University of Lethbridge - The Diversity Advantage


The University of Lethbridge is committed to achieving and maintaining a fair and inclusive workplace where diversity is valued and individuals have equal opportunities based on merit. It is important that everyone understands why the university is pursuing diversity and employment equity and the effects it has on the workplace.

What is the Diversity Advantage?

The business case for employment equity is such that our people are our most valuable asset and provide the University with the greatest leverage for sustainable competitive gains.
Taking advantage of Canada's increasingly diverse workforce allows us to enrich the workplace by attracting and retaining the best people and reflecting the diversity of our students and global intellectual communities. An equitable employment system includes everyone and leads to greater job satisfaction, higher employee commitment, which in turn increases productivity, creativity, and innovation of all employees. The University of Lethbridge strives for equity as it pursues excellence.

Diversity is the recognition and acknowledgement of individual differences such as education, age, gender, sexual orientation, style, ability or disability, religion, ethnicity, culture, or any other characteristic that shapes an individual's attitudes, behaviours and perspective. Treating everyone the same means ignoring individual differences and any related biases, this can lead to inequitable treatment. The University of Lethbridge will strive for equitable, not equal treatment by recognizing and making accommodations for differences so the rights of every individual to be respected, valued, and participate fully in all levels of employment are honoured.

Employment Equity is not reverse discrimination. The goal is have a workplace composition that is reflective of the fully diverse workforce available. Reverse discrimination occurs when a less qualified person is hired. The University of Lethbridge will continue to select, hire, develop, and promote the most qualified person based on job knowledge, skills, and abilities. To attract the best available candidates, the University is seeking to expand its pool of qualified applicants. This may include a wider scope of advertising for employment opportunities, encouraging applications from a diversity of members including the designated groups, ensuring selection and promotion processes are bias free and job requirements are realistic and job-related. The Diversity Advantage is not an exclusive process. It does not impose barriers or deny opportunities for those outside the designated groups. Neither the Federal Government nor the University imposes quotas for hiring or promoting members from the designated groups.

The Employment Equity Act and the Federal Contractors Program. Part of the University's commitment to Diversity and Employment Equity is mandated by law. As an employer we are bound to the terms of the Employment Equity Act which is to achieve equality in the workplace so that no person shall be denied employment opportunities or benefits for reasons unrelated to ability. The Act was also designed to break past, present, and future barriers to employment for four designated groups (women, aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and visible minorities), that had unjustifiably high unemployment rates; lower than average salaries, and concentration in certain occupations. In addition, because the University has
research contracts with the Government of Canada we must fulfill all the requirements of the Federal Contractors Program (FCP). The Diversity Advantage initiative is in full compliance with the law.

An ongoing measured process. This includes; education and information, policy development/implementation, communication and collaboration with employee representatives, survey and analysis of the University's workforce, periodic review of the University's employment system, establishment of goals and plans, adoption of positive policies and reasonable accommodations, development and adoption of monitoring procedures and recurring audits by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) for compliance with the Federal Contractors Program (FCP).

What happens next. More information on the University of Lethbridge's Diversity Advantage Initiative will be available as it develops. Please check the Notice Board and this web site to keep informed on any measures the University has undertaken or is planning to undertake, as well as progress made to date. Timely and relevant communications will also be sent to all departments in print form and to employees through list serves.

Who is responsible for this initiative?

The Diversity Advantage project is being championed by the Human Resources department, under the leadership of the Associate Vice-President (HR & Administration). The Manager - HR Projects has been assigned to assist in the coordination of this program. Ultimately however, the success of our employment equity program is linked to your support. We welcome your input and co-operation in implementing employment equity at the University of Lethbridge.

A TASK FORCE, with representatives from union and non-union employee groups, has also been established to provide another communication link between all employees and the Diversity Advantage initiative. Its members are well versed on the program and can answer or direct your questions, concerns, and suggestions. They will be keeping you updated on the developments of the Diversity Advantage initiative by bringing you news and sharing information as it becomes available. If you are interested in being a representative, please contact Human Resources. Task force terms of reference are available by clicking here.

When did this initiative begin?
The Diversity Advantage program was originally introduced to the University community in September of 2004. The Employment Equity Plan was completed in May of 2005 and documents all the activities, research, analysis, conclusions, and goals that resulted from the program as well as any monitoring and review. As the Plan developed and is implemented regular updates are posted on The Notice Board, and U-Weekly. In addition, this website is an excellent resource to find timelines and schedules of planned events.


Why is this initiative important?

Diversity and Employment Equity not only makes compelling business sense and is required by law and our certified participation with the Federal Contrators' Program but we can't afford to waste the skill and abilities of whole groups of people. It is simply the right thing to do.