Workplace diversity and inclusion

Current and Completed Projects:

Youth Program Navigator Pilot

SRDC is conducting ethnographic studies on targeted youth facing barriers using a variety of qualitative research methods (observations, interviews, conversations) to learn how ESDC Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) funded programs may better connect to hardest-to-reach youth. While YESS is intended to help young people, particularly those facing barriers to employment, get the information and gain the skills, work experience, and abilities they need to make a successful transition into the labour market, this project is concerned with optimal outreach to youth who face additional barriers to accessing services. Policy makers recognize the need to identify potential touchpoints in youths’ daily lives for YESS outreach. The project draws on SRDC’s prior experience working with vulnerable youth and knowledge of the youth ecosystem and understanding of vulnerable communities. Deliverables include reporting on results of the ethnographic study and a collaborative workshop to apply study results and develop program delivery recommendations.

Start-end date: February 2021 - June 2021
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada

Overcoming barriers to skills development and employment for equity-seeking groups: Research synthesis

Jobs are changing and so are the skills Canadians need to be successful in a modern economy. Acquisition of foundational and socio-emotional skills is critical for those who are currently under-employed and underrepresented in the workforce. However, equity-seeking groups – such as women, youth, Indigenous persons, newcomers, members of racialized groups, persons with disabilities, and people who identify as LGBTQ2S+ – often face individual, organizational, and systemic barriers that prevent them from acquiring these skills and accessing good jobs. In addition, they may lack access to the experiences and supports that foster these skills, such as coaching from mentors and role models, professional networks, and positive early learning experiences; they may also experience differences between their values or customs and those desired by employers in the Canadian workplace. As the federal department mandated to promote a highly skilled and mobile labour force and an efficient and inclusive labour market, Employment and Social Development Canada aims to improve its capacity to better measure, monitor, and address gender disparity and promote access of underrepresented groups across its skills and training programs. SRDC has been engaged to consolidate and analyze available information on the skill gaps, learning needs, and systemic barriers faced by equity-seeking groups in accessing and benefiting from the skills training and employment supports offered by governments and organizations across the country. SRDC will analyze this information using a social-ecological and intersectional approach that recognizes the multiple personal and environmental factors that can influence outcomes in employment and training, and the ways an individual’s social identities can intersect and create exclusion and marginalization. The resulting research synthesis is expected to broaden ESDC’s understanding of the challenges to skills acquisition faced by underrepresented groups, and to inform future programming and research.

Start-end date: January 2021 - March 2021
Sponsor: Employment and Social Development Canada

Status Report on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion within the Faculty of the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

The Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) is currently developing its future action plan on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within the institution. In order to identify courses of action and set priorities for this plan, SRDC has been mandated to establish the current state of affairs in terms of faculty representativeness in order to draw recommendations to promote EDI that will be relevant for the EDI Institutional Committee and other stakeholders at UQTR. This inventory includes the quantitative measurement of vertical and horizontal representation and organizational structure (groups recognized as under-represented – Indigenous persons, visible minorities, people from the LGBTQ2S+ community, people with disabilities, women), the measurement of barriers related to the retention and career progression of faculty members (as indicated in the NSERC Dimensions Charter) and the collection of suggestions and recommendations from faculty members related to EDI.

Start-end date: December 2020 - April 2021
Sponsor: Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

Employment Accessibility Standards for Recruitment and Retention of People with Disabilities

This project is designed to advance research on accessibility standards to inform Accessibility Standards Canada (ASC) as it works with stakeholders and persons with disabilities to create new accessibility regulations that will apply to sectors within its federal jurisdiction. SRDC’s project is focused on employment standards, which was the area most frequently cited in the consultations informing the development of the recently adopted Accessibility Canada Act as the most important for improving accessibility. The goal of the project is to provide information to be used in the development of workplace employment standards for people with disabilities, specifically focused on recruitment and retention practices, which will inform the identification, selection and implementation of compliance and enforcement measures under ASC’s new accessibility regulatory framework. The project involves partnerships with national disability-serving organizations, including Neil Squire Society, Magnet & The Discover Ability Network, and the Autism-Intellectual Disability National Resource and Exchange (AIDE), to engage 8 to 10 federally-regulated employers across Canada in the project’s research activities.

