Limits on Affirmative Action

Unlike the U.S. Constitution, which is silent on Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Section 15(2) of Canada’s Constitution incorporates Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through what is known as Affirmative Action. This […]
Published on January 11, 2024

Unlike the U.S. Constitution, which is silent on Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Section 15(2) of Canada’s Constitution incorporates Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through what is known as Affirmative Action. This clause grants increased access to educational opportunities and employment, particularly in government or government-funded sectors (such as health care and education) for “underrepresented groups.” This clause has been upheld by the Canadian Supreme Court.

In the United States, all sides of the argument acknowledge the necessity of including sunset provision in any Affirmative Action policy, to prevent it from becoming institutionalized reverse discrimination. Over the past 20 years, we observe that despite achieving gender parity two decades ago, 72% of Canadian Federal Government hires are women. Affirmative Action has also contributed to nearly 80% enrollment in some Canadian medical schools.

Regardless of one’s stance on Affirmative Action, nearly everyone agrees that there must be established limits on its application. Thus far, there has been no legal precedent in Canada where courts have determined these limits. As a result, Affirmative Action programs and hirings have continued without restraint.

The absence of guidelines and limitations on the use of Affirmative Action by governments, regulatory bodies, health care institutions, and educational facilities could be highly detrimental to Canadian society. In the United States, the Supreme Court clarified that race alone cannot be the determining factor for benefiting from Affirmative Action; broader considerations must be taken into account.

Given that Affirmative Action is enshrined in our constitution and endorsed by the Canadian Supreme Court, the question arises of how best to introduce guidelines and limitations on its excessive use in Canada.

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Which one of the three potential options would you prefer when it comes to introducing reasonable limits on the use of AA in Canada?

 

Click below to view last week’s poll question results:

Indigenous, colonizers, settlers, immigrants, migrants, refugees, white, brown, gay?

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