ARCHIVED -  Public Notice CRTC 1992-59

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Public Notice

Ottawa, 1 September 1992
Public Notice CRTC 1992-59
Table of Contents
I. Legislative Framework 1
II. The Employement Equity Act 5
Review Process
III. Overview of Employment 6
Equity Within
Broadcasting Industry
IV. Implementation of an 10
Employment Equity Policy
The purpose of this public notice is to inform broadcasters and the public of the Commission's plans to introduce an employment equity policy, which will form part of the general supervision it exercises over licensees, in particular at the time of licence issuance and renewal, but also upon consideration of applications for authority to transfer ownership or control of broadcasting undertakings.
The federal government's overall strategy for eliminating systemic barriers to employment and guaranteeing the full participation of disadvantaged groups in the work force is set out in the Employment Equity Act (EEA) of 1986. The act is administered by the Department of Employment and Immigration, also knows as Employment and Immigration Canada (EIC). The purpose of the EEA is:
 to achieve equality in the work place so that no person shall be denied employment opportunities or benefits for reasons unrelated to ability and, in the fulfilment of that goal, to correct the conditions of disadvantage in employment experienced by women, aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and persons who are, because of their race or colour, in a visible minority in Canada by giving effect to the principle that employment equity means more than treating persons in the same way but also requires special measures and the accommodation of differences (section 2). The definitions of the four groups designated under the EEA, namely women, aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities, are set out in the Employment Equity Regulations, 1986.
The EEA requires employers under federal jurisdiction with one hundred or more employees, including broadcasters and cable distributors, to provide information on the representation of members of the designated groups in their organizations. Employers are permitted to include in their statistics only those individuals who have identified themselves as members of a designated group. This practice of voluntary self-identification is designed to protect an individual's privacy.
The information collected must be included in an annual report prepared in accordance with the regulations. These reports, which are filed with the Minister of EIC, are made available to the public and are used to assess progress made towards achieving employment equity. The Minister submits an annual report to Parliament; the report assesses employers' results in aggregate and contains a chapter which sets out some of the qualitative measures undertaken by employers in support of the numerical objectives.
In addition, subsection 5(1) of the EEA stipulates that an employer shall prepare an employment equity plan setting out "the goals that the employer intends to achieve in implementing employment equity in the year or years to which the plan relates" as well as "the timetable for the implementation of those goals". These plans should include:
* Numerical objectives to increase where necessary, representation by occupational group for each of the four designated groups, within established time frames; *
 Remedies and procedures that address the specific issues that have been identified, such as strategies to achieve objectives through special recruitment or training programs;
* Strategies to create a supportive equity environment, e.g., training for supervisors in relation to a variety of cultural backgrounds;
* Assignment of clear responsibility and accountability for each activity;
* A focus which is broad enough to include responsibilities for all the "stake holders" in the organization, i.e., middle managers, personnel specialists, employees, unions, the CEO, etc;
* An outline of monitoring and evaluation procedures to be used.
The employer is required to retain a copy of the plan for at least three years after the last year for which the plan was prepared. The EEA, however, contains no provision requiring the employer to submit its employment equity plan to the Minister of EIC.
The Employment Equity Branch of EIC identifies employers subject to the EEA and informs them of their legislative obligations. In addition to its role in interpreting the provisions of the Act and regulations, the Branch offers employers technical advice and information to help them develop and implement employment equity programs.
The CRTC's mandate was originally enunciated in the 1968 Broadcasting Act, which extended to the CRTC full powers to regulate and supervise the Canadian broadcasting system in the public interest, including the authority to issue, renew, amend, suspend and revoke licences. Under the new Broadcasting Act, which came into force on 4 June 1991, the Commission was given the additional responsibility of ensuring that the industry, through its programming and the employment opportunities arising out of its operations, reflects the specific characteristics of Canadian society. Pursuant to subparagraph 3(1)(d)(iii) of the Act:
 the Canadian broadcasting system should [...] through its programming and the employment opportunities arising out of its operations, serve the needs and interests, and reflect the circumstances and aspirations of Canadian men, women and children, including equal rights, the linguistic duality and multicultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society and the special place of aboriginal peoples within that society.
