5 - Advancing equity and inclusion

Learn more about our recommendations for advancing equality and inclusion, or click here to download the full report.

5.1 Developing more equitable and inclusive workplaces

Encouraging greater diversity in Canada’s auto sector across all under-represented groups must be an objective of employers, governments and unions alike. Expanding hiring practices and establishing strong workplace-based supports that are inclusive of women, Black workers and Indigenous workers, workers of colour, people who have immigrated to Canada and workers with disabilities, creates needed economic opportunities.


  • Employment Equity laws act as a guideline through which employers must work proactively to establish barrier-free employment opportunities and working conditions for historically marginalized groups, specifically women, indigenous peoples, workers with disabilities and workers of colour.

    Systemic discrimination and deeply rooted social and cultural biases create artificial barriers that can exclude workers from job opportunities and career advancement, as evidenced by the labour market outcomes outlined above. These barriers, if not broken down, can divide workers, break lines of solidarity and limit collective bargaining power. Legislating Employment Equity in all jurisdictions is an important step governments can take. Requiring employers in both public and private sectors to identify workplace barriers, devise plans that ensure equal access, opportunity and greater worker representation, monitor job placements and promotions, and conduct regular systems reviews in collaboration with unions, will go a long way to address the historic underrepresentation of equity-seeking groups in the auto industry.

  • Creating opportunities for historically marginalized and under-represented groups to secure jobs in the auto sector requires collaboration among various industry stakeholders. Governments can assist by allocating funds to offset costs to employers that commit to hire, train and retain workers from marginalized groups, contingent on employment equity action plans and systems reviews in place. Such a program can operate in conjunction with the proposed national skills assessment and inventory and can build on efforts undertaken by the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association through its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Fund.61

    61 See: https://apma.ca/edi-fund/

5.2 Building an auto industry through reconciliation

It is imperative that governments understand the perils of the shift to EV production without a full and proper acknowledgement of Canada’s repressive colonial past and its obligations to Indigenous Peoples and their land. Assurances that discussions surrounding new mining projects discussions happen in consultation and with the consent of Indigenous Peoples, in line with UNDRIP, is paramount.