Historically, white men and white women have been the dominating community in society and institutions and continue to be so. However, the essay writer difference from now and back then is that they are being challenged through legislation, regulations and institutions to fight against minorities for what they think is their rightful spot in a post-secondary programs, graduate programs, law schools, business schools, job opportunity etc. This came to be during the 1970’s as a result of the civil rights movement as they were fighting against extreme discrimination, segregation, abuse, violence, and inequality the black community was facing in society, school, and work. In the United States of America, this is called “Affirmative Action.” In Canada, it is called “Employment Equity.” For the purpose of this paper, I will take on the American term as it works as an umbrella term that covers more than just employment. It can be defined as,
“Under federal regulation, employers who received contracts, grants and other benefits from the US government were required to collect and report data on the composition of their workforce and to set goals and timetables for hiring in order to improve the representation of disadvantaged groups that were underrepresented relative to relevant labour markets. These groups included women, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, American Indians, and persons with disabilities (Agócs and Burr, 1996).”
Hence, I will argue that affirmative action is not reverse discrimination. Rather, it is an approach to equality that attempts to eliminate the challenges faced by individuals in the enumerated or analogous groups identified in s.15 of the Charter. For reference, s.15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedom states
“Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”
To summarize briefly, the case Quebec vs A is about a couple Eric and Lola and their three children. Lola and Eric were not legally married, they were a de facto couple. Eric did provide for Lola and the children. Lola often accompanied Eric on his business trips and travels. In February 2002, Lola filed a motion in the Superior Court of Québec, asking for the sole custody of the children as well as child support from Eric. Eventually, Lola’s case ended up in the Supreme Court of Canada as she argued that excluding de facto spouses from the Civil Code of Quebec (CCQ) provisions permitting property-sharing and alimony on the collapse of marriages and civil union relationships violates the equality guaranteed in the Charter under s.15. This case led to a lot of discussion about what constitutes equality and discrimination. In short, this case was put through the Kapp test where the justices had to decide if,
(1) Does the law create a distinction based on an enumerated or analogous ground?
(2) Does the distinction create a disadvantage by perpetuating prejudice or stereotyping?
The final decision came to be that the CCQ maintained the status quo for de facto spouses. In the end, the result is that the status quo is maintained for de facto spouses in Quebec. The situation is clear: in the event of separation, there exists no right to spousal support or to the division of property of the de facto spouse that is not the owner.
The reason why this case holds such significance in relation to affirmative action policies is because of a few things that were discussed in the case. For example, Justice McIntyre J.’s definition of discrimination helped understand and clarify what constitutes “disadvantage”, she states:
. . . discrimination may be described as a distinction, whether intentional or not but based on grounds relating to personal characteristics of the individual or group, which has the effect of imposing burdens, obligations, or disadvantages on such individual or group not imposed upon others, or which withholds or limits access to opportunities, benefits, and advantages available to other members of society (Justice McIntyre, paragraph 322).
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When the white man claims that there is a reverse discrimination at play when institutions utilize affirmative action policies, it is important to remind them about the historical significance that attributes to the implementation of affirmative action policies. For example, racially segregated schools, residential schools, white’s only water fountains, and much more. There has always been a lack of equality for visible minorities for the past hundreds and thousands of years. Finally, in the 21st century when the government is attempting to level the playing field and diversify institutions, the white community is claiming reverse discrimination. They need to understand that affirmative action is not a free pass, rather it is compensatory damages for the insurmountable number of injustices faced by visible minorities. This situation can is comparable to the holocaust. After World War 2, Jewish people who survived the holocaust received a large sum in compensatory damages to the state of Israel after World War II from Germany. The Germans did not claim reverse discrimination when they did not receive any compensation because Germans were affected as well, some directly, some indirectly.
