Difference between Equity & Equality?

Canadian Equality Consulting is a diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting firm. We believe it is essential to understand the key differences between the terms equity and equality, as they both require different approaches and produce different outcomes. Our DEI consulting services are centered around building equitable processes, policies and programs, while ensuring that all individuals have equal access to resources and opportunities in their workplaces. This blog will explore the distinctions between these terms and discuss how workplaces can foster both equity and equality.

At CEC, we define Equity as, “The fair treatment of all people with the recognition that individualistic measures will be required to address the disparities associated with social and historical disadvantages for groups with diverse needs and experiences.” Equity is channeled through a needs-based approach and focuses on ensuring that all individuals have the unique resources they need to perform and participate in their jobs.

Examples of demonstrating equity in the workplace include:

  • Having wheelchair-friendly workspaces and common areas
  • Ensuring your communication channels are accessible
  • Removing gendered language from all job descriptions, policies, templates, emails, etc.

As discussed in our DEI trainings, our definition of Equality is framed around the understanding that all individuals do not share the same lived experience and therefore do not have access to the same opportunities. With that in mind, approaches to equality focus on changing structures and systems that create inequities in the first place. Ultimately, prioritizing equality is the way to eliminate systemic barriers in the workplace. However, we encourage you to remember that systemic barriers can only be removed if equity has been in place and is working, and there is a larger systemic or institutional shift.

Examples of demonstrating equality in the workplace include:

  • Conducting DEI employee surveys to identify gaps in the organization
  • Ensuring that job postings are available on boards that are accessible to equity-deserving communities
  • Using the floating statutory holiday model to allow employees to choose which holidays they wish to observe based on their cultural and/or religious backgrounds

We chose to include ‘equality’ in our name, Canadian Equality Consulting, because we believe in the importance of innovating workplace to ensure they recognize, value, and accommodate the individual needs of its employees. We work towards achieving equality every day and we do so by designing, creating and leading equity initiatives.

Canadian Equality Subscription Services offers a wide variety of resources that demonstrate the importance of focusing on both equity and equality as two separate methods to achieving an inclusive workplace. CEC Subscription Services include DEI tools and toolkits; microlearning videos; e-learning; Commemorative Diversity Date calendar + info sheets; Commemorative Date e-courses; a community of practice; on-the-spot coaching; and other DEI consulting services.

For support in your DEI journey, or to inquire about any of the CEC Subscription Services mentioned above, contact [email protected]. Additionally, CEC posts monthly blogs which we encourage you to stay updated with to understand how you can continue to cultivate an inclusive workplace for all.

Categories: Blog