Designated groups

Designated groups are selected as the focus of employment equity because their labour market experience reveals long-standing patterns of high rates of unemployment and under-employment concentration in low-pay, low-status jobs.

The following groups of Canadians or permanent residents in Canada have been designated, under the Federal Employment Equity Act, as being disadvantaged in employment: women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and persons who are, because of their race or colour, in a visible minority in Canada.

Indigenous peoples

An Indigenous person is a North American Indian or a member of a First Nation, Métis or Inuit. North American Indians or members of a First Nation include treaty, status or registered Indians, as well as non-status and non-registered Indians.

Disabled persons

Every individual whose prospects of securing training and advancing in suitable employment are substantially reduced as a result of a duly recognized physical or mental impairment.

Physical disabilities can be visible or non-visible and can include any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical coordination, blindness or visual impairment, deafness or hearing impairment, muteness or speech impairment, or physical reliance on a guide dog, wheelchair or other appliances or devices.

Learning, mental or psychiatric disabilities can include learning or comprehension incapabilities which are significant and persistent but permit the individual so disabled to carry out duties and perform tasks in a reliable manner under a reasonable amount of supervision.

Diseases such as epilepsy or diabetes and other permanent conditions can be considered a disability if the condition significantly limits opportunities for employment and advancement.

Visible minority

Persons who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour. Individuals of mixed ancestry are considered a visible minority if he/she personally identifies with a non-Caucasian or non-white group.