In the exercise of its duties, the Commission endeavours to regulate the industry, taking into account the circumstances specific to each licensee. In view of potential problems in the application of the Commission's new mandate relating to employment equity, Commission staff met with the staff of EIC's Employment Equity Branch to identify what has been done, what remains to be done, and what appropriate action can be taken to avoid duplication and overlapping.
Pursuant to this process, and in responding to its new mandate, the Commission has developped an employment equity policy which is intended to avoid duplication of reporting. The Commission considers that the effectiveness of its policy will reside in the CRTC's ability, through the licensing process, to ensure the public accountability of broadcasting licensees in this area.
It should be noted that the communications sector, as defined by EIC, encompasses not just the broadcasting industry, but the telecommunications industry as well, including such companies as Bell Canada, British Columbia Telephone Company and Unitel Communications Inc., which are regulated by the CRTC. While such companies are thus subject to the requirements of the EEA, they are not subject to the employment equity policy set out in the Broadcasting Act.
On 30 October 1991 the Special Committee of the House of Commons on the Review of the Employment Equity Act (Special Committee) was set up to initiate the review process required under section 13(1) of the Act.
The CRTC appeared before this parliamentary committee in March 1992. In its brief, the Commission expressed support for the principles of employment equity, but identified two concerns of a practical nature, namely a lack of resources required to conduct an annual audit of the industry with respect to employment equity, and the risk of overregulating the broadcasting industry.
In particular, the Commission pointed out that, over the last ten years, its staff has decreased from more than 500 employees to just over 400. During the same period, the Commission's regulatory workload with respect to telecommunications nearly doubled following the Supreme Court's ruling in the AGT case that telecommunications regulation under federal jurisdiction extended further than had been exercised before that case.
The Commission also noted that there are some differences in the way in which the CRTC and EIC approach the "communications" sector with respect to employment equity. EIC examines corporate entities while the Commission regulates at the level of the licensee. Several individual licensees may fall under the direct or indirect ownership of a single parent company. The Commission, however, has no jurisdiction over the parent company of these individual licensees.
The Commission indicated that it interprets its role in accordance with the concept of employment equity formulated by EIC, namely within the context of very specific goals, accompanied by reporting deadlines.
After considering the views presented by 45 witnesses, as well as those contained in 58 other briefs from individuals who did not appear before it, the Special Committee tabled its report, A Matter of Fairness, in May of 1992. The federal government is currently examining the recommendations contained in the report.
Fully aware of the value of an effective human resources strategy, the broadcasting industry has introduced a series of employment equity initiatives in recent years.
For example, since 1986, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Employment Equity Office has been helping managers develop staffing and promotion measures for women, aboriginal peoples, the disabled and visible minorities. One of these measures, the HELP Fund established in 1989, provides funding for local projects that prepare members of the designated groups for work at the CBC. Assistance is generally provided for workplace adjustment projects, staff development programs as well as programs to recruit and train candidates who are members of designated groups.
The CBC also has an Office of Equitable Portrayal in Programming (formerly the Office of Portrayal of Women). This office develops and implements staff awareness action plans and strategies. It also co-ordinates studies on programming content for equitable portrayal of designated groups and disseminates the results. Through this office, the CBC is responsible for follow-up on complaints regarding representation on the air of the designated groups. Moreover, it is required to submit an annual report to the CRTC on its activities with respect to equitable representation of women in programming, as well as semi-annual reports on complaints received in this regard and the corrective action taken by the CBC (Public Notice CRTC 1986-351).
The televised program "Disability Network" is another constructive example of promoting equality on the air. Produced by the CBC and the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto, Inc., this weekly program is aired on both the main service and on Newsworld and deals with topical subjects related to various disabilities. The program's social impact is enhanced by the fact that it is produced and hosted by disabled persons.