Argument 1: Historical inequality and lack of equality in the present
The concept of inequality
Two distinctions must be done in understanding inequalities. First, there is a difference between the unequal distribution of desirable life outcomes and the unequal distribution of opportunities. Second, there is a distinction between unequal distribution of opportunities and outcomes for individuals and for social groups. It must be emphasized that opportunity can be considered as an integral part of interaction among individuals and their environment. Due to the variety of backgrounds, resources, and societal dispositions, individuals may not receive “equal opportunity” from an environment (Carter and Reardon, 2014). It is insufficient to consider the social rights of people. It is necessary to think of the benefits that these rights result to. Paus-Hasebrink, Kulterer and Sinner (2019) highlighted that the term “socially disadvantaged circumstances” is not only about the material level but is also inclusive of the entire living conditions. This clearly exhibits the contrast with individuals in better conditions and relates to inequality. As such, social inequality implies the need to remove disadvantages. Between-group inequality exists when race, ethnicity, gender, religion, immigrant status and other related factors correlate to social disadvantage (Carter and Reardon, 2014). According to the report of Rowlingson (2011), various studies suggest that there is a correlation between income inequality and problems relating to health and community. It has been observed that “those with higher incomes do better on a range of outcomes.” As such, improved status in the socio-economic ladder means an increase in health condition and benefits. Nonetheless, the social anxiety caused by income inequality was considered as the root cause. The status competition and stress that people experience due to income inequality are the actual reasons for the problems in health and community, especially today.
Inequality has long been present in the world, even in Canada. One manifestation of this is the establishment of residential schools in the 19th century. Residential schools were government-sponsored religious schools that aimed to introduce Euro-Canadian culture to indigenous children in order to assimilate them. The Christian church and the Canadian government created residential schools to educate and convert indigenous youth as they are perceived to be the future of Canada. The federal government saw the residential schools as a way to make First Nations economically independent, thus decreasing the dependence of the indigenous people on public funds (Miller, 2019). In 1844, the Bagot Commission recommended education as a way of assimilating the Indian population and proposed an education system composed of farm-based boarding schools to keep the children away from the influence of their families. In 1883, Canada’s Prime Minister and Minister of Indian Affairs, Sir John A. Macdonald, authorized the creation of three residential schools in the Canadian West. Such schools were expected to train students in various trades. Approximately 150,000 First Nations, Metis, and Inuit children attended the residential schools between the 1870s and the mid-1990s (Wilk, Maltby, and Cooke, 2017). Indigenous parents who do not send their children to residential school may be imprisoned (GWNT, GN and Legacy of Hope Foundation, 2013). In 1920, the Indian Act was revised to make attendance at residential schools compulsory for all indigenous children aged 7 to 15 years. A “half-day system” was introduced by the school administrators who were primarily priests. In the “half-day system,” older students work during half of the day, thus further decreasing their time spent on formal education (GWNT, GN and Legacy of Hope Foundation, 2013). Children were reportedly abused physically, sexually, psychologically, and/or spiritually. This resulted to health problems, substance use, suicide, criminal acts, and damaged familial ties. In addition, the residential schools were poorly funded, leaving the children under poor living conditions that led to sickness and death (Wilk, Maltby, and Cooke, 2017). By the 1940s, it was obvious that the residential schools were not effective and were detrimental to the indigenous people. By the 1970s, the federal government took measures to transfer the education system to the indigenous people themselves. The last residential school closed in 1996 (GWNT, GN and Legacy of Hope Foundation, 2013).
Since the closing of the residential school system, students began to share the abuses they suffered in the schools. In 1998, the federal government announced an initiative called Gathering Strength – Canada’s Aboriginal Action Plan that featured a fund to support the healing of the affected indigenous minorities. The Aboriginal Healing Foundation was also established. In 2007, the Canadian government implemented the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement that aimed to pay all surviving former students of the residential schools, conduct assessment processes to address the abuse, have healing initiatives, have a fund for commemoration projects, and establish the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). By 2008, the Canadian government and most of the involved church denominations involved in the residential school system issued their respective public apologies (GWNT, GN and Legacy of Hope Foundation, 2013).
The residential school system emphasized the existence of inequality. As earlier stated, between-group inequality exists when race, ethnicity, gender, religion, immigrant status and other related factors correlate to social disadvantage (Carter and Reardon, 2014). This between-group inequality was established with the rise of residential schools as the indigenous youth were abused and given inferior education. Aside from the TRC and the efforts of the local governments, the federal government of Canada should continue to spread awareness regarding the reality of the residential school system and the continuing impacts of it. This is significant because public awareness can help the entire Canadian society in recovery and reconciliation.
