Inequitable 54 were employed in a full time job.

 Inequitable treatment to individuals of various groups such as women and visible minorities has been unmistakeable throughout history.  The discrimination and the harsh treatment towards these individuals has often caused them to be held back and result in disadvantages in basic aspects such as career opportunities, employment and education. Due to this, laws and acts are constructed to help improve representation and opportunities for those who tend to suffer from prejudice and inequity. This is known as affirmative action. Canada reinforced the idea of affirmative action through passing the Employment Equity Act in 1986. The Act’s purpose is to “achieve equality in the workplace so that no person shall be denied employment opportunities or benefits for reasons unrelated to ability” as well as to ensure that equity means more than treating disadvantaged minority groups the same; but rather with special accommodations and actions. Canada’s current model of affirmative action in employment is effective in promoting diversity, but is in urgent need of expansion into equal career opportunities such as wages and in education, as these aspects are lacking successful affirmative action policies and acts.        Prior to the passing of the Employment Equity Act, groups such as women were heavily underrepresented in employment, as they did not receive the same treatment as men and were not regarded as equals. In 1976, only 35.2 percent of women aged 24 to 54 were employed in a full time job, compared to 76.2 of men aged 24 to 54. Once the Employment Equity Act was passed, the percentage of women aged 24 to 54 employed in a full time job increased to 49.7 percent in 1989. This percentage has steadily increased over time and in 2014, 58.7 percent of women aged 24 to 54 were employed in a full time job. Over time, progress was being made towards a fully diverse workforce. In 2015, the representation in federally regulated sectors of groups such as persons with disabilities, aboriginals and visible minorities had reached a record high since the implementation of the Employment Equity Act. Representation of visible minorities was able to exceed their labour market availability. Though statistics clearly indicate the upward trend in representation of disadvantaged groups as a result of the Act, there is a notion that employment equity is time consuming as a result of employers expending more time in reviews and decision-making. However, employers are obligated to “identify and eliminate employment barriers against persons in designated groups that result from the employer’s employment systems, policies and practices that are not authorized by law”. This  generates a much larger pool of candidates to choose from; thus, increasing the probability of hiring a candidate with the right skills and qualifications. Although the passing of the Employment Equity Act has greatly benefited disadvantaged groups in seeking employment, the government has not aided them in the same manner when dealing with career opportunities.     The Canadian Human Rights Act states in Section 11 that it is illegal for employers to “establish or maintain differences in wages between male and female employees employed in the same establishment who are performing work of equal value”. Unfortunately, this right is often violated and extends beyond women to visible minorities as well. This is due to a lack of a strong model of affirmative action, such as the Employment Equity Act to prevent the under-valuation of disadvantaged groups. The only attempt by the federal government in ensuring groups that tend to suffer discrimination in pay wages is the Pay Equity program which employers are not required to implement. Furthermore, governments do not enforce the program with any monetary penalties as opposed to the Employment Equity Act, which fines employers up to 50,000 dollars for repeated penalties. As a consequence of lackluster programs and the absence of regulations, minorities and women have suffered in equal pay. University educated visible minorities have earned on average only 87.4 cents per every dollar earned by their Caucasian counterparts. Women earned just 87 cents to men’s one dollar in 2015, and is ranked seventh as most unequal pay out of 34 industrialized countries. . Furthermore, women are less likely to receive a promotions; a result of absences due to child care or pregnancies even though the Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits the refusal to promote due to pregnancy. Many argue that the current measures taken the Canadian government to ameliorate the wage gap of minorities is effective, and the wage gap is simply the result of the allocation of women and men across occupations. However, it does not account for the fact that women with a university degree higher than a bachelor’s earns only 90 cent to one dollar earned by men. Ultimately, the lack of an effective affirmative action model in career opportunities through acts or stricter policies has caused Canada’s minorities and women to indefinitely struggle to close the wage gap even without the lack of educational attainment.            Universities in Canada have lacked consistent affirmative action policies or acts due to the inconsistent stance the federal government has taken on the application of Section 15(2) of the Canadian Charter to public universities. Functioning as a constitutional guarantee of affirmative action programs, it ensures they cannot claimed as a form of “reverse discrimination” as its sole purpose is to ameliorate the conditions of disadvantaged groups. However, Canadian public universities are perceived as not to be governed by the charter as they are independent from the government. Due to this, affirmative action policies vary across universities, which can renders many rules and policies obscure and unenforced. The University of Saskatchewan’s admission policy perceives aboriginal ancestry as a “positive factor”. However, the amount of weight of this factor holds during admission reviews is not mentioned. University of Toronto’s faculty of law states that they account for other “factors” rather than just grades and LSAT scores for aboriginal applicants. Similarly to University of Saskatchewan, there are no specification on what factors are taken into account. Many have argued that there are other means of ensuring underrepresented groups such as aboriginals have a place in universities without the need of affirmative action. University of Berkeley had previously attempted a “colorblind” process of admission and had placed a greater priority on socioeconomic factors. The result was African American enrollment, the most disadvantaged and underrepresented group, had fell by approximately 60%. Without a policy or act that regulates and oversees university admissions, aboriginals will remain behind other groups in education, as they are the most likely to have a trade as opposed to a university degree.     In conclusion, affirmative action when regulated and enforced by federal government is effective in aiding disadvantaged groups as demonstrated by the Employment Equity Act. These acts and policies must be seen as a robust model for implementing an efficient and effective measure to assist those who are underrepresented in aspects such as education and equal career opportunities. By improving the quality of life for those who have historically experienced discrimination and oppression, Canada moves one step closer to a truly equal and diverse country.