Removing the "Canadian experience" barrier

Removing the “Canadian experience” barrier

Removing the “Canadian experience” barrier in employment and rights and responsibilities under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

thumbnail: eLearning for employment agencies
eLearning for employment agencies
thumbnail: eLearning for employers
eLearning for employers
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eLearning for job seekers

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Removing the "Canadian experience" barrier: eLearning for employment agencies

Transcript Removing the “Canadian Experience” Barrier eLearning for Employment Agencies Narrator: Hello and welcome to this short video about removing the Canadian experience barrier. This video is for employment agencies that want to comply with the Ontario Human Rights Code while continuing to meet their clients’ needs. You will learn how removing requirements for Canadian work experience will help develop more diverse, inclusive workplaces, and also help recruit the best talent for the job. You will also learn how to support jobseekers and increase their opportunities to find work in their chosen field. We’ll talk about how employers might ask for Canadian experience, the Ontario Human Rights Code, your responsibilities under the Code, legitimate employment requirements, how employment agencies can support both employers and jobseekers, and additional resources to supplement this video.[BS1] Juan is an employer who uses Roman’s employment agency to recruit new staff. He has asked Roman to recruit staff for two jobs, and has brought the job descriptions and interview questions for Roman. Click on the thumbnails to read the job descriptions and interview questions. You probably noticed that the job descriptions and interview questions asked for Canadian experience, in one way or another. A Canadian experience requirement can exclude some skilled immigrants from the job pool. What do you think Roman should tell Juan about his job ads and interview questions? Write your answer in the text box on your screen, in your own words. Roman said that he wants to remove barriers that might cause discrimination, to make sure Juan’s organization is complying with the Code. He also tells Juan that Canadian experience requirements might prevent Juan [BS2] from meeting candidates with international experience and the ability to make important contacts. Removing Canadian experience requirements can also make sure that employment agencies and employers don’t discriminate against potential candidates. The Human Rights Code is an Ontario law that gives everyone equal rights and opportunities for jobs. Some rules or practices may result in unequal treatment. A job ad or hiring process that blocks people who don’t have Canadian experience can hurt newcomers to Canada, even though they may have experience in another country and can do the job. The OHRC says that a strict requirement for Canadian experience is discriminatory and can only be used in limited circumstances. Not hiring someone because of where they worked before may be discrimination based on race, ancestry, colour, place of origin or ethnic origin. Section 23(4) of the Code prevents an employer from using an employment agency to hire people based on preferences related to Code grounds. Some respondents to an OHRC survey on Canadian experience said that the barriers they encountered were put in place by employment agencies. For example, some recruiters did not shy away from saying that the employer is looking for people with Canadian work experience.” Section 23(4) of the Code prohibits employers from using an employment agency to recruit, select, screen or hire people based on whether they have Canadian work experience. Fortunately, there are ways to recruit qualified candidates that eliminate the Canadian experience barrier. Instead of asking for Canadian experience, employers should be clear about the specific qualifications they are seeking. For example, if the ability to communicate effectively is what is required, they should state this clearly and give applicants the opportunity to show this skill. Employment requirements and duties should be reasonable, genuine and directly related to doing the job. Applicants should be given the opportunity to establish relevant skills and experience in a variety of ways. See if you can find a legitimate employment requirement to replace each Canadian experience requirement for the job requirements on your screen: How can you make sure that your clients are recruiting qualified candidates, while following the Code and human rights principles? The hiring process should be clear and open. Have job ads talk about the exact skills and work experience needed for the job. Give applicants the chance to show their skills during interviews and even in a simulated job setting. Here are some more best practices:

Use competency-based methods to assess an applicant’s skill and ability to do the job Consider all relevant work experience – regardless of where it was obtained Frame job qualifications or criteria in terms of competencies and job-related knowledge and skills Review job requirements and descriptions, recruitment/hiring practices and accreditation criteria to make sure they do not present barriers for newcomer applicants

