Friday, August 06, 2010

Racialized Communities Ask Provincial Premiers to Help to Stop the Attack on Federal Employment Equity Program

An important media release that entered my inbox just now:



For Immediate Release

August 5, 2010

Racialized Communities Ask Provincial Premiers to Help Stop the Attack on Federal Employment Equity Program


As Premiers and Territorial Leaders gather in Manitoba, the Colour of Poverty Campaign (COPC) today releases an Open Letter to Stephen Harper, asking the Prime Minister to call off the attack on the Federal Employment Equity Program by members of his cabinet. The Open Letter has been endorsed by over 100 community groups, labour organizations, businesses and individuals across Canada who believe all Canadians should enjoy equal opportunity to employment without discrimination.

The Open Letter is a response to comments by Ministers Stockwell Day and Jason Kenney who have both suggested that the Federal Employment Equity program bars qualified Canadians from job opportunities in the federal public service and that unqualified candidates may have gotten hired because of their race.

"Both Ministers Day and Kenney are out of touch with the realities that many Canadians face when they are trying to find jobs" said Avvy Go, Steering Committee member of COPC, and Clinic Director of Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic. "By releasing the letter today, we want the provincial leaders to adopt Employment Equity legislation in their province, while reminding the Prime Minister about the importance of the Federal Employment Equity Program," added Go.

By 2017, one in five Canadians will be a "visible minority", with the majority of recent immigrants coming from Asia, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Yet the 2006 Census shows that most recent immigrants experienced higher unemployment rates and lower employment rates then their Canadian-born counterparts.
"As organizations working with immigrants and racialized communities, our members only know too well the challenges confronting racialized communities today," said Debbie Douglas, Executive Director of Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants and a Steering Committee member of COPC. "Rather than attacking a program that has proven to help alleviate workplace discrimination, the Federal Government should be tackling such urgent issues facing racialized communities as growing economic racial inequities and racial profiling," added Douglas.

"Members of racialized communities are not the only ones who benefit from the Federal Employment Equity Program, women and people with disabilities are the targeted beneficiaries also. This is particularly surprising for Minister Kenney with all his perceived gain in Canada's ethno-cultural communities to squander it all by making such a reckless comment that directly targets racialized communities," said Uzma Shakir, Steering Committee of COPC and an Atkinson Justice Fellow.

"Advancing employment equity is necessary to ensure that people with disabilities have equal employment opportunities. Fair access to jobs ensures a diverse workplace with diverse ideas. We need our Government to champion employment equity not only because it is the right thing to do but it also makes good business sense," said Rabia Khedr, member of Ethno-Racial People with Disabilities Coalition of Ontario and consultant under diversityworX.

"The attack on the Federal Employment Equity Program came at the heel of the Government's decision to cancel the Long Form Census," commented Duberlis Ramos, Executive Director of the Hispanic Development Council. "In effect, not only is the Government scrapping the one program that keeps track of the changing demographics and the issues that ensue, it is also attacking the only program that helps keep federally regulated workplaces in pace with the changing demographics," added Ramos.

Members of the Steering Committee of COPC and other endorsers of the Open Letter are calling on the Prime Minister to re-affirm the Canadian Government's commitment to equity and diversity by strengthening employment equity measures, and by educating all Canadians about the need for such programs. COPC is also asking for a meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss its concerns.

For more information, please contact:

Avvy Go, Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic at (416) 971-9674

Amy Casipullai, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants at (416) 322-4950 ext. 239 or (416) 524-4950

Rabia Khedr, Ethno-Racial People with Disabilities Coalition of Ontario at (905) 270-9679

1 comment:

Scott said...

[Test comment #2.]