The concept of diversity goes beyond the historical employment equity legislation enacted both in federal and provincial jurisdictions. Employers that value diversity recognize the contributions that individuals from diverse groups can make to their organizations. Diversity-friendly organizations are totally inclusive. These organizations don’t just tolerate those who are different, but celebrate the differences of their members.
According to the International Personnel Management Association's Benchmarking Committee, "diversity efforts in the workplace facilitate the exchange of new perspectives, improve problem solving by inviting different ideas, and create a respectful, accepting work environment.” Surveys have demonstrated a positive impact on high performance where leadership teams include a diversity of ages, ethnicity, and gender. A diverse workforce also can improve organizational productivity and creativity. While managing a diverse community can be a challenge, there is also potential for great accomplishment. The key for employers is to make diversity an asset within the organization.
The Canadian labour market is undergoing deep, fundamental shifts due to an aging population, a growing demand for highly skilled workers, and an increasingly diverse population. By the year 2016, approximately two thirds of the Canadian population aged 15-64 will be made up of people from the four designated groups targeted by the Federal Contractors Program (women, visible minorities, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities).