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Race and related grounds

Under the Code, every person has the right to be free from racial discrimination and harassment in the social areas of employment, services, goods, facilities, housing accommodation, contracts and membership in trade and vocational associations. You should not be treated differently because of your race or other related grounds, such as your ancestry, ethnicity, religion or place of origin. 

Canada, its provinces and territories have strong human rights laws and systems in place to address discrimination. At the same time, we also have a legacy of racism – particularly towards Indigenous persons, but to other groups as well including African, Chinese, Japanese, South Asian, Jewish and Muslim Canadians – a legacy that profoundly permeates our systems and structures to this day, affecting the lives of not only racialized persons, but also all people in Canada.

Relevant policies: 

  1. A collective impact: Remarks by Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane (2018)

    From: Public interest inquiry into racial profiling and discrimination by the Toronto Police Service

    Toronto - On International Human Rights Day (December 10, 2018), the OHRC released A collective impact, the interim report on its inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination of Black persons by the Toronto Police Service. Read OHRC Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane's remarks.

  2. Under suspicion: Frequently asked questions

    What is racial profiling?

    Racial profiling is a specific type of racial discrimination that pertains to safety and security. The OHRC currently defines racial profiling as:

    [A]ny action undertaken for reasons of safety, security or public protection that relies on stereotypes about race, colour, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, or place of origin rather than on reasonable suspicion, to single out an individual for greater scrutiny or different treatment.

  3. E(RACE)r Summit on Race and Racism on Canadian University Campuses

    March 21, 2016 - Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane addressed attendees at the inaugural e(RACE)r Summit on Race and Racism on Canadian University Campuses, hosted by Wilfrid Laurier University’s Diversity and Equity Office and the Office of Aboriginal Initiatives, on the United Nations (UN) Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Read her speech.

  4. Removing the “Canadian experience” barrier – A guide for employers and regulatory bodies

    July 2013 - When an employer requires people applying for jobs to have “Canadian experience,” or where a regulatory body requires “Canadian experience” before someone can get accredited, they may create barriers for newcomers to Canada. Requiring “Canadian experience” could violate the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code), which protects people from discrimination based on grounds such as race, ancestry, colour, place of origin and ethnic origin.

  5. Removing the "Canadian experience" barrier (brochure)

    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. Some “regulatory bodies” (such as the professional associations for accountants or doctors) also ask for Canadian experience.

    The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) believes that asking for Canadian experience can result in discrimination. Employers and regulatory bodies should always have to show why Canadian experience is needed.

  6. Policy on Removing the “Canadian experience” barrier

    July 2013 - While the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) recognizes the significance of all of the barriers newcomers potentially face when trying to access the job market, this policy will focus on “Canadian experience” as an employment or accreditation requirement, and as a practice that raises human rights concerns. The OHRC’s position is that a strict requirement for “Canadian experience” is prima facie discrimination (discrimination on its face) and can only be used in very limited circumstances. The onus will be on employers and regulatory bodies to show that a requirement for prior work experience in Canada is a bona fide requirement, based on the legal test this policy sets out.

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