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The Reality of Weight-Based Discrimination in the Canadian Workplace

The Reality of Weight-Based Discrimination in the Canadian Workplace 

1 in 8 Canadians reported experiencing weight-based discrimination, according to a recent survey by Statistics Canada. For those working in the Canadian workplace, this number is even higher: 1 in 4 people have experienced workplace discrimination based on their weight. At Global Learning, we believe it is important to understand the realities of weight-based discrimination in the Canadian workplace and how it can be combated.


The Consequences of Weight-Based Discrimination

Weight-based discrimination can have serious consequences for employees and employers alike. Employees who experience discrimination may suffer from depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and feelings of isolation—all of which are linked to reduced job performance and poorer overall health. Employers also face potential financial losses due to decreased productivity and increased turnover rates among employees who feel discriminated against.


Statistics Canada's survey also found that overweight women were more likely than men to be treated unfairly at work (41% vs. 27%). This difference between men and women is even bigger when you look at specific industries. For example, women working in health care or social assistance were nearly twice as likely as men to say they were treated differently because of their weight (54% vs. 28%). It is clear that weight-based discrimination disproportionately affects certain groups more than others.


Combating weight-based discrimination

It is essential for employers to take proactive steps to combat weight-based discrimination in the workplace. Firstly, organizations should ensure they have a comprehensive diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging policy that covers not only weight but other forms of bias as well. Secondly, employers should ensure they are providing training around topics such as unconscious bias, fatphobia, and systemic oppression so that all staff members understand why these issues are important and how they can be addressed. Finally, organizations should create an open culture where employees feel safe discussing their experiences with management without fear of retribution or judgement; this will lead to a more inclusive environment overall.


Weight-based discrimination is still a substantial problem in Canadian workplaces, and it can hurt both employees and employers in serious ways. At Global Learning, we try to give our clients the education they need to create environments that are diverse and fair for everyone, no matter what size or shape they are. We think that organizations can make momentous steps toward ending this kind of systemic oppression in our workplaces for good by doing things like putting comprehensive policies in place, giving the right training, and creating an open culture where no one is judged or punished. Through our training programs, we give organizations the tools they need to spot and deal with all forms of discrimination, which can lead to higher levels of productivity, employee satisfaction, and employee retention. By prioritizing diversity and inclusivity in the workplace, companies can create a more positive and supportive environment for all employees.


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