Lack of equality in the present
The employment and work status in Canada have changed for the past years. According to Jackson and Thomas (2017), work has become more insecure, income inequality has worsened, and a large number of workers find themselves “working on the edge.” People have been confused on the extent of their work loads and schedules, making them want additional flexibility. Entering the labour market has also been more demanding. Fresh graduates and young workers are having difficulty in meeting job qualifications and credentials. On the other hand, older workers are struggling in finding good retirement benefits with stable income.
Inequality is a key factor in the said status of the labour market. It was reported that in 2007, approximately 17.9 million people were in the labour market with a participation rate of 67.6%. There was a 0.4 percentage points increase from the previous year. However, it is predicted that the participation rate will decline in the next two decades due to the aging of the current young generation and the low fertility rate in the past years. To solve this, immigration has been encouraged. However, the discrimination and unequal access to opportunities and societal benefits carried on. In addition, there is still an income gap among genders, despite the improved participation of women in the labour market. Last 2007, 47.3% of all workers were women. Further, the largest employment gains were in the service sector, which was dominated by women. Also, women had a lower unemployment rate than men in 2007 due to the growth of the service industries (Statistics Canada, 2009). Many Canadians work in low-income jobs. In 2000, approximately two million workers earned less than $10 per hour, making them poor despite having full-time, full-year jobs (Law Commission of Canada, 2004). The inequality in the distribution of income resulted to high levels of poverty and gave emphasis on the issues of inequality in terms of race, ethnicity, citizenship status, gender, age, and disability, to name a few. For example, DeGraffenreid v. General Motors case revolves on how a black woman was discriminated against by GMC during hiring, but the company argued that they did not discriminated for they already had black workers and women workers. Nonetheless, they did not have black women workers. Sociologists highlighted that it is innate for humans to develop their own potentials, grab opportunities, and be part of social relationships with work. The class-based inequalities in the job market put emphasis on how power relations in the workplace intersect with gender, race, ability, and citizenship status of the workers (Jackson and Thomas, 2017).
Argument 2: Intersectionality and discrimination
The intersectionality theory
Intersectionality is described as “the most important theoretical contribution that women’s studies (…) has made so far.” It acknowledges that various identity categories can intersect and co-exist in an individual that makes a qualitatively unique experience in comparison to having the individual characteristics. Intersectionality exhibits that: “Gender reaches into disability; disability wraps around class; class strains against abuse; abuse snarls into sexual orientation; sexual orientation folds on top of race (…) everything finally piling into a single human body” (Smith, 2016).
Kimberlé Crenshaw originated the term and used the position of black women in the American society as an example. In anti-racist campaigns, black women were not given much attention as the campaigns focused on the black women. On the other hand, feminist campaigns were primarily led by white women, thus the campaigns also focused on their experiences and needs. Because of these, a “single-axis” model of identity that would be used in discrimination law would not likely help black women for their experiences and needs encompass the individual narratives of “woman” and “black.” Other intersections include that of disability with race or those concerning sexual orientation (Smith, 2016). In a study that focused on the intersection of gender and race, quantitative data from the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality was utilized. The study investigated how the attitudes of white people on affirmative action programs are affected by gender or racial stereotypes on African Americans. The affirmative action programs in focus were (1) job hiring and education and (2) hiring and promotion. Results suggested that “gender/racial prejudice towards Black women and Black men influences Whites’ opposition to affirmative action at different levels than negative attitudes towards Blacks as a group.” The prejudice towards black women were more impactful to the policy preferences of white people in comparison to prejudice towards black men or black people (Steinbugler, Press & Dias, 2006).
Intersectionality and discrimination law
Intersectionality is applied in discrimination law. However, it must be first emphasized that intersectional discrimination is one form of multiple discrimination. The other form is additive discrimination. Multiple discrimination, in general, revolves on “experiences of discrimination based on more than one ground.” Nonetheless, only intersectional discrimination is able to sufficiently analyze the lived experiences of individuals with intersectional characteristics. Additive discrimination happens when discrimination takes place on multiple grounds, but “each element making up this discrimination can be kept separate.” As such, the instances of discrimination may be experiences at different times or simultaneously, but the discrimination only has a quantitative effect that “increases in size but not in nature.” This highlights the act of discrimination as a “many layered blanket of oppression” (Smith, 2016).
