Staffing decisions are among the most important and challenging activities that academic and administrative leaders are required to undertake.
Recruitment is becoming increasingly complex. Human rights legislation, collective agreements, human resources policies, and strategic planning objectives all have a direct impact on the staffing and selection process.
Staffing and selection decisions must be able to withstand scrutiny in the areas of equity, fairness, no-discrimination, and collective agreement requirements. Therefore, it is important to select staff with care and attention to all considerations required.
Individuals involved in the search, interview and selection process must be familiar with the various employment laws and the University’s policies as they relate to the staffing and selection process. Critical laws and policies include:
- The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, which can have a direct impact on the hiring practice.
- U of S employment equity statement and a representative workforce strategy
- U of S principles and guidelines concerning The Local Authority on Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
- Occupational Health & Safety Act
- Duty to Accommodate
- U. of S. Fair Employment Practices Policy (for hiring of relatives)
- Foreign Worker Requirements – Immigration
- The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination on the basis of ancestry, nationality and place of origin, religion, physical and mental disability, sex, marital status, family status, receipt of public assistance, sexual orientation and age. Workplaces cannot discriminate in wages, benefits, promotions, day-to-day operations, hiring and firing, recruitment ads, application forms and interviews.
The University of Saskatchewan is committed to achieving and maintaining a workforce, which reflects and affirms the diversity of our society, and works together in a discrimination-free environment, characterized by respect and equity.
As employers, we are responsible to provide an environment where people excel based on merit and the workplace is free from barriers in practice and attitude.
As a University, we need to create a supportive environment of equitable employment systems based on merit and alignment with the strategic directions.
The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission’s approval of the University’s Employment Equity program permits the University to give preference in hiring to qualified candidates from one or more of the designated employment equity groups. If the Search Committee agrees, and specifically related to the bona fide occupational requirements, preference may be given to members of a designated group (or groups).
In general, women, aboriginal people, and people with disabilities are under-represented in faculty positions.
Appropriate wording must be included in composing advertisements for positions. Language in all advertisements should be inclusive and gender neutral. All of the University’s advertisements include the following statements on employment equity, "The University is committed to Employment Equity. Members of Designated Groups (women, aboriginal people, people with disabilities and visible minorities) are encouraged to self-identify on their applications."
The recruitment process is designed to attract a representative group of qualified applicants to fill available positions.
- By focusing on the abilities and qualities necessary to perform the responsibilities of the job both in the job advertisement and in the interview and by conducting a well-planned recruitment process, interviewers will avoid the pitfalls of illegal and irrelevant queries. (See Section 3.2 Step 5 for questions that are prohibited.)
- If the criteria used to determine the best person for the job are not clear, non-job related criteria often creep into the selection process.
- The interview panel should include designated group members. By including designated group members when possible, the University conveys a message to designated group members that they are welcome and accepted.
Bona Fide Occupational Requirements
Bona fide occupational requirements are those abilities and education accomplishments required in an applicant for the applicant to perform the essential components of the job. They are limits that must relate directly to job performance and be necessary for the job to be done effectively and safely.
- In some situations, the abilities necessary to perform the essential job duties are related in some way to one of the protected classes.
- Human Rights laws in Canada allow organizations to carry out some recruitment activities that would otherwise be prohibited through law. They allow discrimination in employment if it is based on a bona fide occupation requirement.
- Job requirements must not inadvertently discriminate in any of the prohibited human rights grounds. It is important to determine the skills, abilities and qualifications required for candidates to be successful in the position and to highlight these in the web posting and in any advertising.
Bona fide occupational requirements and the job posting:
- Employers need to be able to defend the requirements listed in job postings or advertisements.
- Requirements over and above bona fide occupational requirement should be indicated as preferences or assets when advertising.
Please see the Adobe PDF file for more information about the The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Please see the Saskatchewan Labour website for more information about the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Employers in Canada have a legal duty to accommodate the special needs of individuals where these needs stem from one of the prohibited grounds. This is called the duty to accommodate and its goal is to create equality of opportunity and treatment in the workforce.
When an employment condition exists that adversely affects a person’s ability to work or continue to work because of a prohibited ground of discrimination, the employer has a legal duty to accommodate, up to the point of undue hardship.
For example, an employer might reasonably be expected to re-arrange an employee’s work schedule when the employee is unable to work on particular days because of their religion. Providing technical equipment to enable a person with a physical disability to work might be another reasonable accommodation.
Should there be any issues regarding employment of members of the same family, or regarding potential favouritism in the hiring process, the Selection Committee should be aware of specific considerations:
- University Fair Employment Practices Policy #2.1
- Conflict of interest – immediate family members are precluded from collegial decisions in which they could have a conflict of interest (Article 10.9 of the collective agreement between the University of Saskatchewan and the Faculty Association).
Anyone who is not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident must be authorized to work in Canada (i.e. obtain a work permit, or permanent resident status).
(a) Obtaining Human Resources & Skills Development Canada (HRDSC) Confirmation
Federal immigration regulations require that Canadians and permanent residents be given first opportunity for positions for which they are qualified and available. Prior to offering a position to a foreign worker, the search committee must be prepared to demonstrate that there are no qualified or available Canadians or permanent residents for the position. Typically this is proven through advertising and reviewing the candidate pool.
It is not sufficient to identify a non-Canadian as the ‘best’ candidate. Appointment to a position can only proceed if all Canadian and permanent resident applicants are ‘unqualified’ or ‘unavailable’. Qualifications should be evaluated against the criteria established by the search committee at the beginning of the process.
If a department wishes to recommend the appointment of a foreign worker, the department must complete the Foreign Academic Recruitment Summary form. Human Resources will submit this form and a case to HRSDC to request their approval (confirmation) of the employment offer. Once HRSDC has approved the job offer, Human Resources sends a copy of the HRSDC confirmation letter to the foreign worker. The foreign worker may then apply to Citizenship & Immigration Canada for a work permit, or in some cases, for permanent resident status.
When the foreign worker arrives at the University to commence employment, a copy of their work permit must be presented to Human Resources.
(b) Situations that do not require HRSDC Confirmation
Under some circumstances, confirmation from HRSDC is not required. However, the foreign worker still requires a work permit.
Individuals in the following categories may apply directly to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to obtain a work permit.
- Citizens of the USA, Mexico and Chile employed on a temporary basis as allowed by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
- Spousal exemption
- Visiting Professors
- Canada Research Chairs
- Guest Lecturers
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