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Comparing Equity Policies in Canada and Northern Ireland: Policy Learning in Two Directions?


  • Carol Agocs
  • Bob Osborne


Employment equity has existed in Canada for 20 years and fair employment in Northern Ireland, in its strengthened form, almost that long. A comparison of the policy frameworks begins with Northern Ireland's adoption of Canada's legislation as its model. Canada's policy covers a limited proportion of its workforce and addresses disadvantage affecting women, racialized minorities, Aboriginal people, and persons with disabilities, while Northern Ireland's policy covers most employees and targets inequality between Catholics and Protestants. Implementation and enforcement of Canada's and Northern Ireland's policies differ. In Northern Ireland substantial progress has been made toward employment equality between Catholics and Protestants, while in Canada the four target groups continue to face significant disadvantage. Policy learning was initially from west to east, but it is timely now to consider the case for policy learning from east to west.

Suggested Citation

  • Carol Agocs & Bob Osborne, 2009. "Comparing Equity Policies in Canada and Northern Ireland: Policy Learning in Two Directions?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 35(2), pages 237-262, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:35:y:2009:i:2:p:237-262

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