Argument 3: Court’s perspective on equality in the Quebec vs. A case
The Supreme Court’s findings
In the case Quebec vs. A, Lola challenged the provisions of the Quebec Civil Code (CCQ) that allow married couples to split family property and request for spousal support from the other spouse. Lola argued that the non-applicability of this law to married couples highlights the law being discriminatory against her based on her marital status and is unconstitutional. The courts had to determine if the law discriminated against common law couples and violated the right to equality under section 15(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A law that violates a right guaranteed in the Charter should be found as unconstitutional and must be changed. Nonetheless, the Charter rights are not absolute. This is highlighted in section 1 of the Charter, which states that a law can limit rights if the government can prove that the limits is reasonably justified. In the case, the Supreme Court found that the law violated the Charter, but that the violation can be justified under section 1, thus making the law constitutional (Ontario Women’s Justice Network, 2017).
The decision of the Supreme Court affects women who are from such relationships, given that they are increasing in number in Canada. Between 2006 and 2011, Statistics Canada reported that the number of common law couples rose to 13.9%, while the number of married couples only rose to 3.1%. Therefore, the decision of the Supreme Court excludes a large portion of its citizens from property division and support rights under family law (Ontario Women’s Justice Network, 2017).
The decision of the Supreme Court highlighted the individuals’ right in choosing how they organize and deal with their interpersonal relationships. Nonetheless, it is also based on the assumption that everyone can choose on whether they marry or not. It does not recognize the fact that there are women in common law relationships who desire to get married but are just not given the opportunity by their partner. Furthermore, it fails to acknowledge the existence of abuse and harassment in most relationships wherein women are the common victims. The case of Eric and Lola is a good example for this since Lola wanted to get married but Eric did not. Because they had a child, Lola had no choice but to stay in a common law relationship despite not being happy with that arrangement. The impact of such arrangements could be more detrimental for women who are challenged by language barriers or other problems that interfere with them having a clear understanding of their own rights. Often, they are not given easy access to legal sources. As such, they may not know that they have the same rights as married partners (Ontario Women’s Justice Network, 2017).
Gender norms, gender inequality and social insecurity
Frendo (2013) described a gender role as “the behaviours, attitudes and beliefs that a particular culture associates with the roles of men and women”. She stated that gender roles are created and changed by the society. She further stated that first relevant studies and analysis on the connection of gender views and the media started during the Second Wave Feminism in the 1950’s.
Women and men are described stereotypically. Men are described as “active, adventurous, powerful, sexually aggressive and largely uninvolved in human relationships” whole women are described as “sex objects who are usually young, thin, beautiful, passive, dependent, and often incompetent and dumb”. Most times, women in television and films focus on enhancing their physical images and on beautifying their homes (Wood, 1994). It was revealed that sexualization is “the standard for female characters globally” because women and girls are more displayed in sexually revealing attires and are five times more described as “attractive” than men and boys (Lantagne, 2014).
Last 2007, women had a lower unemployment rate than men due to the growth of the service industries (Statistics Canada, 2009). Further, the Female Leadership Crisis report stated, “The female executive population is projected to decline by more than 50 percent over the next decade. If the status quo remains, women will comprise just 15 percent of executive ranks by 2027, compared to 35 percent today–a trend in the wrong direction” (Hazzard, 2018). There has been inequality in the distribution of income, which has resulted to high levels of poverty and gave emphasis on the issues of inequality in terms of gender. Wood (1994) highlighted that men are preferred by human resource personnel due to their assumed better physical abilities. For scenarios like this in the workplace, the primary decisions and changes needed are made by the human resource personnel, the managers, and the entire administration of the company. They are also affected by the government laws and regulations that oftentimes promote gender equality. In general, Jackson and Thomas (2017) emphasized that the class-based inequalities in the job market put emphasis on how power relations in the workplace intersect with gender, race, ability, and citizenship status of the workers.
In resolving issues concerning gender inequality, it is important to voice out opinions to the administration, the government, or any higher authority. This may not be enough, but this could be a call to address the problem. The most plausible way to address the problem of gender inequality is to engage in collective action. These would involve the participation in unions, signing of petitions, and organization of social movements. It is likely that people engage in collective action when they observe the group differences by themselves. It must be emphasized that the underrepresentation of women shows how the community fails in reflecting the society’s current situations. Women compose approximately half of the human population. However, the numerous people still continue to portray women as inferior in number and in various other aspects.