Start-end date: October 2020 - March 2023
Sponsor: Accessibility Standards Canada

Skills Compass

Young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) are at risk of becoming socially excluded, with low income and lacking the skills to improve their economic situation. Indigenous youth, and youth who are newcomers to Canada, may face additional barriers to becoming engaged in employment or education. Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is leading a pilot project to address potential barriers faced by Indigenous and newcomer NEET youth through a pre-employment training program, wraparound supports, and employment placements. SRDC as the evaluation partner is responsible for developing the evaluation framework and data collection instruments, measuring outputs and outcomes, integrative data analysis, reporting findings, and participating in knowledge mobilization.

Start-end date: October 2020 - March 2023
Sponsor: Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan)

CreateAction: Inclusive Social Innovation

CreateAction: Inclusive Social Innovation — This project is evaluating the role that six-month work experience opportunities in the social innovation, social finance, and social enterprise sectors can play in supporting youth who are either not in employment, education, or training (NEET). The project is being led by the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) in partnership with SRDC and the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC). The project aims to recruit
100 Indigenous youth, new immigrants, young people living in poverty, those who identify as LGBTQ2S+, young people with disabilities, racialized youth, youth in rural/remote communities, and official language minority youth. SRDC is supporting the project design, coordinating tailored supports to participants, and leading the project’s evaluation activities. The evaluation is examining how the placement opportunities facilitate the transition of young people to secure employment in the labour market through the development of skills, workplace experience, professional networks, and tailored wraparound supports. It is also examining how hosting the youth placements will support the capacity and sustainability of innovative social purpose organizations across Canada to hire youth facing barriers from the communities they serve, connect to regional Social Innovation and Social Finance ecosystems, and leverage investments of the Investment Readiness Program and Social Finance Fund.

Start-end date: August 2020 - March 2023
Sponsor: Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet)

Building the evidence base about economic, health and social inequities faced by LGBTQ2S+ individuals in Canada

Research shows that, as a group, gender and sexual minorities – including people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S+) – are more likely to live in poverty, face more barriers to employment (including stigma and discrimination), and earn less at work, despite often having higher levels of educational attainment than the general population. These areas of research are still emerging, and major knowledge gaps remain. For example, most research does not examine differences within the diverse LGBTQ2S+ community and does not link people’s experiences in the labour market with health and social outcomes. In addition, most research is from the US and Europe as Canada has very few indicators of gender and sexual minority status in its existing large survey datasets. This makes it difficult to understand the scale and scope of the problem and determine how best to address it through research, policy, programs, or practices (e.g., in the workplace). In partnership with Dr. Sean Waite at the University of Western Ontario, Pride at Work Canada, and the Labour Market Information Council, SRDC will lead this project, which aims to identify key determinants of economic outcomes for gender and sexual minorities in Canada. This work will inform effective program and policy interventions to reduce the socio-economic inequities that LGBTQ2S+ people experience.

Read the Phase 1 Report.

Start-end date: May 2020 - July 2022
Sponsor: Women and Gender Equality Canada

Implementing a Virtual Recruitment and Assessment Centre for the Unionized Construction Industry

This project will develop a recruitment strategy integrating sectoral needs analysis, behavioural insights, and social marketing to reach underrepresented groups and increase their awareness, knowledge, and connection to the building trades. A social media based messaging strategy informed by how each of the targeted groups perceives benefits and barriers to entering the trades will connect prospective candidates to an innovative online assessment and matching platform which will help users determine their suitability, connect directly to a Building Trades union, and transition into the apprenticeship system with essential skills tutoring. Unions will help to inform the recruitment strategy and refine the assessment and matching process to ensure candidates have the skills and mentor/support networks to succeed. 

Start-end date: April 2020 - March 2022
Sponsor: Future Skills Centre

Evaluation of the BC Centre for Women in the Trades

The BC Centre for Women in the Trades is created to address workforce retention priorities for tradeswomen, supporting their career advancement and retention in the building trades. It was launched in 2018 with funding for two years. SRDC will be conducting the evaluation. The goal of the evaluation is to measure the effects of the program activities and, specifically, to assess the three program components: outreach and mentorship for tradeswomen, shifting the culture through leadership development and training, and building workforce diversity through organizational capacity building. The BC Federation of Labour is implementing the Centre in partnership with the BC Building Trades, the BC Tradeswomen Society, Construction Labour Relations, and the BC LNG Alliance.

Start-end date: June 2018 - April 2020
Sponsor: B.C. Federation of Labour