Global diversity news briefs – May 2011
The Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) has undertaken a pilot information and referral service that connects employers to organizations with skilled immigrant talent. The Immigrant Talent Employer Helpline helps employers assess their business and workforce needs and create an inclusive workplace, offers a streamlined overview of relevant organizations, programs and resources, and provides referrals and specific contact information. The service is funded by the provincial government and free to employers in the GTA.
Aboriginal self-employment is on the rise, according to the first comprehensive study of aboriginal businesses in a decade. The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and Environics Research Group surveyed more than 1,000 Aboriginal business owners and entrepreneurs in order to capture significant findings on the characteristics, behaviours and unique experiences of Aboriginal businesses. To read the entire report, click here.
A roundtable organized by Ernst & Young has determined that Québec businesses are in serious need of qualified workers and “will have no choice but to turn to immigration” for their long-term labour requirements. The Ministry of Immigration and Cultural Communities forecasts that by 2018 the Québec labour market will need over 1.3 million people to fill the gap left by retirement or by new positions created by economic growth. “The government’s role is crucial, not only in facilitating the integration of immigrants, but particularly in allowing foreign workers and students to remain in the province and work,” said Philippe Rousseau, a lawyer with Egan LLP. Currently temporary workers employed in organizations are often required to leave due to work permit expiry.
A former City of Toronto employee is suing for discrimination because the City failed to investigate the harassment he suffered due to his disability. George Berger alleges the conduct of his boss, Councillor Frances Nunziata, was “clearly rude and demeaning.” The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal did not find evidence that Nunziata’s behaviour was connected to Berger’s disability but ruled that the City failed to accommodate his disability and to take his concerns seriously. Berger is seeking $140,000 from the City for other wages, plus $30,000 compensation for violating his rights.
An immigration consultant regulatory body that the federal government is proposing to replace is taking legal action. The government wants to replace the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) with a new organization that has no experience in consumer protection and will require more than 3.6 million taxpayer dollars to get off the ground. CSIC Chair Nigel Thomson said the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) “has no plans and no ability to resolve the 99 outstanding complaints and 155 open investigations that CSIC is currently seized with,” adding that “the process followed by the Federal government is biased, unreasonable and unfair.” Established in 2004 CSIC currently has 1,900 fully accredited members located throughout Canada and the world.
The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum-Forum canadien sur l’apprentissage (CAF-FCA) is organizing a series of 12 interactive workshops to promote essential skills and apprenticeship training for Aboriginals to help them prepare for and be successful in the workplace. The workshops also provide employment counsellors with the tools they need to put aboriginal candidates on the road to success. CAF-FCA has engaged a variety of partners across Canada to undertake the workshops. For more information, www.caf-fac.org.
A report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Wellesley Institute shows that visible minorities earn 81.4 cents for every dollar made by their white counterparts. They also have a higher unemployment rate at 8.6% compared to 6.2% for white Canadians. The figures, based on data in the 2006 Census, also revealed that while visible minorities made up 16.2% of the population, they filled just 8.1% of public administration jobs.
A study by the executive search firm Rosenzweig & Co. proves even though the percentage of females in CEO positions has risen by 6.9 in the past year, women still hold just 4 of the chief executive positions at Canada’s 100 largest public companies. One woman, Nancy Southern, heads both the ATCO Group and Canadian Utilities Ltd., while Kathy Bardswick of the Co-operators Group Ltd. and Sophie Brochu of Gaz Metro Ltd. Partnership hold the other 2 positions. Statistics Canada figures show that women account for more than half the population and about 47% of the workforce.
Germany’s leading industrial companies have pledged to recruit and promote more women, especially in top management jobs. The 30 companies promised to set company-specific goals to promote more female managers and aim to increase female representation on their management boards by 30% by 2013. Those who fail to meet that goal will face unspecified sanctions.
The Women in Leadership Census, released by the Businesswomen’s Association (BWA), has spurred the organization to demand gender diversity be a mandatory requirement for any company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). “We have conducted the census for the last eight years in an attempt to demonstrate the blatant lack of women’s advancement in corporate South Africa,” Kunyalala Maphisa, BWA president said. “As a result, the BWA is proposing that effective measures be put into place that will give deserving women the opportunity to take up senior management positions and thereby contribute to the country’s economic development.” The census of 339 companies revealed that women continue to be under-represented at senior levels.
An electrician in West Yorkshire faces a disciplinary hearing for displaying an 8-inch cross made of woven palm leaves on the dashboard of his company van. Colin Atkinson’s bosses at Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) have asked him to remove it, citing it may be offensive or suggest the firm is a Christian organization. WDH says the staff can wear symbols but must not put them in its vehicles. Atkinson refuses the remove the cross because he has never received a single complaint over the 15 years he’s worked for the company. “If they sack me, so be it,” he said. “But I am standing up for my faith.”
According to a recent survey by XpertHR, 89% of employers have a dress code policy in place that does not discriminate against workers on the grounds of religion or belief while 57% ensure that there is no reference in their policies to banning items that could have a religious association. In order to avoid religious discrimination, the findings showed that many employers opt for a flexible approach to dress codes or have consulted with legal experts. 269 dress codes were included in the research.
More than 200 students at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Ohio protested a lack of diversity at the university by wearing black tape with the words ‘Take Action’ over their mouths. The students were concerned that possible budget cuts would affect an already declining minority faculty and staff. Chalise Morris, leader of the event and president of the Black Student Union, said they wanted the university to partner with them in “implementing a diversity plan.”
For the third consecutive year the percentage of African-American, Asian, Latino, and Native American journalists has declined in U.S. newsrooms. According to the most recent census conducted by the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) minority journalists declined from 5,500 to 5,300. “The slight decline in minority newsroom representation may be small, but is part of a disturbing trend that we need to reverse,” said Karen Magnuson, co-chair of ASNE’s Diversity Committee: “Accurately reflecting the diversity of our communities in our newsrooms and local reports is essential to our industry’s success—now more than ever. As minority populations grow, we must grow with them, finding innovative ways to meet evolving needs for coverage and information delivery.”
The Financial News sampled 20 investment banks and corporate and investment banking divisions and found just 17 women among the 200 most senior bankers on executive committees or an equivalent level. In other words, less than 8% or less than one woman at each bank. For the complete research, click here.
New data from the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (IILP) suggests that there is still a long way to go to make the legal profession diverse and inclusive. While a business case for diversity has been in place for more than 20 years, “diverse lawyers are disappointed with progress and law firms are finding that their diversity efforts are not a clear priority when dealing with corporate clients,” says Marc S. Firestone, chair of IILP. The study, which was the first of its kind to provide actual, rather than anecdotal, data about the impact and effectiveness of diversity and inclusion, included 52 Fortune 500 corporate law departments, 391 law firms and 1,032 diverse lawyers. For more details, www.theiilp.com.
For the 9th time, Trillium Asset Management Corp, which holds 2,000 Home Depot shares, is asking the home improvement retailer to prepare a diversity report which would identify employees according to gender and increase minority participation in management. Home Depot opposes the idea, claiming it already has a variety of diversity initiatives in place, including an Inclusion Council, a hotline to promote workplace conduct and ethics, and a management team focused on inclusion. Trillium pointed out that the company has paid out more than $100 million to settle discrimination lawsuits in the last 14 years and will continue to ask Home Depot to release its data.