations from the Abella Royal Commission and significant public lobbying efforts, the Employment Equity Act was proclaimed and the Federal Contractors Program was put into effect. The Act gave federally regulated employers and crown corporations with more than 100 employees two and a half years to begin reporting publicly and annually on the make-up of their workforce. The Canadian Human Rights Commission was given the role of reviewing the data submitted under the Act and the potential to initiate complaints.
The Federal Contractors Program made the privilege of bidding on federal contracts, for any contractor with more than 100 employees bidding on a contract worth $200,000 and over, contingent upon implementing an employment equity plan. There is no reporting requirement but Employment and Immigration Canada review officers can audit these contractors at any time. The program is currently under review, with the inclusion of the construction sector (now exempt) and grants and contributions among the items being considered.
Women's organizations and representatives of other designated groups have come together over the past several months to review the contents of the Employment Equity reports and to be the "public scrutineers," in essence, the enforcers of the Act. Judy Rebick discusses this network and its concerns in her article under "The Federal Contractors' Program: Two Views of the Problems."
When examined from the perspective of education, employment equity is clearly dependent on a social and educational base. If we have not been educating and training appropriately from primary and secondary levels, we will not have qualified and qualifiedly candidates at the post-secondary, university and job training levels. Authors Marcia Braundy and Patricia Schom-Moffat, Linda Mcdonald and Wendy Burton all look at the availability of education and its effect on employment equity.
Cecilia Reynolds looks at how female instructors and principals provide not only role models but also an experience and analysis base which has been sorely lacking. That lack has contributed to a culture where we now must legislate the inclusion of a majority of our workforce. Simmy Hyman, Cynthia Creelman Hill and Ravida Din look at the legislation and the progress that has so far been made.
Together with legislation, certain policies, programs and initiatives have been set in motion that we hope will support the designated group members in their bid for equality in employment. We have tried to describe some of those activities here, specifically in the article by Chandra Russell and in the workshop report on "reasonable accommodation." Along with the occupational integration employment equity demands, the economic revaluing of jobs traditionally held by women is also required. Louise Boivin and Lesley Lee discuss the situation in Quebec, and point out that pay equity and employment equity are not replacements for each other but necessary complements.
The subject area addressed by this special issue is extremely complex and has emerged out of issues identified over at least the past 20 years. Clearly, this is only a first pass at covering some of them. With the advent of the legislation and the contract compliance program, we have another focus for our discussions. It is important to note that the Employment Act comes up for review in 1991 and public and private consultations will be taking place over the next year and a half. Those consultations will be our opportunity to address the deficiencies from the perspective of educators, designated group members, and responsible employers. It is our hope this issue will facilitate the preparation.
Marcia Braundy is Guest Editor of this issue of Women's Education des femmes