With the existence of gender inequality in the society, women like Lola who come from common law relationships further face social insecurity. This social insecurity exists when groups or communities define a development or improvement as a threat to their own living or survival as a group or community (Buzan et al., 1998). The primary reason for insecurity is the lack of resources because it limits the way of living of people. Social insecurity has two key ideas. First, it is defined by social terms and us not solely based in material circumstances. For instance, poor people can be insecure due to their lack of options, but there are cases when poor people are not insecure due to guaranteed jobs given by the government. As such, poverty does not define the level of security. Social position does. Second, social insecurity can be described in terms of rights and responsibilities. Rights and responsibilities are necessary to belong in a society. To address the lack of basic security, social protection is given in large part by the government and is manifested in the provision of basic services and rights in the law (Edwards and Glover, 2002).
Argument 4: Individualism versus egalitarianism
Lola asked for compensation after her separation from Eric. This compensation is for compensatory damages that she believed was incurred. Compensatory damages are “damages in satisfaction of, or in recompense for, loss or injury sustained.” It also refers to damages that are “awarded as compensation for tortious conduct or breach of contract” (Sangco, 1993). When asking for compensatory damages, the individual must prove the legality of his or her request.
Individualism versus egalitarianism
This issue gives rise to the conflict between individualism and egalitarianism. In egalitarianism, the involved parties insist that they must start and end up equal. It emphasizes interconnectedness and the need to find solutions to problems immediately to avoid further problems. On the other hand, in individualism, the involved parties are self-interested and see other people as self-interested as well. This is not necessarily bad. Egalitarians pursue equality, while individualists pursue liberty (Favre & Sornette, 2016). After a conflict between two parties, they may come into a resolution and pursue individualistic or egalitarian settlements, which could be through the payment of compensatory damages. An example for this is the aftermath of the Holocaust where Germany paid a large sum of compensatory damages to the state of Israel after the Second World War.
The Court’s View on Equality for White People
According to Spicker (2006), equality can be defined simply as the removal of the disadvantage. Social inequality exists in different forms. There could be an unequal distribution of desirable life outcomes and an unequal distribution of opportunities. In addition, there could also be an unequal distribution of opportunities and outcomes for individuals and for social groups. It must be emphasized that opportunity can be considered as an integral part of interaction among individuals and their environment. These make it difficult for an individual to receive “equal opportunity” within an environment (Carter and Reardon, 2014).
A constitution is defined as “a set of fundamental principles according to which a country is governed while the charter is a bill of rights embedded in the law.” The Charter for the rights and freedoms in the Canadian constitution acknowledges the political rights to its citizens and the civil rights to all individuals who live in Canada. The Canadian charter of rights and freedom was enacted in 1984 as it replaced the Bill of Rights of 1960. The Charter covers all the rights that were in the Bill. However, the Charter provides greater protections to the citizens by adding more rights and freedom. As part of the Constitution, it would be difficult for future administrations to limit the rights and freedoms that the citizens currently enjoy. Hence, the Charter protects the citizens from any biased or unjustified changes in the law to be made by the government. It may also be said that it allows the people to challenge any abuse of power in the Canadian government or in the Canadian court system. The different categories included in the Charter are the following: elementary freedom, rights to democracy, rights of expression, and mobility rights among others. These rights preserve equality in the society as they are not exclusive to any group (Boyd, 1995). It must be recognized that the promotion of equality may entail the limiting of some people’s rights. For example, the rights of prisoners are taken away after they violated the law. With this kind of balance, equality can be achieved in the society.
There are three major theoretical perspectives in sociology, namely the functionalist perspective, the conflict perspective, and the symbolic interactionist perspective. For work reforms, the functionalist perspective provides the most useful insights. This perspective is primarily based on the works of Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim, Talcott Parsons, and Robert Merton. It revolves around the idea that the society is a system composed of various parts that work together in harmony to attain balance and equilibrium. The functionalist perspective highlights the interconnectedness of society by focusing on the influence of each part to the other parts and how one part is affected by the other parts (Mooney et al., 2011). In law reforms, the citizens and the government are dependent on one another in terms of achieving their respective goals. Then, there are activists and private sectors that influence and intervene to help alleviate the issues faced by the two parties. The functionalist perspective is manifested in the relationship and connections among all the sectors involved.
