International Handbook on Diversity Management at Work
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International Handbook on Diversity Management at Work

Country Perspectives on Diversity and Equal Treatment

Edited by Alain Klarsfeld

Managing and developing diversity is on the political and business agenda in many countries; therefore diversity management has become an area of knowledge and practice in its own right. Yet all too often it is referred to as a unifying concept, as if it were to be interpreted uniformly across all cultures and countries. The contributors to this volume expertly examine the relationship between diversity management and equality legislation within the different participating countries’ national contexts. They advocate that such separation and sequencing between equality at work and diversity management is far from natural.
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Chapter 4: Employment Equity and Workplace Diversity in Canada

Rana Haq and Eddy S.W. Ng


1 Rana Haq and Eddy S.W. Ng Introduction Canada is and has been a diverse nation composed of a wide variety of different peoples. Beginning with the 50 distinct aboriginal nations which were the original inhabitants of the country, and adding the French, the English, other European groups, Black Loyalists in 1776 and 1812, and the Chinese in 1858, Canada was a racially and ethnically diverse society even by Confederation in 1867. (McDonald, 1990, p. 2) Immigration and multiculturalism have been the backbone of Canada’s approach to nation-building, with the former being a source of Canada’s ethnic, religious and racial diversity, and the latter representing the Canadian ideological construct for accommodating diversity (Breton, 1986). These realities have remained unchanged over time, but what is changing are the attitudes and policies governing how the diverse groups of individuals are treated within the social, economic and legal systems in Canada. Socially, Canada has often been referred to as a ‘mosaic’, reflecting the reality that Canada is a nation of immigrants and encourages immigrants to maintain their distinctiveness as Canadians. The mosaic metaphor, first used in 1922 by an American writer, Victoria Hayward, continues to be very popular today for describing the multicultural nature of the Canadian society. The term ‘mosaic’ refers to the overall image formed when unique pieces of tile are aligned in a unified and coherent pattern, presenting an overall picture of unity and coherence (Fleras and Elliott, 1996). The mosaic metaphor is in contrast to the ‘melting pot’ image...

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