Inclusive worksites promote a sense of value and belonging for apprentices, leading to increased recruitment and retention success, as well as improved overall productivity.

Everyone is entitled to the same rights, no matter what their background or orientation is. Employment equity is one of the areas covered by the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

The What Works Toolkit is an online resource, designed for the 50-30 Challenge, for Canadian organizations looking to adopt equity and diversity initiatives within their organizations as well as anti-racism, anti-harassment, and inclusive workplace strategies.


People from different backgrounds bring various experiences, which, when supported, can add huge value to an organization. Let’s define and clarify some key terms with definitions and examples found at the following links:


Diversity is integral to create a workplace and safe environment that is inclusive and welcoming to people from diverse backgrounds who can bring their perspectives, skills and abilities to your work environment.

A diverse workforce consists of employees who have differences related to multiple factors, such as identities, abilities, backgrounds, cultures, skills, perspectives, and experiences.


Inclusivity is fostering a welcoming environment that is helps attract and retain talented and diverse individuals to your workplace who bring their rich backgrounds and experiences to help drive value within the workplace.

An inclusive workplace ensures all employees are welcomed, valued, accepted, and supported.


Equity refers to fairness and justice and is distinct from “equality.” Equality means providing the same to all, but equity means recognizing that we do not all start from the same place. We must acknowledge and adjust to reduce imbalances.

In an equitable work environment, differences are embraced and leveraged.

Equity-deserving groups

Equity-deserving groups, also known as underrepresented groups, refer to those who have historically faced systemic barriers and discrimination based on various characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or socio-economic status. These groups often experience unequal access to opportunities and rights.

Indigenous people

Indigenous people, in Canada, refers to people who identify as First Nations, Inuit or Métis; these are the original peoples of this land who were here before the arrival of settlers. This term is the preferred term internationally. Learn more about programs for Indigenous apprentices.

Racialized people

Racialized people are often referred to as ”visible minorities,” which includes non-Caucasians. It is important to note that race is a social construct, but this term acknowledges systemic barriers and oppression that this group may face.

People with disabilities

People with disabilities refer to persons who have a long-term or recurring physical, mental, sensory, psychiatric, or learning impairment. It is important to recognize that some disabilities are non-visible, and others can be episodic. Learn more about programs for apprentices with disabilities.

Newcomers and immigrants

Newcomers and immigrants migrated to or sought refuge in Canada and often face language, cultural integration and legal status barriers.


Women often face gender-based discrimination and inequality. Learn more in this best practice guidance document for advancing women in skilled trades.


The experiences in the workplace for 2SLGBTQI+ individuals can be complex and multifaceted due to the intersectionality of various social identities and characteristics.

Learn more about 2SLGBTQI+ terminology.

Embracing Equity in the Workplace

Embracing equity in the workplace is important for fostering a fair and inclusive work environment where every employee has equal opportunities to succeed, regardless of their background or characteristics. There are several aspects to consider when embracing equity in the workplace:

Equal opportunity

Ensure all employees have the same opportunities for growth, promotion, and advancement within your organization. This action includes creating transparent processes for hiring, performance evaluation, and decision-making free from bias and discrimination.

Welcome diversity

Promote diversity by actively seeking and embracing a wide range of perspectives, backgrounds and experiences among your workforce. Recognize that diversity not only encompasses visible differences such as race or gender, but also includes less visible aspects like age, disability, sexual orientation, and socio-economic background.

Inclusive policies and practices

Implement policies and practices that support inclusivity and accommodate the needs of diverse employees. This strategy can include flexible work arrangements, parental leave, accessible facilities, and unbiased dress codes. Regularly update and review these policies to ensure they remain relevant and effective.

Leadership commitment

Your leadership is critical in championing equity and setting the tone for the entire organization. Managers and site supervisors must demonstrate their commitment to equity through their actions, decisions, and behaviours

Additional Resources

Resources for employers to support diversity and inclusion in their workplace.

The Guide on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Terminology – A comprehensive toolset and resources to foster empathy, curiosity, and conversations with others in the workplace to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – The Government of Canada’s overview of the charter of rights and freedoms and how it can be applied in the workplace.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity – Programs and resources that support equal opportunities for all youth through accessible and inclusive programs in the skilled trades.

EDI Spectrum Assessment – A self-diagnostic toolkit to help your organization self-assess where it lands on the equity, diversity, and inclusion spectrum. A great tool to track your organizations progress and next steps!

Employment Equity Groups – The Government of Canada’s comprehensive list of the four designated groups under the Employment Equity Act, including women, aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minorities.

How Do Women in Male-dominated Apprenticeships Fare in the Labour Market – A detailed analysis of why increasing women’s participation in male dominated skilled trades has improved skilled workforce, diversity, and women’s wages. Analysis includes relevant data of the labour markets, apprenticeship trends, education, and hiring rates.

Using Balance to Build – Supporting Gender Diversity in NL Construction Trades – Strategies and blueprints for employers to develop diversity cultures in the workplace to foster an inclusive and accepting community. Suggested tools and resources to create a respectful workforce and remove barriers.