Employment Equity Regulations – Collection of Workforce Information – IPG-111
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Collection of workforce information under the Legislated Employment Equity Program (LEEP).
This guideline clarifies how employers should collect information on their workforce when implementing employment equity, in compliance with:
- the Employment Equity Act (the Act), and
- the Employment Equity Regulations (the Regulations)
It includes guidance and tools for:
- the self-identification questionnaire
- implementing the survey, and
- maintaining the data
LEEP covers federally regulated private-sector employers, including Crown corporations and other federal organizations subject to the Act.
Employers must collect information on their workforce using a self-identification questionnaire and any relevant information contained in any other employment records. Employers must then use this information to determine any underrepresentation of members of designated groups in the workforce analysis.
Employers may only count employees who identify voluntarily as members of:
The information collected is confidential and employers must only use it for implementing employment equity under the Act.
Designated groups are “women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities.”
The Act does not define women. Guidance is available for collecting data on women (see Interpretations).
Aboriginal peoples are “persons who are Indians, Inuit or Métis.” Indigenous peoples’ and ‘First Nations’ are more commonly used than ‘Aboriginal peoples’ and ‘Indians.’
Persons with disabilities
Persons with disabilities are “persons who have a long-term or recurring physical, mental, sensory, psychiatric or learning impairment and who
- consider themselves to be disadvantaged in employment by reason of that impairment, or
- believe that a [sic] employer or potential employer is likely to consider them to be disadvantaged in employment by reason of that impairment,
are persons whose functional limitations owing to their impairment have been accommodated in their current job or workplace.”
Members of visible minorities
Members of visible minorities are “persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.”
Employee means a “person who is employed by the employer, but does not include a person employed on a temporary or casual basis for fewer than 12 weeks in a calendar year.”
Hired means an employee has been “engaged by the employer.”
Promoted means an employee has “permanently moved from one position or job in the employer’s organization to another position or job that
- has a higher salary or higher salary range than the salary or salary range of the position or job previously held by the employee, and
- ranks higher in the organizational hierarchy of the employer.”
Terminated means “retired, resigned, laid off, dismissed or otherwise having ceased to be an employee, but does not include laid off temporarily or absent by reason of illness, injury or a labour dispute.”
The return rate is the number of self-identification questionnaires that employees returned divided by the number of questionnaires that employers sent to employees.
The response rate is the number of self-identification questionnaires that employees fully completed divided by the number of questionnaires that employers sent to employees.
Employment Equity Occupational Groups
There are 14 Employment Equity Occupational Groups (EEOGs):
- Senior Managers
- Middle and Other Managers
- Semi-Professionals and Technicians
- Supervisors: Crafts and Trades
- Administrative and Senior Clerical Personnel
- Skilled Sales and Service Personnel
- Skilled Crafts and Trades Workers
- Clerical Personnel
- Intermediate Sales and Service Personnel
- Semi-Skilled Manual Workers
- Other Sales and Service Personnel
- Other Manual Workers
Employers must conduct a workforce survey. To do so, they must provide each employee with a self-identification questionnaire that asks if the employee is:
- an Aboriginal person
- a person with a disability
- a member of a visible minority
The employer must inform each employee that a person may be a member of one or more designated group(s). This information must be on the questionnaire or in a notice that accompanies the questionnaire.
The questionnaire must also have the following features:
- a means of identifying the employee who returns the questionnaire, by name or otherwise
- the definitions of Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities, as they appear in the Act
- an indication that responding to the questions is voluntary
- an indication that the information collected is confidential
- an indication that the employer will only use the information or disclose it to other persons within the organization to carry out its obligations under the Act
The employer may require that employees return the questionnaire.
The questionnaire may include additional questions relating to employment equity.
The employer must keep the workforce survey results up to date. This requires:
- providing a questionnaire to newly hired employees, as well as to employees who want to complete a new questionnaire
- adjusting results to reflect the new responses and to take into account members of designated groups that the employer terminated
Employers must establish and maintain the following records:
- a copy of the self-identification questionnaire provided to employees
- each employee’s designated group membership, if any
Employers who use the Labour Program self-identification questionnaire template (Employment Equity Task 1) comply with the workforce survey requirements.
Employers can use information obtained from payroll or personnel records to count the employees who are women. However, if such information is not available, the self-identification questionnaire should ask if employees identify as a woman. Note that it is optional for employees to respond to this question.
Employers should keep additional questions relating to employment equity separate from the required self-identification questions. It should be clear that the Act and the Regulations do no require these additional questions.
The questionnaire can also include questions to support diversity and inclusion-based initiatives the organization undertakes. These questions must be separate from the employment equity content. It must be clear that the Act and the Regulations do not require these questions.
The questionnaire should indicate clearly that the employee may change their survey answers at any time.
Names and definitions of designated groups
Employers may provide contextual information on the names and definitions of the designated groups to support self-identification. The self-identification questionnaire template has examples of such contextual information.
Employers should make a concerted effort to achieve and maintain, at minimum, 80% return and response rates.
If the employer undertakes a new workforce survey, they should demonstrate that:
- they have developed and implemented an adequate strategy
- where the return and response rates are too low, they are implementing an adequate follow-up strategy
Employers should demonstrate that there is a process by which they keep the workforce data up to date. This requires:
- determining the internal representation correctly by:
- coding their workforce using the appropriate workforce data codes (Employment Equity Task 2)
- only counting those employees who have worked for a period of 12 weeks or more within a calendar year
- counting women correctly from information contained in employment records or the self-identification questionnaire
- counting only those employees who agreed to self-identify as Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities or members of visible minorities
- providing a questionnaire to employees who want to complete a new questionnaire and to new employees
- updating their database to reflect new data stemming from the above and related to employee hires, promotions and terminations
Further guidance on the collection of workforce information is provided here.
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