For a full list of best practices from the Policy, visit http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/policy-removing-%E2%80%9Ccanadian-experience%E2... Now that you’ve learned about legitimate employment requirements and best practices, see if you can replace the Canadian experience requirements from Roman’s job descriptions and interview questions with legitimate employment requirements, using your own words. Newcomers should be able to access job opportunities that match their education, skills and experience, and be given the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to their new homeland. Employment agencies should advise job seekers about their rights under the Code, and provide support. You can start by referring them to the OHRC’s resources for jobseekers, including an eLearning module and a brochure, which are available on the OHRC website and in the resources section at the end this module. Businesses that welcome and invest in newcomers will benefit from the skills and rich experience they have to offer, and will enhance their ability to compete in the modern global economy. Taking steps to foster environments that respect human rights will help protect organizations from findings of liability because they did not appropriately address discrimination. If an employer asks you to include a Canadian experience requirement in a job ad or interview question, you are usually obligated to say no. You have a responsibility to inform employers about their responsibilities under the Code, and why Canadian experience requirements may be discriminatory. An employment agency can be added as a respondent in a human rights claim if they discriminate on behalf of an employer. You can also direct employers to the OHRC’s resources for employers, including an eLearning module and brochure about the Canadian experience barrier. I hope that you now understand the importance of removing Canadian experience requirements, and I hope we’ve given you some useful tools to help you eliminate the Canadian experience barrier for employers and jobseekers. For more information and resources, please select the links on your screen. Thank you for taking part in this eLearning program! Removing the “Canadian Experience” Barrier eLearning for Employment Agencies Transcript at http://ohrc.on.ca/en/learning/removing-canadian-experience-barrier/remov...

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Removing the "Canadian experience" barrier: eLearning for employers

Transcript Removing the “Canadian Experience” Barrier eLearning for Employers and Human Resources Professionals Narrator: Hello and welcome to this short video about removing the Canadian experience barrier. This video is for employers and human resources professionals who want to comply with the Ontario Human Rights Code and learn how removing requirements for Canadian experience will help their organization develop a more diverse, inclusive workplace, and help them recruit the best talent for the job. We’ll talk about why some employers ask for Canadian experience, the Ontario Human Rights Code and your responsibilities under the Code. We’ll also talk about legitimate employment requirements and best practices that you can start using right away. At the end there’s a list of additional resources. When we talk about Canadian experience, we mean experience working in Canada. What is the Canadian Experience barrier? Some employers ask people applying for jobs if they have “Canadian experience.” That can make it much harder for people new to Canada to find work. Click the links on your screen to see examples of the Canadian experience barrier in a job ad, a job application form, and in interview questions. Canada is home to immigrants from all over the world. Seen as a place of opportunity, peace and democratic governance, Canada has been able to attract highly-skilled immigrants. Canada’s culture, society and economy have been greatly enriched by their contributions. In fact, Canada relies on the contributions of immigrants for its economic well-being and ability to compete internationally. Baby boomers are retiring and other skilled workers and professionals are in short supply. Skilled immigrants can offer the talent you need. Immigrants can meet your recruitment goals and contribute valuable knowledge about local and international markets. Yet Statistics Canada identified employer requirements for Canadian work experience as the most common barrier for newcomers looking for meaningful employment in Canada. This barrier continued to exist two years after their arrival. Canadian organizations have a need for experienced talent. But at the same time, skilled immigrants are having significant difficulty finding work. Why do some employers ask for Canadian work experience? Some employers may mistakenly believe that the only way for a job applicant to show that they “have what it takes” to be effective or “fit” in a Canadian workplace is to already have experience working in Canada. These employers may think that they can use a Canadian experience requirement as a short-cut to measure a person’s competence and skills. Some employers may not be comfortable with international experience and references. In some cases, employers might use a Canadian experience requirement way of discriminating against people who come from outside Canada. A Canadian experience requirement can exclude skilled immigrants, and may result in discrimination. Some employers aren’t reaching out to all potential qualified candidates, like candidates with international experience. Fortunately, there is a way to recruit qualified candidates that eliminates the Canadian experience barrier. Instead of asking for Canadian experience, employers should be clear about the specific qualifications they are seeking. For example, if the ability to communicate effectively is needed, they should state this clearly and give applicants the chance to show this skill. Employment requirements and duties should be reasonable, genuine and directly related to doing the job. Applicants should be given the opportunity to show the relevant skills and experience in a variety of ways. Match each Canadian experience requirement with a legitimate employment requirement that could replace it, then press “Submit”. By removing Canadian experience requirements, employers can make sure that they don’t discriminate against potential candidates. The Human Rights Code is an Ontario law that gives everyone equal rights and opportunities for jobs. As we’ve seen, some rules or practices may result in unequal treatment. A job ad or hiring process that blocks people who don’t have Canadian experience can hurt newcomers to Canada, even though they may have experience in another country and can do the job. The OHRC’s position is that a strict requirement for Canadian experience is discriminatory and can only be used in limited circumstances. Not hiring someone because of where they worked before may be discrimination based on race, ancestry, colour, place of origin or ethnic origin. Organizations will help protect themselves from findings of liability by taking steps to foster environments that respect human rights. Prevent barriers at the design stage, like when developing job descriptions. In established systems, organizations should be aware of systemic barriers and actively seek to identify and remove them. Organizations and institutions have a responsibility to be aware of practices, policies and programs that have a negative impact or result in systemic discrimination against people or groups protected by the Code. Let’s look at some examples of best practices. How can you make sure that you’re recruiting qualified candidates, while following the Code and human rights principles? The hiring process should be clear and open. In job ads, talk about the exact skills and work experience needed for the job. Give applicants the chance to show their skills during interviews and even in a simulated job setting. Here are some more best practices: Use competency-based methods to assess an applicant’s skill and ability to do the job