For its part, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) launched a human resources strategic plan for the private broadcasting industry in October 1991. Six objectives were identified to maximize personnel productivity and improve current operational practices. One of these objectives encourages the industry to "take the initiative to develop a pro-active approach to the employment-related provisions of the new Broadcasting Act, in co-operation with the CRTC and the CEIC (Canada Employment and Immigration Commission)".
The CAB and the Canadian Cable Television Association (CCTA), together with representatives of unions and educational institutions, are participating in an EIC study on human resources in the broadcasting industry. The CRTC plans to examine closely the industry's conclusions in developing its own employment equity strategy. Despite the efforts made by broadcasters regarding employment equity, the Commission notes that much remains to be done to eliminate systemic barriers to employment and to guarantee the full participation of the designated groups in the broadcasting industry.
The Commission also notes that EIC, in its 1991 Annual Report, reported a "decline in employment opportunities" for the workforce covered under the EEA, but that "nevertheless, there were indications of improvement for each of the designated groups".
For example, according to the data gathered by EIC with respect to the communications sector (which, as noted earlier, includes both the telecommunications and the broadcasting industries), the representation of women was 41.21% in 1990, an increase of approximately 1% over the previous year. However, the hiring of women in full-time positions was concentrated in two occupational groups: "clerical workers" and "middle managers". Conversely, there was a very low proportion of women in non-traditional jobs, notably those requiring a mastery of technical skills (semi-professionals, technicians, skilled crafts and trade workers, etc.) or leadership skills (senior managers).
The employment profile of aboriginal peoples in the communications sector indicated an under-representation of this group (0.73% in 1990) compared to their representation in the Canadian labour force in 1986 (2.1%). The analysis of full-time hiring of aboriginal women revealed a high occupational concentration in the clerical category.
There was a slight decrease (less than 0.2%) in the hiring of disabled persons on a full-time basis in the communications sector; however, there were modest increases in three of the twelve occupational groups assessed by EIC. The analysis of full-time positions held by disabled women revealed that approximately 80% working in all sectors (banking, transportation, communications and other industry sectors) are employed in the "clerical workers" category.
Hiring of members of visible minorities in the communications sector also increased in five of the twelve occupational groups, although their share of promotions decreased slightly, from 6.1% to 5.96% in 1990. The data concerning women in this group by occupational category also revealed a high degree of occupational concentration.
In summary, the employment profile of members of the designated groups in the communications sector continues to be characterized by underrepresentation, high occupational concentration in clerical jobs and wage disparity.
According to the Employment Equity Branch at EIC, these findings can be explained by a number of factors. Firstly, employees in all sectors, including communications, were (and continue to be) hard hit by the recession, thereby limiting implementation of some aspects of employment equity programs, particularly recruitment. This contraction of the Canadian economy has forced many broadcasters to freeze hiring, lay off staff, offer early retirement plans and even shut down stations.
Furthermore, some broadcasters informed EIC that there was a general shortage of qualified candidates, particularly among members of the designated groups. The data collected by EIC from post-secondary educational institutions confirm that the enrolment of members of some designated groups in the disciplines providing communications training remains low. It is unclear, however, whether this low enrolment is simply reflective of a perception among members of such groups that the likelihood of their gaining employment within the industry is limited. Finally, employers informed EIC that more time is needed before a noticeable change in the composition of their work force can be seen and for employment equity measures to have some effect.
In order to fulfil its new mandate, the Commission set up an internal task force in January 1992 to examine how it should proceed in developing an employment equity policy within the limits of its current resources.
Realizing that the size of the undertaking is a major factor in an employer's ability to change its workforce, the Commission conducted a preliminary analysis of the breakdown of licensees by workforce size in 1990.
