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Employment Equity

Local 560 Employment Equity Officer

The Employment Equity Officer for OPSEU Local 560 (2014-2016) is Beth Agnew. She is currently at S@Y Campus in Room S2090A (416) 491-5050, Ext.33133.

What is Employment Equity?

Employment equity refers to the law as defined in the Employment Equity Act in Canada that requires employers to have employment practices that increase the representation of four designated groups: women, people with disabilities, Aboriginal peoples, and visible minorities. In recent years, this concept has been expanded in practice to include fair treatment in employment of anyone regardless of gender, ability, race, language, sexual orientation, or other differentiating factor. Increasingly, matters of bullying and harassment have also fallen under the purview of employment equity. Equity means fair treatment for all and the elimination of discrimination in the workplace.

Furthermore, the Act requires that employers remove barriers to employment that disadvantage members of the four designated groups. Such barriers include wheelchair inaccessible buildings, or practices that disadvantage certain people, such as late afternoon class schedules that interfere with child care arrangements for a single parent.

Employers are required to make reasonable accommodation to create inclusive working envrionments for everyone.

Employment Equity at Seneca College

The Resolution, Equity and Diversity Centre supervises the application and enforcement of Seneca College’s policies regarding education and employment equity. In particular, the College’s “Policies and Procedures Regarding Harassment/Discrimination” governs the conduct of all members of the college community with regard to matters of harassment and discrimination.

Faculty should be aware of the College’s employment and education equity policies. If you are requested to attend a meeting at the college’s Centre for Equity and Human Rights, we strongly advise that you contact the Local 560 office at (416) 495-1599 or the Local 560 Employment Equity Officer, Beth Agnew, at (416) 491-5050, Ext. 33133 (bagnew (at) or union (at) to request a union officer to accompany you.

The college is accustomed to having faculty attend such meetings with their union representative, so you don’t have to worry that this “looks bad” to your manager.

Employment Equity in the Collective Agreement

The Collective Agreement contains two references to employment equity. The first, in Article 9: Employee/Employer Relations Committee, Section 9.03 G, reads, “The Committee will examine issues relating to employment equity and means of enhancing it, including an examination of the recognition of part-time service under the College’s Classification Plans.”

The second reference to employment equity is a Letter of Understanding signed by representatives of both parties to the collective agreement. The following is the letter negotiated by the parties and renewed during the most recent round of bargaining.

Ontario Public Service Employees Union
100 Lesmill Road
North York, Ontario
M3B 3P8
Council of Regents for Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology
13th Floor, 101 Bloor Street West
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 2Z7

August 28, 1998

Re: Employment Equity

The parties recognize a shared commitment to achieving employment equity within the college system. This, therefore, will confirm the understanding reached at negotiations between the parties that:

  1. At the local level, the parties will work together to facilitate:
  • the implementation of employment systems, policies and practices, including matters relating to child care, that are non-discriminatory in nature and effect; and
  • the implementation of practices and policies to enhance the hiring of, and transfer, promotion, training and developmental opportunities of, persons from designated groups; and
  • generating data as to the current representation and distribution of the designated groups; and
  • examination of recruitment and practices of hiring into the bargaining unit of persons from designated groups; and
  • the removal of any barriers that may exist in employment policies and the monitoring of data relative to employment equity; and
  • the attainment of appropriate representation of targeted groups identified by the Province of Ontario.
  1. At the provincial level, the parties will work together to ensure that all provisions of the Agreement are non-discriminatory in nature and effect.
  2. At both the provincial and local level, the parties will work together to enhance the participation of individuals from populations identified by the Province of Ontario as designated groups in the day-to-day administration of the Agreement. This could include, but not be limited to, the administration of Articles 7, 9, 11, 32, Appendix II and IV.

The designated groups referred to above are considered to be, for the purpose of this letter:

  • women
  • visible and ethnic minorities
  • disabled persons
  • native persons
  • Francophones


L. Casselman, President
Ontario Public Service Employees Union
J. Farrell, Chair
Ontario Council of Regents

Sites of Interest