Equal Opportunities Committee

Minutes of the Equal Opportunities (EO) Committee

June 2, 2002

In attendance:

Linda Cassidy (chairperson)
Terry Dupuis
Darlene Bembridge
Michel Cimon
Gerard Ennis
Lan Cheu Lee
Chantale Thériault
Lina Ruel


Ken Long

Previous minutes - March 2-3, 2002

The minutes were approved as presented. All follow up items noted in the minutes have been actioned.

Briefing with CCRA Employment Equity Director

A briefing meeting scheduled for June 3rd had to be re-scheduled for May 24th. Following input from the members of the committee, Lina met with the CCRA Director of Employment Equity to discuss Employment Equity issues and share some of our concerns. Some of the main issues discussed were the Canadian Human Rights Commission Audit of CCRA Employment Equity Program, Employment Systems Review of CCRA policies and directives and the workshop on Duty to Accommodate. A copy of the report of the May 24th meeting is attached.

Regional Employment Equity Reports

The committee will review the regional reports for 2001-2002. Once copies are received in the national office from all the regions, they will be forwarded electronically to the committee members. Linda will send a reminder to the regional vice-presidents.

Conference of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA)

The members of the committee who attended a conference entitled “Human Rights at Work” on May 26-28 shared some of the information and their experience. Participants at the conference attended workshops on topics such as:

  • Women at Work: The Glass Ceiling Revisited
  • Mediating Human Rights Disputes
  • Developments in Human Rights Law
  • Drug & Alcohol Testing / Privacy Issues
  • Cost of Accommodation – The Employer’s Perspective
  • Same-Sex Partners – Employee Benefits
  • Accommodating Persons with Disabilities
  • Age Discrimination

Participants from UTE were the only representatives from the PSAC. Linda will bring this matter at the next PSAC Equal Opportunities Committee meeting.

The next CASHRA conference will be held in Winnipeg and the theme will be “Meeting at the Forks”. It will focus primarily on the human rights issues facing Aboriginal people living whether on or off reserves.

PSAC National Women’s Conference

PSAC is holding their conference in Ottawa on September 12-15, 2002. This is the same week end as UTE Presidents’ conference. The conference budget was established based on 250 delegates. UTE is entitled to five (5) delegates. A memo was sent out to all the locals encouraging their members to try to obtain delegate status from the region or from their Regional Women Committee.

UTE will not be subsidizing any additional delegates as our budget line item for non-UTE event has no fund left.

CLC Triennial National Aboriginal / Workers of Colour Conference

CLC is holding their conference from November 28th to December 1st 2002 in Toronto. Members representing these groups on our committee are entitled to attend one conference per year. They will inform the chairperson as to whether they want to attend the CLC conference or the PSAC Unity Conference in October.

Agenda Items Referred to our Committee

The committee discussed the process of placing items on the agenda for our meetings. Committee members were reminded that the established procedure in UTE is that agenda items can only be referred to the committee by Convention, Executive Council, Executive committee and by the National president. The committee agreed that items submitted by a local or by a member for discussion or information purposes could be added on the agenda under “open items”.

Committee members will send a call out to their networks at least six weeks in advance of any scheduled meeting. This will allow ample time for the item to be placed on the agenda or referred back to the appropriate channels if action is required.

Items referred

The following items were referred to the committee and a follow up will be done with the respective locals to provide guidance or request more information.

  • In the Workforce analysis results reports, some of the numbers are “suppressed”. The “SUPP” is used when the internal workforce of a designated group is between 1 and 9 inclusively. The actual number is suppressed in order to protect the identity of people that self-identify. A request was made for our committee to approach the employer and ask to provide the actual number.
  • Lack of parking close to the building for persons who are temporarily disabled because of an injury.
  • Doors too narrow for wheelchair accessibility
  • Local and regional Employment Equity Plans not being respected. What can members of a local employment equity committee do? What recourses are available?
  • English Language Training for visible minorities members who were screened out due to poor English language skills. If we are to improve the representation of designated groups, some training will have to be provided.
  • Sensitivity training to Client Services staff on the changes in the Income Tax Act concerning the revised definition of “spousal relationship”. Some training was provided in 1999 but maybe training is needed for new employees or a reminder should be given to the regular staff.
  • Gays and lesbians should be on local Employment Equity committees
  • Gays and lesbians should be a “designated group” under the Employment Equity Act

Resolution of records – Equal Opportunities Newsletter

The committee adopted the following resolution:

Whereas, there is a standing resolution of record stating a newsletter is to be issued by the EO committee on a monthly basis; and

Whereas, with the implementation of the UTE Website and the email network list information on EO is available on a regular basis; and

Whereas, the EO committee has not been able to keep this commitment of a monthly newsletter and it has not appeared to have created a concern in the EO community

Be it resolved that the resolution of record from 1987 regarding the EO newsletter be rescinded; and

Be it further resolved that any issues that would previously have been incorporated in this Newsletter be posted as News items under the “EO Committee” on the UTE Website

The resolution will be presented at the Executive Council. If adopted, the 1987 resolution of record will be removed from the “UTE Policies and Procedures Manual”.

Exit Interview Questionnaire (CCRA)

This questionnaire is an Atlantic region initiative. It was developed to identify retention opportunities and to receive ideas on potential workplace improvements. It will also be used for members of employment equity designated groups who resign from a responsibility centre. Feedback will be provided by mail / e-mail, telephone interview, face-to-face interview or whatever the employee prefers.

Our committee agrees that this process should be applied nationally. There is a serious retention problem in the Aboriginal Peoples group. There is a need to provide a supportive work environment.

Using Employment Equity as a Placement Criterion

This draft document is also an Atlantic region initiative. The guideline has been developed to outline the step-by-step process of using Employment Equity as a placement criterion as described in the Staffing directive on Employment Equity in any external or internal selection process. It may help alleviate the misunderstanding amongst managers in the application of the directive.

Treasury Board Policy and Guidelines on the Duty to Accommodate Person with Disabilities in the Federal Public Service

Although the policy does not apply to CCRA employees, it is certainly a better policy than the one being proposed by CCRA. It was noted that the policy makes no reference to “undue hardship” and refers to the Canadian Human Rights Commission as one of the recourse mechanism.

Next meeting

The next meeting will be on September 8 & 9. Travel on the 7th and return on the 10th.