  • Consider all relevant work experience – regardless of where it was obtained
  • Frame job qualifications or criteria in terms of competencies and job-related knowledge and skills
  • Review job requirements and descriptions, recruitment/hiring practices and accreditation criteria to make sure they do not present barriers for newcomer applicants

For a full list of best practices from the Policy, please select the link on your screen. Organizations can also ask these questions to see if their recruitment and hiring process is barrier-free and inclusive: Does my organization: Require applicants to have prior work experience in Canada to be eligible for a job?

  • Rely on subjective notions of “fit” when considering an applicant’s ability to succeed in the workplace?
  • Include a requirement for prior Canadian work experience in the job posting or ad?
  • Require applicants to disclose their country of origin or the location of their work experience on the job application form?
  • Ask applicants questions that may directly or indirectly reveal where they got their work experience?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it’s time to start including the best practices in your recruitment and hiring process. Now let’s look at part of a job ad that includes some Canadian experience requirements. In practice, qualified candidates may not be considered for this position because they lacked the Canadian experience criteria listed in the job ad. In the text box, reword the highlighted requirements to remove the Canadian experience barrier and replace them with legitimate employment requirements using your own words. Press “submit” when you are finished. Here are some examples of how you may have removed the Canadian experience barrier in the two highlighted sentences. By removing the Canadian experience barrier, you have taken an important step toward fulfilling your responsibilities under the Ontario Human Rights Code. You’ve also increased your chances of finding the most qualified person for the job. The legitimate employment requirements that we added: “You must have the ability to use North American industrial systems and equipment” can be tested at a job interview. By clearly asking applicants to describe their previous experience and indicate how they meet all of the job requirements, you can be sure that the people you pick for an interview are qualified for the job. I hope that you now understand the importance of removing Canadian experience requirements, and I hope we’ve given you some useful tools to help you eliminate the Canadian experience barrier. For more information and resources, please select the links on your screen. Thank you for participating in this eLearning program! Removing the “Canadian Experience” Barrier eLearning for Employers and Human Resources Professionals Transcript at http://ohrc.on.ca/en/learning/removing-canadian-experience-barrier/remov...

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Removing the "Canadian experience" barrier: eLearning for job seekers