Law reforms need the active participation and cooperation of various groups of people and sectors in the society. Each group has a role to perform in order to avoid concentration of power and to ensure proper checks and balances. Given these, the functionalist perspective in sociology can be utilized in further improving the relationship among the groups. Accordingly, they must all work together to formulate and implement effective and efficient law reforms that benefit them all in order to achieve the balance and equilibrium that society desires.
Efforts of the Canadian Government
In the 20th century, the globalization of economic activities affected the Canadian economy and the labour market, wherein various plants ceased operation, jobs were lost due to downsizing, corporations had to reorganize and merge, and company operations had to relocate and expand outside Canada. The number of large corporations began to increase. Before this, individuals and families owned most of the manufacturing businesses. The entry of diverse owners resulted to problems in controlling the corporations. As such, managers served significant roles in controlling the said corporations. The managerial revolution emerged. The managerial revolution theory stated that managers, who were still workers, would prioritize both the company and the workers in making decisions (Krahn, Lowe and Hughes, 2010).
The federal Temporary Foreign Workers Program allows foreigners to come to Canada for a limited period of time to work. Most of these foreigners have no plans on immigrating or to apply for Canadian citizenship. As such, their rights as workers are often disregarded and oppressed because their presence in Canada is dependent on an individual employer. Numerous violations and abuses of rights of workers under this program have been reported. Increasing the wage of workers may help in reducing income inequality. However, increasing the supply of labour through this program is expected to alleviate the increase in wage. Paying workers with less money will only reinforce the trend in inequality (Block, 2013).
Employment standards and labour relations legislation must be strengthened to address labour market inequality. Studies show that there is decreasing union density rates in private entities. Alternative forms of employee representations have remained stagnant as well (Block, 2013; Law Commission of Canada, 2004). Approximately three-fourths of employees had access to at least one non-wage benefit in 2005. Health-related benefits and insurance plans remained as the most common types of non-wage benefits. The rate of access to non-wage benefits was higher among unionized workers (88.5%) than non-unionized workers (68.6%) (Statistics Canada, 2009). In addition to this, legislation must be modernized to address the concerns of present-day workplaces. There are still various exceptions and qualifications in labour-related laws that allow employers to avoid their full implementation. As such, customized agreements are made between the employers and employees for the said exemptions. These agreements are often more advantageous to the employer. Canadian legislation on labour relations and employment standards have prioritized large workplaces, but workplaces have changed. More specific laws and policies must be tailored for the increasing number of smaller workplaces. In particular, the austerity agenda made by the Canadian government must be reversed. The said agenda aimed to reduce the employment in the public sector in order to privatize public services. This will slow economic growth and lower the quality of public services, thus affecting the lives of low-income Canadians who may be dependent on the said services (Block, 2013).
The 1989 Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States and the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that included Mexico were negotiated by governments and were criticized by experts as these highlight the role of the government in the economy and the labour market. Through the years, the Canadian government sought to promote economic development, regulate the labour market, and decreased disadvantages among social groups. Brian Mulroney in Canada believed that the economy would improve with less participation and intervention of the state. It was assumed that free markets are best in determining who benefits and loses from economic restructuring (Krahn, Lowe and Hughes, 2010).
Krahn, Lowe and Hughes (2010) stated that 20th century Canada demonstrated bigger workplaces, new technologies, a more extensive division of work, increase in white-collar jobs, and a new class of managers as industrial capitalism boomed. The Canadian government was able to use labour market policies to reduce income inequality. However, prior to this, the Canadian government must be firm in determining its priorities. Who must benefit from the government? For whom are its laws and policies? The government must work in reducing the opportunity of employers to exploit their employees and in maintaining a good public sector employment.
Affirmative action is not reverse discrimination. Affirmative action is needed to achieve equality as it eliminates the challenges of individuals in the enumerated or analogous groups identified in s.15 of the Charter. Affirmative action programs and laws are significant as they help people who may experience discrimination due to unequal opportunities and intersectionality. Lola is a good example of an individual who was put at a disadvantage due to abuse and oppression, especially those found in common law relationships.
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