Engaging and Retaining: Further Learning

Including talent from under-represented groups

Indigenous peoples

Inclusive terminology

  • In Canada, “Indigenous” collectively refers to people who identify as First Nations, Métis, or Inuit.
  • “First Nations” describes people who identify as First Nations, which have distinct cultures, languages and traditions and connections to a particular land base of traditional territory.
  • “Métis” is a French term for “mixed blood,” which refers to the specific group of Indigenous people who trace their ancestry to the Métis homeland and are accepted members of the Métis community.
  • “Inuit” refers to a group of people who share cultural similarities and inhabit the Arctic regions of Canada, Greenland, Russia, and the United States of America.
  • Indigenous Peoples come from different nations with distinct languages, cultures, and customs – specify the nation, community, or band when possible.
  • When part of a person’s title, capitalize “Chief,” “Hereditary Chief,” “Grand Chief,” and “Elder.”

Inclusive HR practices

  • Be flexible with job seekers in remote communities in terms of ways they can submit applications.
  • For employees based in remote communities, consider providing transportation.
  • Learn about Indigenous culture, history, and protocols as a foundation to inclusive practices (e.g. norms around family and community involvement, bereavement, traditional practices, self-promotion, respectful communication, etc.).
  • Be open to alternate ways of gathering data (e.g. using storytelling or talking circles to consult employees).
  • Explore innovative solutions to work-life integration practices, such as leave and bereavement leave policies.
  • Consider engaging an Employment & Training Coordinator to support community-based recruitment efforts and to offer ongoing support to employees.
  • Partner with community organizations offering job readiness programs.
  • Offer on-the-job training and skills upgrading to support employees to gain required certificates and licenses.

Initiatives and campaigns

  • June: National Indigenous History Month
  • June 21: National Indigenous Peoples Day

https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/important-commemorative-days.html

Partnerships and resources

LGBTQ2+ employees

Inclusive terminology

  • Use “partner”/ “significant other” instead of husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • Avoid gendered pronouns: use “they” instead of “he/she” (e.g. ‘what do they do for work?’ or ‘what does your partner like to eat?’).
  • Don’t assume heterosexuality (e.g. include LGBTQ2+ people in images, materials and/or in examples during meetings or presentations).
  • When addressing larger groups, use “folks”/ “colleagues and friends”/ “distinguished guests” instead of “ladies/gentlemen” or “guys.”

Inclusive HR practices

  • Refuse to tolerate homophobic or transphobic attitudes, remarks, or actions.
  • Participate in local Pride events as a team to show your support.
  • Support LGBTQ2+ employee resource groups in your workplace (e.g. post available updated listings of groups, activities, programs, and services around LGBTQ2+ issues).
  • Allow LGBTQ2+ people to self-identify in an official capacity (e.g. policies and procedures).
  • Provide access to gender-neutral washrooms.

Initiatives and campaigns

  • Last Wednesday of February: Pink Shirt Day
  • June: Pride Month
  • October 11: National Coming Out Day
  • October: LGBT History Month
  • November: Transgender Awareness Month

Partnerships and resources

Newcomers and Visible Minorities

Inclusive terminology

  • Capitalize the proper names of nationalities, peoples, and cultures (e.g. Sikh, Asian, etc.).
  • Be cautious about racial, cultural and other identity references that are not necessary, or assume similarities and affinity (e.g. Instead of saying, “Have you met Dan? He’s Asian too. You two would get along,” consider saying, “Have you met Dan? He’s new to the team.”).
  • Terms such as “visible minority” and “woman of colour” are becoming less used. Before using such expressions, consider if a better expression or more recent version would be more appropriate.
  • Whenever possible, allow a person to introduce aspects of their identity that they choose to share.
  • When references are relevant and necessary, use the language preferred by the individual or group concerned (e.g. African Canadian, or Black Canadian).

Inclusive HR practices

Newcomers

  • On your website, direct newcomer applicants to services that can determine equivalencies for international qualifications, and inform potential applicants about requirements for regulated professions and how to acquire the required licenses.
  • Ask for and evaluate relevant vs Canadian work experience.
  • Consider recruiting candidates at a lower level until their licensure requirements have been met.
  • Provide robust onboarding, covering common HR practices and norms in a Canadian workplace.
  • Support new hires to expand their network, a common gap for newcomers.

Visible Minorities

  • Recognize people’s overlapping identities and experience to apply an intersectional lens to HR practices–remember that visible minority women, for example, may experience the workplace differently to other women.
  • Consult with ERGs and employees to be informed about norms and cultural expectations around elder care / family responsibilities.
  • Consider that family members may be several thousand miles away when granting leave for bereavement or family events.

Initiatives and Campaigns

  • February: Black History Month
  • May: Asian Heritage Month
  • June 24: Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day/Fête nationale du Québec and fête de la francophonie canadienne
  • June 27: Canadian Multiculturalism Day
  • Canada’s important commemorative days

Partnerships and Resources

Persons with Disabilities

Inclusive Terminology

  • “Person with a disability” is a preferred term.
  • Consider people first.Instead of saying “disabled employee,” consider saying “employee with a disability.”
  • Frame a disability or medical condition as something a person has rather than what they are (e.g. “She has epilepsy” not “She is epileptic”).
    If it is useful to notify others about a person’s disability (e.g. to allow an accommodation to be carried out), the best approach would be to ask the individual employee how they would like this information to be shared.
  • Be cautious about portraying a person as “courageous” or “special”, or using language that suggests weakness or infirmity (e.g. “wheelchair-bound”).

Inclusive HR Practices

  • Accessible and alternative formats and communication supports.
  • Individual accommodation plans.
  • Return to work processes.
  • Individualized emergency response information.
  • Restructuring jobs.
  • Modifying the work environment.
  • Implementing a scent-free workplace.
  • Flexible working options.

Initiatives and Campaigns

  • April 2: World Autism Day
  • May-June: National Accessibility Awareness week
  • October: National Disability Awareness month,  Mental health awareness month, Autism awareness month, Learning disabilities awareness month

Partnerships and resources

Women

Inclusive terminology

  • Use equal examples that include different genders in work materials.
  • Instead of using a woman’s name to represent a receptionist and a man’s name to represent an executive in an online learning course example, switch names around to avoid reinforcing gendered assumptions.
  • Replace identifiers such as “linesman,” “journeyman,” and “chairman” with non-gendered titles such as lines person, journey person, and chair or chairperson.

Inclusive HR practices

  • Coach managers to ensure women receive the same level of feedback as men, a common gap for women.
  • Focus on essential skills required on day one in job postings; women have been shown to not apply for jobs if they don’t meet all criteria.
  • Revise job titles to avoid gendered language (e.g. foreman, linesman, etc.)
  • Ensure equipment and personal protective gear are in sizes appropriate for women.
  • For field work, seek to provide changing and washroom facilities appropriate for both women and men.

Initiatives and campaigns

  • March 8: International Women’s Day
  • October: Women’s History Month
  • October 11: International Day of the Girl
  • December 6: National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
  • Canada’s important commemorative days

Partnerships and resources

Some content on this page has been adapted from a Government of British Colombia guide to inclusive language.43

Useful links and resources

Graybridge Malkam Diversity Calendar

Engendering Success in STEM

ALIS: Helping Your Employees Cope With Loss

Government of Alberta: Bereavement leave

SalesForce: How to be an ally

EHRC’s Aboriginal Participation Initiatives Project report 

EnergyNow.ca: Employment Equity: Do You Ask Job Applicants If They Are Part of The Four ‘Designated Groups’? Here’s What You Should Know!

Status of Women Canada’s glossary of common DEI-related terms