Volume 94, Issue 62

Friday, January 12, 2000


USC questions voting status

Student code still debatable

Equality lacking at work for non-whites

Anti-smoking group against new warnings

Minister creates new panel

Kneel before the wisdom of the 8-ball

Corroded Disorder

Equality lacking at work for non-whites

By Joel Brown
Gazette Staff

Well educated visible minorities trail behind their white counterparts in terms of employment and income, according to a recent national report.

The study, released this week by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, found that efforts to create equal opportunities in the workplace for minorities have failed.

While an employment equity plan is in place at the federal level, it only enforces conduct codes for nationally governed industries, said Mory Tam, chief executive of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. She added the legislation only covers five per cent of the Canadian work force.

"It's important we persuade universities and private businesses to set standards, even in the absence of legislation," she said.

Tam said the survey results concluded foreign-born visible minorities earned, on average, only 78 per cent for every dollar earned by a foreign born non-racialized group.

Lead researcher Jean Lock Kunz, of the Canadian Council on Social Development, said she was disappointed in the study's results, especially considering the employment equity laws the government has already instituted.

Kunz said she hopes the study's findings will help bring the problem to the forefront. She is especially concerned visible minority immigrants are not receiving the employment status their educational backgrounds warrant.

"If we want to maximize the social and economic side of immigration, we need to make better use of who we are accepting," she said. "We let in immigrants with high levels of education. Then once they get here, we say 'you need three more years of schooling to get back up to those levels'."

Anthony Iozzo, a spokesperson for Immigration Canada, said Canada accepts immigrants that meet the required hiring standards of professional and provincial groups, but noted the immigration department is helpless when it comes to convincing employers to hire them.

"It is up to Canadian society to treat them fairly and accept them for their skills," Iozzo said. "That's out of our jurisdiction."

However, Western law professor, Michael Lynk, said the government will need to get further involved in the situation for any progress to be made.

"There's been a steady decline in the funding of [human rights] commissions and staff cutbacks which have resulted in a build-up of [immigrant] complaints."

Jason Ramsey, a race relations officer for the Canadian Human Rights Commission, said he agreed that government cutbacks have stalled the process. "If we could employ more people, it would get the process moving more quickly."

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