Employment equity

The 4 groups designated by the Employment Equity Act are:

Indigenous Peoples

An Indigenous person1 is a North American Indian or a member of a First Nation, Métis or Inuit. North American Indians or members of a First Nation include treaty, status or registered Indians, as well as non-status and non-registered Indians.

All departments and agencies under the Public Service Employment Act are required to follow the Public Service Commission of Canada’s Appointment Policy, including the use of the Affirmation of Indigenous Identity Form when a candidate proposed for appointment has self-declared as an Indigenous person, and when one of the following conditions applies:

Members of visible minorities

A person in a visible minority group is someone (other than an Indigenous person as defined above) who is non-white in colour/race, regardless of place of birth. The visible minority group includes: Black, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, South Asian-East Indian (including Indian from India; Bangladeshi; Pakistani; East Indian from Guyana, Trinidad, East Africa; etc.), Southeast Asian (including Burmese; Cambodian; Laotian; Thai; Vietnamese; etc.) non-white West Asian, North African or Arab (including Egyptian; Libyan; Lebanese; etc.), non-white Latin American (including indigenous persons from Central and South America, etc.), person of mixed origin (with one parent in one of the visible minority groups listed above), other visible minority group.

Persons with disabilities

A person with a disability has a long term or recurring physical, mental, sensory, psychiatric or learning impairment and:

  • considers themselves to be disadvantaged in employment by reason of that impairment
  • believes that an employer or potential employer is likely to consider them to be disadvantaged in employment by reason of that impairment

This definition also includes persons whose functional limitations owing to their impairment have been accommodated in their current job or workplace. Disabilities include: co-ordination or dexterity (difficulty using hands or arms, for example, grasping or handling a stapler or using a keyboard), mobility (difficulty moving around, for example, from one office to another or up and down stairs), blind or visual impairment (unable to see or difficulty seeing), deaf or hard of hearing (unable to hear or difficulty in hearing), speech impairment (unable to speak or difficulty speaking and being understood), other disability (including learning disabilities, developmental disabilities and all other types of disabilities).


Although the status of women within the public service has improved over the last few years, women continue to be under-represented in some employment fields.

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