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Anti-Racism and Anti-Discrimination A Survey of Employers and Unions in the Montréal Area Hélène Cardu, Ph.D., Université Laval Annick Lenoir, Ph.D., Université

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Presentation on theme: "Anti-Racism and Anti-Discrimination A Survey of Employers and Unions in the Montréal Area Hélène Cardu, Ph.D., Université Laval Annick Lenoir, Ph.D., Université"— Presentation transcript:

1 Anti-Racism and Anti-Discrimination A Survey of Employers and Unions in the Montréal Area Hélène Cardu, Ph.D., Université Laval Annick Lenoir, Ph.D., Université de Sherbrooke Ottawa, September 29, 2009

2 Background Quebecs Centre de recherche-action sur les relations raciales (CARR) reports unemployment rates in Montréal of 29% for North Africans and 17% for Blacks, compared with an average rate of 8% among native white Quebecers extraction (Lynhiavu, 2009). A strategic direction paper for a government policy to foster job integration for immigrants to Quebec indicates that the unemployment rate among visible minorities in 2006 was 13%, compared with 7% for the population in general.

3 There are, however, significant disparities among the various groups comprising visible minorities. Among Filipinos, the employment rate is 75%, while for Blacks it is 68% and for Arabs, 66%. Women members of visible minorities have an unemployment rate of 14%, compared with 7% for all Quebec women. Members of visible minorities, both women and men, generally have a higher level of education that the Quebec population overall (26% compared with 17%) (Government of Quebec, 2008).

4 Employment discrimination is an attitude whereby a potential employer, in its hiring practices or preparations, expresses to an applicant or to a third-party mediator an explicit or implicit desire to select a certain cultural or supposed background or phenotypic features (colour), which may be reinforced by the area of settlement, possibly by making insinuations in writing or orally using everyday words or codes, and automatically rejects applications that do not have those features. (Barthelémé, 1997)

5 Definition of discrimination, Marie-Thérèse Chicha-Pontbriand (1989) Structural: Includes interactions between the rules for accessing jobs, job and staff management practices and the decisions made by the primary social stakeholders in Quebec in the public and private sectors Progressive: Focuses on the harmful effects of discrimination in employment Discrimination, whether systemic or elevated to the status of a system, is a situation of cumulative and dynamic inequity stemming from the interaction of individual or institutional practices, decisions or behaviours that have harmful effects, whether intended or not, on the members of groups referred to in section 10 of Quebecs Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

6 In March 2009, Canadian Senator Donald H. Oliver gave a speech on the role of cultural diversity in the federal public service to the Toronto branch of the National Council of Visible Minorities. Senator Oliver mentioned Canadian statistics on racial discrimination. In 2006–07, the federal Public Service Commission indicated that it had observed a decline in the recruitment rate of visible minorities: the rate dropped from 9.8% to 8.7% in a single year, despite the fact that their share of job applications was twice that of their availability rates in the labour market. (Oliver, 2009).

7 Of the socioeconomic determinants of health among Quebec residents, access to stable employment income that makes it possible to choose a place to live and make plans that meet individual needs and aspirations is one social integration factor. Aside from income, employment is a social integration factor by virtue of the status it confers and the collective networks to which it gives access. However, working conditions that are deleterious or harmful to physical and psychological health cancel out the protective and socially integrating effects of employment. Think of the ghettos formed by insecure and under-paid jobs that contribute to socio-economic exclusion. (De Koninck, Pampalon et al., 2008).

8 According to the proceedings of Université Lavals 61st industrial relations conference in 2006, integration of groups that experience job-related discrimination in Quebec continues to be a problem decades after the enactment of the Canadian and Quebec charters of rights and freedoms (in 1985 and 1976, respectively). Just over 10 years after the coming into force of Quebec legislation such as the Pay Equity Act (1997) and the Act respecting equal access to employment in public bodies (2001), though the thinking and practices related to the structure of work pay lip service to diversity management, representation among groups experiencing discrimination continues to be an issue, because representation is not yet effective or statistically meaningful in the Quebec business world.

9 Hurdles Encountered by Visible Minorities and Immigrants The following hurdles were identified and categorized by Ledoyen (2003): Functional hurdles Language (lack of knowledge of French or English) Recognition of skills and experience Political hurdles Relational hurdles Cultural hurdles Systemic hurdles Discrimination and racism

10 The Victims Viewpoint Six factors are associated with experiencing discrimination: Born outside Canada Physical differences (e.g. skin colour) Different accent Sound of surname Different religion No Quebec ancestors (Drudi, 2003)

11 Research Among Businesses and Unions in Montréal

12 The focus of the study was members of visible minorities (natives and non-natives of Canada): Some were culturally Canadian. Others were in the process of participating in the host societys culture. Ten Montréal companies subject to the Employment Equity Act and unions were interviewed in January 2006. Most of the respondents (80%) had no specific training, but had taken training courses on diversity management and the Employment Equity Act and its consequences.

