Language selector

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

Page controls


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 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

Book Prev / Next Navigation