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The Code protects a woman because she is or was pregnant, may become pregnant, has just had a baby or other pregnancy-related situations.[27] Pregnancy includes the process of having a baby from conception up to the period following childbirth. It also includes the post-delivery period and breastfeeding.

The term “pregnancy” takes into account all the special needs and circumstances of a pregnant woman and recognizes that the experiences of women will differ. Special needs can be related to:

  • miscarriage
  • abortion
  • complications because of pregnancy or childbirth
  • conditions that result directly or indirectly from an abortion/miscarriage
  • recovery from childbirth
  • breastfeeding.

You have a right to be treated fairly at work. For example, during a job interview, an employer cannot ask:

  • “Are you pregnant?”
  • “Do you have a family?”
  • “Do you plan to have a family?”

It is contrary to the Code to fire you, demote you or lay you off (even with notice) because you are or may become pregnant.

If you are or may become pregnant, you have the right to keep your job and not to be passed over for benefits and opportunities, such as:

  • being hired or promoted
  • training
  • assignments to important or more challenging projects
  • resuming your job after your pregnancy or parental leave.

You also have a right to request changes to your job duties or rules that affect you for the sake of your health when you are pregnant. Your employer should accommodate your needs, unless doing so would cause undue hardship.

The rules about pregnancy leave, parental leave and maternity benefits are set out by the Employment Standards Branch of the Ministry of Labour (Ontario)[28] and by Service Canada (formerly Human Resources Development Canada).[29]

You have the right to use services, such as restaurants, malls or other public areas, and to breastfeed your child in public without being disturbed or harassed or asked to move to a more “discreet” area. You are also protected from discrimination in the areas of housing, contracts and membership in trade unions.

[27] For more detailed information, see the OHRC’s Policy on discrimination because of pregnancy and breastfeeding (2008).


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