Transcript “Removing the “Canadian Experience” Barrier eLearning for Job Seekers Bob: Hello, my name is Bob. Welcome to this short video about removing the Canadian experience barrier. A requirement for experience working in Canada is the most common barrier for newcomers looking for meaningful jobs in Canada. This barrier continues to exist at least two years after people arrive. This module is for jobseekers who come across the Canadian experience requirement when you are looking for work. Today, we’ll talk about your rights under the Ontario Human Rights Code, what Canadian experience barriers look like, why employers ask for Canadian experience and what to do if you are asked about Canadian experience. You’ll also find information on additional resources. Canada is home to immigrants from all over the world. Seen as a place of opportunity, peace and democratic governance, Canada has been able to attract highly-skilled immigrants. Canada’s culture, society and economy have been greatly enriched by their contributions. Canada relies on the contributions of immigrants for its economic well-being and ability to compete internationally. Did you know that: Immigrants make up 30 per cent of Ontario's current work force, or that Recent and very recent immigrants make up 8.2% of Ontario’s work force? Employers who ask for “Canadian experience” can make it much harder for people new to Canada to find work. Some “regulatory bodies” (such as the professional associations for accountants or doctors) also ask for Canadian experience. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (or OHRC) says that a strict requirement for Canadian experience is discriminatory and can only be justified in very limited circumstances. “Canadian experience” can’t tell you if a person has the skills or experience to do a job. For this reason, employers should ask about all of your previous work – where you got your experience should not matter. What does the Canadian experience barrier look like? This is an example of what we heard: Woman: I have worked all over Europe and I know that there is no problem like “European experience”. I believe that Canadian experience is a self-invented barrier to stop educated immigrants from getting into well-paid, high level jobs. Bob: The Human Rights Code is an Ontario law that gives you equal rights and opportunities for jobs. You have similar rights in other areas too, like housing and services. Some rules or practices may result in unequal treatment for newcomers to Canada. Even though they may have experience in another country and can do the job, requiring prior Canadian experience can block them from getting the job. Not hiring someone because of where they worked before may be discrimination based on race, ancestry, colour, place of origin or ethnic origin. The Human Rights Code says employers must not put out a job ad, use an application form, or ask a job applicant questions to find out about what are called “prohibited grounds of discrimination” in the Code. How will you recognize “Canadian experience” barriers? The “Canadian experience” requirement may be obvious: For example, an online add for a Bookkeeper/Accountant that reads: The successful candidate MUST: Have Canadian experience in public accounting office. But sometimes the “Canadian experience” requirement is subtle, particularly at a job interview. Let’s go through some questions and comments on Canadian experience that may come up at an interview: Tell me about your Canadian experience? Where did you get your work experience? Do you have any local references? Where did you attend high school? Canadian experience is superior to overseas experience. I’m not so sure about your credentials. Where did you get them? Why do some employers ask for Canadian work experience? Some employers mistakenly believe that the only way for a job applicant to show that they “have what it takes” to be effective or “fit” in a Canadian workplace is to already have experience working in Canada. These employers may use a Canadian experience requirement as a short-cut to measure a person’s competence and skills. Some employers may not be comfortable with international experience and references. In some cases, employers use a requirement for Canadian experience as a way of discriminating against people who come from outside Canada. Human rights principles establish that employment requirements and duties must be reasonable, genuine and directly related to doing the job. Instead of asking for Canadian experience, employers should be clear about the specific qualifications they are seeking. For example, if the ability to communicate effectively is needed, they should state this clearly and give applicants the opportunity to show this skill. Not hiring someone because of where they worked before may be discrimination based on race, ancestry, colour, place of origin or ethnic origin. Employers have the onus of showing that a requirement for Canadian experience is a bona fide requirement, based on an established legal test. Click on the link on your screen for more information. What if you’re asked questions about your Canadian experience? Asking about Canadian experience could be a way to find out about your race, ancestry, place of origin or ethnic origin. Some social service agencies, like employment services or newcomer service agencies, might be able to help by sending a letter and the Policy on removing the Canadian experience barrier to the employer or employment agency. You can also send a letter if you choose. There is a sample letter on the additional resources page that you can download, edit and send to employers or employment agencies. If you feel you’ve been discriminated against because of a Canadian experience requirement in a job ad, job application or interview, you can also file a complaint, called an application, with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. For more information about filing an application, select the link on your screen. Now let’s look at an interview scenario, to see what you might do if you’re asked about your Canadian experience. Before an interview, you can prepare for a question about Canadian experience and think about how you would respond. Please select how you might respond to the question on your screen. What if the employer hires through an employment agency? An employer must not use an employment agency to refuse to hire people based on Code grounds. This means that an employer can’t ask an employment agency to recruit, select, screen or hire people based on whether they have Canadian work experience. This also means that employment agencies cannot agree to an employer’s request to screen people out based on Canadian experience. When can the employer ask about “Canadian experience”? Employers should only ask specifically about “Canadian” experience if they can show it is really needed to do the job. To learn more about the employer’s responsibility to remove Canadian experience barriers, select the links on your screen. Thanks for taking part in this eLearning module. Here are some more resources that you might find helpful. “Removing the “Canadian Experience” Barrier eLearning for Job Seekers Transcript at http://ohrc.on.ca/en/learning/removing-canadian-experience-barrier/remov...

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