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Employment

The Code states that every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to employment without discrimination or harassment because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or disability.

The right to “equal treatment with respect to employment”  covers every aspect of the workplace environment and employment relationship, including job applications, recruitment, training, transfers, promotions, apprenticeship terms, dismissal and layoffs. It also covers rate of pay, overtime, hours of work, holidays, benefits, shift work, discipline and performance evaluations. 

Relevant policies and guides: 

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Can an employer ask for a driver’s licence, when I am applying for a job?

    From: Frequently asked questions

    The Human Rights Code says employers must not use application forms or ask questions of job applicants, which directly or indirectly ask them to give information about a “ground of discrimination”.  For example, asking for information about a driver’s licence, when it may not be an essential duty of the job, may prevent or discourage someone from applying for a job - such as a person with a disability who is limited in their ability to drive.  Also, asking a job applicant to

  4. Can I fire a woman whose pregnancy is preventing her from doing the job she was hired to do?

    From: Frequently asked questions

    It is discrimination if you fire, demote or lay off an employee because she is or may become pregnant or she is away on maternity leave or disability leave related to pregnancy. Employers have a duty to accommodate a pregnant woman unless it would cause undue hardship. This may include changing her job duties temporarily or providing time off work.

  5. Appendix B – Human rights in the workplace: which laws?

    From: Human Rights at Work 2008 - Third Edition

    a) Federal legislation

    i) Canadian Human Rights Act

    The Canadian Human Rights Act (“CHRA”) applies to workplaces in federal organizations or industries that are regulated by the federal government. The Ontario Human Rights Code does not apply to such organizations. Both of these laws cannot apply at the same time. If one applies, the other does not.

    The choice of incorporating statute does not determine whether a company is provincially or federally regulated. The CHRA covers workplaces such as:

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