Working to ensure hiring equality

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 9:23am

By Mohamed Yaffa, co-ordinator, Diversity and Social Inclusion, Capital Health

People applying for jobs at Capital Health now have the option of identifying themselves as members of certain priority groups, a move aimed at increasing diversity in staff.
A self-identification option was launched on Capital Health’s e-recruit system on Monday, Jan. 20, as part of Capital Health’s employment equity plan. The new system allows members of priority groups to self-identify when they apply for jobs in Capital Health. This allows Capital Health to ensure people do not face barriers at the different stages of screening and selection for jobs.

There is an inner system built to track how we are doing, which will be evaluated as we collect information and data.

Levelling the field

Employment equity is a unique process in Canada which attempts to achieve equality in all aspects of employment: hiring, retention and promotion. In the general human rights context, it is an attempt to rectify some of the employment hardships faced by designated groups, such as women, visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities.

In 2010, Capital Health invited immigrant associations, minority groups, universities and government departments to share their experiences with employment equity. A diversity survey that year confirmed that minority groups are under-represented in Capital Health.

These results were not unexpected. The human tendency is to hire people who are most like us, and Capital Health has a predominantly Caucasian workforce. People are naturally drawn to individuals who have similar characteristics and perceived values. This has created an invisible barrier for minority groups for a long time.
In September 2011, Capital Health employment equity task force, in partnership with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, finished the year-long work of drafting an employment equity plan and policy. The policy was approved in the spring of 2013.

Plan moving forward

The goal of the employment equity policy and plan is to have a diverse workforce and a culture of belonging in Capital Health, with the desired outcomes of:

  • Removing organizational barriers and implementing fair hiring practices
  • Having an employee profile that represents the communities we serve
  • Having a culture where all employees, patients and their families will feel a sense of belonging

According to Capital Health’s diversity survey, representation is lowest in four specific communities:

  • Aboriginal
  • African Nova Scotian
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Recent immigrants

This focus is driven by our survey and it is for employment equity purposes only, not our general diversity approach, which is geared to all minority groups that face inclusion challenges.
As we continue to embed the employment equity policy at Capital Health, all managers are encouraged to attend a session on Employment Equity and Cultural Competence. The session provides education and space for discussions on how to move forward and what supports are available to managers in this area.