13 Organizational Cultures In the areas of finance, transportation and media Heterogeneousness Innovation Speed, vitality Change and adaptation Clear, specific policies Performance-based

14 Some Descriptions We have 23 different nationalities working here. Our client base is diverse, and our work force is diverse and skilled in a variety of trades. This work environment is open to all types of diversity, including religious diversity. Value added, diverse viewpoints and interactions.

15 Labour Force Inter-group relations (work teams) Take advantage of the innovation stemming from varying viewpoints of employees with differing backgrounds. Ways of doing things change as well, and potential markets become exponential. Employees can report to managers in different parts of the world (significant variability in international or regional dimensions). Visible minorities are making progress, people from cultural communities as wellits like a kind of United Nations now.

16 Specific Integration Strategies and Reflection on Organizational Structures Training, information and awareness of human rights and the Act were the tools mentioned. Establishment of committees to foster hiring; adapted self-identification questionnaire. Intranet awareness initiative. Succession program (quicker, targeted training tailored to skills, making it possible to enhance career development); criteria: member of one of the four designated groups Strategies specifically linked to career advancement for members of visible minorities within the company (e.g. planned management, mentoring, training, recruitment networking) However: over-qualification noted

17 Challenges Because members of visible minorities are rarer in the regions, recruitment is more difficult (regional subsidiaries). The culture of the business must reflect the regional culture (media), which creates additional difficulties in the recruitment process (accent). Being located in a specific neighbourhood (e.g. Ville Saint-Laurent, Côte des Neiges) has an impact on the pool of potential labour that can be recruited. Challenge: to recruit the most qualified. Hurdles For some employers, knowing where to recruit; in what kind of newspaper, through what type of organizations. Administrative hurdles (reporting) Communicating directives Government pressure (Its not that we dont want to do it, but they dont apply… (such and such a group)

18 Selection Recruitment through community groups Recruitment through referral systems Recruitment through bonuses to employees (also fosters performance and commitment) Recruitment through Web sites (Job boom, etc.) The respondents stated that they generally recognized credentials, but almost all of them mentioned the importance of experience alone (whether in Canada, in Quebec or elsewhere) to access various positions in their organization.

19 Type of Structures to Develop Reception and integration Foreign recruitment Job placements Recruitment through local employment or community organizations dedicated to integration of immigrants. Customized work procedures for recruitment to target staff in the four designated groups with equivalent skills.

20 Support For most respondents, integration of staff who are members of visible minorities occurs in exactly the same way as for employees from the majority group. There is no specific support model. It is a one-size-fits-all approach. When companies set up employee management and workplace health and wellness programs, their goal is to reach everyone (e.g. harassment policy). Some intercultural training may be offered and delivered to staff on a sporadic basis in order to raise intercultural awareness (10% to 20%).

21 HRM Changes After Visible Minorities Are Hired Diversity and openness A great deal of interaction, wealth of experience (committees) Accommodation of religious holidays mentioned by nearly all respondents Encouragement and training on conflict prevention Training on selection and intercultural relations for managers, in partnership with universities Awareness raising among staff

22 Relational Irritants Unions report complaints: Racially motivated conflicts should be targeted, and intervention should occur much earlier to prevent situations from escalating. People who speak different languages can speak to one another in their own mother tongue in small groups in the organization during work, and it is usually seen as normal by people who describe this aspect of the work atmosphere. Communication is harmonious. No relational irritants were identified. Rather, integration of members of visible minorities seems to be seen as adding value; however, the unions also reported numerous well-founded complaints.

23 Various Measures 1.Diversity task force, committees made up of people from different countries (unions) 2.Annual employee surveys 3. Policies on work-life balance 4. Development of a workplace equity and diversity model, with successful measures to deal with leadership, protection of rights, accountability, support for professional development and promotion of women, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal people and members of visible minorities. Representation in the organization (at various hierarchical levels). 5.Selecting without discrimination has the effect of training people about hiring (more people are members of visible minorities at all levels). Adjustment to religious practices from HRM viewpoint.

24 Underlying actions Reinforce actions after hiring to allow employees to realize their potential Recognize and stress the impact of cultural differences within work groups Recognize the need for change in organizational culture Value cultural diversity using economic arguments See cultural diversity as an opportunity rather than a potential problem Try to enrich knowledge of cultural diversity and identify its impact on organizational performance

25 Organizations that have achieved their employment equity goals identify certain factors that helped them get there, including the following: Employment equity legislation and requirements Changing corporate culture Diversity profitability analysis Investment in monitoring tools (including exchanges among stakeholders) Creation of inter-organizational networks to foster entry of designated group into the work force

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