Too few visible minorities in public institutions, Quebec Human Rights Commission says

The report looked at those working in the health network, schools, police, public transit and municipalities. Getty Images

A new report on employment equity by the Quebec Human Rights Commission suggests there are still too few visible minorities and Indigenous Peoples working in the province’s public institutions.

The report released Tuesday says there’s been too little progress as a provincial act respecting access to equal employment approaches its 20th anniversary.

Adopted in December 2000, the provincial law put forth a framework to allow for equal employment in an effort to correct discrimination against historically discriminated groups.

But the commission’s report finds public bodies haven’t made enough progress when it comes to increasing the number of Indigenous, visible minorities, ethnic minorities or people with disabilities among their ranks.

READ MORE: François Legault sticks to position that systemic racism doesn’t exist in Quebec

The finding also holds true for women in managerial positions and in traditionally male work.

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The report looked at those working in the health network, schools, police, public transit and municipalities.

The representation of minorities in these types of work increased to 6.3 per cent in 2019, up from 2.7 per cent a decade earlier.

The commission’s report qualified this as a low level of representation and said each of the public bodies are from hitting their targets.

The representation of Indigenous Peoples did not move at all in a decade, remaining stable at 0.3 per cent.

The inequality persists despite visible minorities an increase “in their number and their weight in the Quebec and Canadian population,” the report states.

“The figures we are revealing today show that equal-access employment programs are not being applied in an optimal manner,” Philippe-Andre Tessier, president of the commission, said in a statement.

Click to play video: 'Decisive moment between Montreal police and a young protestor captured on camera'
Decisive moment between Montreal police and a young protestor captured on camera

Women experienced the largest increase in their representation in public bodies in Quebec, going from 53.9 per cent in 2009 to 65.3 per cent in 2019.

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“They are represented in almost all job groups, with the exception of managerial jobs and those of traditionally male trades. In short, this is a great step forward in professional and technical jobs for women,” the report reads.

Quebec provincial police saw the number of women on the force go up 10.2 per cent over a decade, but both the force and public transit had the fewest number of women in their employ, at 23.2 per cent.

Public transit agencies had the highest number of minorities employed in 2019 at 12.7 per cent. Three of the largest transit agencies are in the greater Montreal area, where most of the province’s minorities live.

READ MORE: Montrealers vow to fight systemic racism, discrimination until changes are made

The health-care system employs the second-most visible minorities in the province.

The commission did not provide anyone to speak on the results of the report Tuesday.

Quebec Premier François Legault promised action, saying he recognized there was under-representation among visible minorities and others in government departments as well as Crown corporations.

“What I want is that, before the end of my mandate, there will be actions, that there will be changes made,” Legault said Tuesday,

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“Yes, we have to consult, but I think we have reached the stage of acting.”

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