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Meet Senator

Catherine Callbeck

The Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck, B.Comm., B.Ed. Senator Catherine S. Callbeck was the first woman in Canada to be elected as Premier and was named as one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2006. Appointed to the Senate on September 23, 1997, she represents the province of Prince Edward Island.

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Goodbye Equity: Conservatives eliminate employment equity obligations for federal government contractors

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Posted on 05 June 2012

OTTAWA, June 5th, 2012 – Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette denounces article 602 of the Conservative omnibus budget Bill C-38 which removes a clause in the Employment Equity Act (EEA), requiring contractors to comply with employment equity in the Federal Contractors Program (FCP).

This will have a negative impact on the employment access of women, the disabled, Aboriginals and visible minorities and demonstrates the conservatives’ desire to destroy any progress gained by these groups since Confederation.

"With their majority in the House of Commons and the Senate, the Conservatives have both hands on the wheel, their foot on the gas pedal and the transmission stuck in reverse" said Senator Hervieux-Payette. "We will lose 25 years of economic and social progress. This is a regressive and archaic decision that goes against common sense,” continued the Senator.

Every year, the Government of Canada buys from thousands of suppliers, goods and services worth approximately $ 14 billion.

The EEA aims to correct the adverse working conditions of women, Aboriginal peoples, disabled persons and visible minorities, in order to make the workforce more representative. It affects more than 1,135,000 employees, of whom 42.7% women, 2.5% Aboriginal, 3.2% of people with disabilities and 13.6% of visible minorities.

The FCP was established by the Mulroney government in 1986 to promote greater equity in the workplace. The FCP requires companies under provincial jurisdiction of 100 or more employees who obtain contracts 200 000 dollars or more for the provision of goods and services with the federal government to implement employment equity. Approximately 1,700 contractors representing more than 1.1 million Canadians participate in the FCP. Each year, 50 new contractors join the FCP.

"By removing the FCP’s requirements, the Harper government is abandoning the most discriminated members of our society. The federal government awards billions of dollars in contracts, the least the Conservative’s could do would be to ask these companies to exercise some civility. This is the reformist’s version of morality: everyone for himself and God for us all, “added the Senator.

About 100 compliance reviews are conducted each year in Canada by workplace equity officers to assess the equity programs of contractors doing business with the federal government.

Since 1986, the FCP has performed over 1,000 compliance reviews.

"Clearly, the Conservatives no longer feel obliged to ensure social justice," concluded the Senator.


Maximilien Depontailler
Policy Advisor
Office of the Honourable Céline Hervieux-Payette, PC
613-947-8008 –

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