This study, based on 1990 Commission statistics, revealed that 113 of a total of 862 licensees in the private sector (radio, television, cable, pay TV and specialty services) had 100 or more employees. This small group of licensees accounted for 66% of all employees in the private broadcasting industry. This figure does not include the more than 12,000 employees of the CBC, which also falls under the EEA.
Public Accountability
The evidence cited above clearly points to the need for more effective and affirmative action on the part of the broadcasting industry in the area of employment equity, and to the need for a practical system of public accountability. The Commission has given considerable thought to the question of how best to promote and foster such action, and how best to assess a licensee's achievements in this area. In its deliberations, the Commission examined whether the overall process would be assisted by requiring licensees to file their employment equity plans for public examination. It notes, however, that employment equity plans cannot be "static" planning tools. Rather, their strategic effectiveness depends upon an ongoing process of review by employers to ensure that they take into account economic and operational requirements, for example the need to downsize during periods of recession. As with any business plan, the effectiveness of employment equity plans can also depend strongly upon substantial portions of the information remaining confidential, particularly with respect to such economic and operational requirements.
The Commission notes the conclusion reached in this regard by the Special Committee of Parliament which recommended that employment equity plans not be made subject to public review by EIC. In light of the above, and taking into account certain reservations expressed by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters on this matter, the Commission has also decided that broadcasting licensees will not be required to file their employment equity plans.
By and large, the Commission considers that a sustained and consistent effort devoted to educating and increasing broadcasters' awareness of employment equity matters will be the most productive approach in the medium to long term. Nevertheless, the Commission intends to be thorough and persistent in supervising the implementation by its licensees of the equitable employment practices that will be necessary to bring about meaningful change.
The Commission will therefore review such practices closely with licensees and prospective licensees, in the context of applications for licence renewal, for a new licence, or for authority to transfer ownership or control. In addition, applicants should be prepared to describe qualitative initiatives undertaken or planned, concerning such matters as: hiring goals; training and development measures designed to assist members of the four designated groups; steps to raise management awareness; practices for disseminating information regarding employment opportunities; and adjustments in the workplace to accommodate the specific needs and characteristics of the designated groups (e.g. the provision of flexible work schedules, day-care services and the like).
The Commission acknowledges, however, that it may be difficult for small undertakings, particularly cable and radio undertakings with fewer than 25 employees, to implement exhaustive employment equity programs. Nevertheless, licensees of such small undertakings are encouraged to consider employment equity issues in their hiring practices.
Applicants having 100 or more employees, and who are thus subject to regulation under the EEA, will also be expected to address the "grades" they have been given by EIC in its annual reports, representing an assessment of their performance with respect to several equity indicators compared to other employers in the communications sector.
In Public Notice CRTC 1992-58 entitled "1992 Policy on Gender Portrayal", released today, the Commission identified various areas of radio and television programming and advertising in which broadcasters should increase their efforts to ensure equitable representation of women and men. Two of these deal directly with employment equity, namely: 1) on-air staff; and 2) voice-overs in commercials and programs produced by stations and networks. While performance in these areas will also be examined with licensees, the Commission intends to meet with representatives of the designated groups and industry partners to determine which "on-air" job categories should be included in the goals set out in each licensee's employment equity plans.
The Commission also notes that all complaints and interventions from the public regarding the application of subparagraph 3(1)(d)(iii) of the Broadcasting Act will be dealt with according to the usual procedure, regardless of the size of the licensee concerned.
In the event of amendments to the EEA, the Commission will review its employment equity policy to make any necessary changes.
The Commission is confident that the guidelines set out in this notice will encourage the emergence of a labour force representative of all four designated groups, and that this policy will assist in ensuring their equitable treatment.
Related documents: Public Notice 1992-58 entitled 1992 Policy on Gender Portrayal; Employment Equity Act, Regulations and Schedules, Employment and Immigration Canada, 1986; and A Matter of Fairness, Report of the Special Committee on the Review of the Employment Equity Act, House of Commons Canada (A. Redway, Chairman), May 1992.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General

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