Posted on Wednesday October 05, 2011
By Jasminee Sahoye
The local chapter of an organisation that represents Africans around the world wants to see a better and more comprehensive employment equity legislation in Ontario.
The Network for Pan-Afrikan Solidarity (Toronto) is calling on the three major political parties to support a comprehensive employment equity legislation so as to create a level employment playing field for racialized workers.
It says racialized workers are not experiencing the glass ceiling. “We are faced with the concrete ceiling or steel door.”
The organization says there are no anti-racist planks in the individual electoral platform of Ontario’s three major political parties and it wants to communicate its strong objection to what it describes as “the race-baiting of Tim Hudak on the question of racist employment barriers” and initiatives to address this matter.
“Our organization has been following the responses to Progressive Conservative party leader Tim Hudak’s comment about “foreign workers” being given privileged access to job opportunities. Was he implicitly appealing to white voters who have Ontario or Canada as their place of birth? The various criticisms of Hudak’s statement have largely failed in addressing the real issue about race and access to jobs in the province.”
The organization says instead of calling for an apology or a retraction of the racially offensive statement from Hudak, critics ought to be calling for the inclusion of a comprehensive employment equity legislation plank in the respective platforms of the three major parties. “Racialized workers are confronted by discriminatory employment barriers in the workplaces across the province of Ontario and the rest of Canada. In the absence of employment equity legislation with targets and enforceable accountability measures, it will be decades before these workers are fairly represented across the job classifications system in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors in Ontario. “
The organization added that the federal government with an employment equity legislation covering the national civil service has failed in equitably hiring and promoting racialized workers.
“In 2010, racialized workers had a national workforce availability (WFA) figure of 12.4 per cent, but only 9.8 per cent of them were employees of the national government. It was very instructive that of the four employment equity designated groups (women, racialized workers, people with disabilities and Aboriginals),racialized workers were the only underrepresented group. The other groups were overrepresented as federal employees based on their respective WFA figures,” the Network of Pan Afrikan Solidarity said.