Introduction: The review process
Human Resources Development Canada completed this review in March 1999. The review was based on: i) the University's Contractor's Equity Achievement Report, filed with Labour and Workplace Equity Programs in April 1998, ii) additional material subsequently submitted by the University regarding accessibility of University facilities, and iii) information gathered by HRDC personnel during their visit to the University of Manitoba in September 1998.
The University of Manitoba joined the Federal Contractors Program in 1987 and has since completed two compliance reviews, in 1990 and in 1993.
Found in compliance
Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) has found that the University of Manitoba continues to meet the requirements of the Federal Contractors Program for implementing employment equity. This is the third successful federal government review of the University's employment equity program.
In its assessment, HRDC recognized not only the University's efforts to meet its employment equity goals but also its progress toward achieving employment equity during a time when the University faced a harsh economic climate, one that led to a decrease of 8.5% of full-time employees since 1993.
In its review HRDC commented specially on several University initiatives as successful approaches to overcome systemic barriers. These included the on-going program of reviews of employment policies and practices by individual faculties (and subsequently, its administrative units) within the University; its enhanced training program, which includes training for managers and supervisors, training in recruitment and interviewing skills, and training in conducting employment systems reviews. A particularly significant component is the new program developed by the Diversity Education Coordinator to increase awareness of diversity and equity issues, and at achieving change.
HRDC also made special comment on the specific recruitment of members of under-represented groups through the Employment Equity Incentive Fund and of the provision of special services for under-represented groups, for example, for Aboriginal students in non-traditional environments. It singled out the Aboriginal Student Centre as a means for enhancing the University's efforts to recruit and retain more Aboriginal students and as a resource for academic and support staff in Aboriginal values, traditions and cultures. It also made note of the University's other programs promoting inclusivity, including those recognizing non-traditional careers, encouraging supportive work and learning environments and those involving partnerships with the external community.
Further progress needed
Nevertheless HRDC noted that the University has not achieved a representative workforce. While it accepts the University's provisional staffing goals, HRDC has identified the need for the University to institute a program of special measures in order to achieve progress at recruiting Aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities. HRDC advised the University that, during its next review, it will be paying specific attention to the special measures that the University has implemented for designated group members as well as any reasonable accommodations it has made, especially those to recruit and retain persons with disabilities.
HRDC also advised the University that it will require, as evidence of the University's on-going efforts, statistical reports on its work force, including hiring, promotion, and departures of employees. In addition, it will require a plan of action with numerical staffing goals, based on the individual faculty and administrative unit reviews of employment systems as well as on the newly released labour force statistics from the 1996 census, and a summary of the University's equity related activities. The statistical requirements means the University will have to make significant changes to the University=s current employee records system and will require the implementation of a Human Resource Information System to monitor hiring, promotion, departures, career advancement, salaries and training benefits. It also means that the University must implement the new federal job coding system since Statistics Canada provides current labour force data using only the new occupational codes (National Occupational Codes).
These requirements, including increased efforts to recruit and retain employees who are members of under-represented groups, are already included in the employment equity plan submitted as part of the University's report to HRDC.
Program monitoring and adjustments
The report describes the University's employment equity program for the next four years, identifying 20 commitments for action under five objectives: elimination of systemic barriers, achievement of a representative workforce, special measures and reasonable accommodation, establishment of a favourable climate, and program monitoring and adjustments. The University has prepared new staffing goals which it will revise, as appropriate, on the basis of updated information on availability of qualified workers in the Canadian labour force and University staffing needs.
Priorities for the Employment Equity Program are reported in the current Contractor's Achievement Report. Commitments for 1998 - 99 for the EEO include:
Continuing with employment systems reviews by faculties.
Developing specific proactive strategies to improve the hiring, retention and career advancement of designated groups, with particular emphasis on:
- collaborating with current academic and support staff who are members of designated groups as well as external agencies supporting employment of designated groups,
- soliciting information on working conditions (including Aclimate@) from current and former academic and support staff who are members of designated groups,
- evaluating successful strategies used by other employers as potential models for this University, and
- enhancing training in and awareness of equity and diversity issues in employment of designated groups.
Reviewing policies and procedures of recruitment of academic and support staff, including enhancing or expanding information sessions and providing guidelines and other supporting materials.
Continuing a focus on achieving a representative workforce by maintaining an up to date database on representation of women and minority groups at all levels of the University workforce, assisting faculties carrying out reviews of their employment systems in reviewing the representation of their workforces and reviewing or developing staffing goals consistent with employment equity objectives.
This includes reviewing the success of faculties and schools in recruiting Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and visible minorities and developing faculty-based strategies to increase both recruitment and retention of designated group academic and support staff.
It also includes converting the coding of University positions from a now out-of-date federal system to the new National Occupational Codes now used by Statistics Canada.
On a trial basis, expanding applicant tracking to support staff positions.
Revising and enhancing brochures and other informational materials on employment equity and related issues.
The University remains committed to the achievement of equity in employment. It faces some significant challenges in achieving this goal, one of which is the economic environment. Nevertheless the University has made significant progress particularly in the recruitment of women, in elimination of systemic barriers, and in the development of special measures and reasonable accommodation.
The University has reviewed and updated the plan by which it can meet its employment equity goals. It will continue to work toward these goals, updating them as required by changes the University will undergo as it strives to achieve its vision of becoming one of Canada's outstanding universities.
The University has met some of its goals in recruitment, particularly in the recruitment of women. The representation of women and Aboriginal peoples has increased despite reductions in both numbers of employees and hiring opportunities. The representation of persons with disabilities and visible minorities has decreased. The University has prepared new staffing goals which it will revise, as appropriate, on the basis of updated information on availability of qualified workers in the Canadian labour force and University staffing needs.
The University will review its recruitment practices and working conditions to identify ways in which it can enhance the recruitment and retention of groups under-represented in its workforce and will continue to develop qualitative measures, particularly in education and awareness, to meet its equity objectives.
Copies of the full report have been sent to deans and directors of faculties, schools and administrative units; bargaining associations and the President's Advisory Committee on Women. Copies are also available at the Dafoe Library and the Neil John Maclean Health Sciences Library