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The HRSDC Anti Racism in the Workplace Initiative Prairie Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Integration/Edmonton Mennonite Centre for.

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Presentation on theme: "The HRSDC Anti Racism in the Workplace Initiative Prairie Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Integration/Edmonton Mennonite Centre for."— Presentation transcript:

1 The HRSDC Anti Racism in the Workplace Initiative Prairie Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Integration/Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers Researchers: Jennifer Foote Candy Khan

2 Acknowledgements We would like to thank HRSDC for the funding that made this project possible. We would also like to thank: Michel Fourzly, HRSDC; Jim Gurnett & Ralph Paufler, EMCN; Dan Hiebert, RIIM Erin Tolley of the Metropolis Project Team, CIC

3 Albertas Unique Situation Albertas booming economy has created huge labour shortages across the province. Every person interviewed stated that the biggest human resource challenge in his/her company was recruitment.

4 Company Interviews: Positives general atmosphere is culturally diverse and accepting of difference equity generally seen as being good for business and the future of the company two companies have committees that deal with diversity and equity issues racist jokes, etc. not tolerated

5 Challenges problems with customer opinions in customer service related positions often few, if any, specific initiatives or policies in place required skills missing (could be bona fide skills or credential recognition problems) lack of knowledge about increasing diversity communication issues with ESL employees racism not recognized as a problem at all

6 Approaches to Diversity belief that skills based hiring solves all problems informal policy racism/racist jokes not tolerated anti-racism training specific, related (e.g. harassment training), ad hoc recruitment often no specific attempt to recruit visible minorities use of existing minority population to bring in new employees (if a large minority community is already in place) two companies used NGOs that deal with immigrants

7 Recommendations Companies should be audited more regularly to ensure they keep diversity a priority. More support is needed for implementing diversity Companies expressed a need for more help from HRSDC in developing strategies to help with diversity.

8 Union interviews: Positives generally passionate about removing barriers for visible minorities One union reported an ongoing dialogue with employer which resulted in several equity-related initiatives. If companies dont support union initiatives they can try to work around the company (e.g. publish their own manual about equity) perception that employers are less reluctant to hire diversity now that the economy is so strong

9 Challenges Racism can be very difficult to prove. There is a lack of recognition on the part of employers that racism exists. Systemic racism is still a major problem. Some people still have a perception that immigrants are stealing jobs. There can be a lack of support for an inclusive work environment. Employers can be resistant to implementing union initiatives related to diversity

10 Consultation Session Positives challenges can be overcome media attention and the federal strategy acknowledge that there is a problem NFB is making films to educate about racism increasingly diverse workplace helps people disprove stereotypes employers identifying needs Concerns lack of knowledge of human rights (employers) difficult to measure subtle racism overall pain and depression of life with racism organizations are willing to hire visible minorities but then keep them hidden

11 What would you look for in your workplace as evidence of racism? racist jokes employer denying problems exist few visible minority workers in front end lack of mentoring age and gender of workers illegitimate criteria/filters patterns of complaint double standards informal network where key decisions are made Informal reliance on key people to make a case for hiring people from a certain group job performance and/or attendance goes down proportional representation (upward mobility and advancement)

12 What challenges do you see given todays labour market? It is easy to become complacent. Companies feel they lack time to address race-related issues. How will companies prepare the existing workforce to embrace a more diversified workforce? Employees tolerate racism because they need work. How can anti-racism become as accepted as other workplace issues (e.g. work life balance, safety, etc.)? Politics

13 What needs to be done to combat racism in the workplace? education: ongoing and preventative top-down initiative effective policies and regulations (enforcement) incentives as well as penalties whistle-blower protection cross-cultural training funding regular auditing for problem employers putting policy violators in the public eye promote the moral reasons for being a good employer mandatory human rights training

14 What can you do in your workplace? Be more flexible: think outside the box. Find tools for self-audit. Conduct a workforce survey. Do little things to boost morale (e.g. holiday greetings). Promote diversity often and positively. Ask yourself if you are doing all you can do.

15 What support can HRSDC provide to you and other employers? tool kits for employers and NGOs working with employers more in-person interaction (hands-on relationship) provide more information (especially in the west) Keep website updated more people in the field

16 Who else needs to be involved? How? employers other than just FCP and LEEP companies non-unionized companies other levels of government licensing and accreditation bodies civil society (racism in the workplace cant stop if there is a larger problem of racism in society) educational institutions (post-secondary, secondary, and elementary community leaders

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