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.
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:
- Policy on removing the "Canadian experience" barrier
- Human rights at work 2008 - 3rd edition
- Guidelines on developing human rights policies and procedures
- Policy on employment-related medical information
- Policy on drug and alcohol testing
- Policy on requiring a drivers license as a condition of employment
- Human rights maturity model (Canadian Human Rights Commission)
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.
Monday July 29, 2013, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. The OHRC is partnering with the Learning Enrichment Foundation to host a second event in Toronto to introduce the new Policy on removing the “Canadian experience” barrier.
July 2013 - In October 2012, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) hosted an online survey to learn more about the experiences of both job seekers and employers in dealing with requirements for Canadian experience. The survey was not about statistics – it was about giving people an opportunity to talk about the barriers they faced, and in the case of employers, the reasons for keeping or removing requirements for Canadian experience. We included many of stories and comments we heard in our new Policy on removing the “Canadian experience” barrier. The following sections highlight some of the recurring themes we heard, and some of the more poignant stories of people facing discrimination because they did not have Canadian experience.
1. What do you mean by a “Canadian experience” requirement?
While unequal power relationships exist in many sectors of society, they tend to appear the most in the workplace, where hierarchies are common. Both women and men may experience sexual harassment in employment, but women tend to be more vulnerable to harassment by men, because relative to men, more women hold lower-paying, lower-authority and lower-status jobs. At the same time, even women in positions of authority are not free from sexual harassment or inappropriate gender-related behaviour.
The ultimate responsibility for maintaining an environment free from sexual harassment rests with employers, housing providers, educators and other responsible parties covered by the Code. From a human rights perspective, it is not acceptable to choose to stay unaware of sexual harassment, whether or not a human rights claim has been made.
Monday, October 28, 2013 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission, City of Ottawa, Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership and Hire Immigrants Ottawa invite you to learn about the OHRC’s new Policy on removing the “Canadian experience” barrier.
Every person has the right to equal treatment in employment without discrimination based on Code grounds. In Ontario, about three-quarters of all human rights claims come from the workplace.
Employment is used in a very general way in the Code. Employees, independent contractors and volunteers are covered.
Sexual harassment in housing and workplaces
“Harassment” in this section means comments or actions based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression that are unwelcome to you or should be known to be unwelcome. They may include humiliating or annoying conduct. Harassment requires a “course of conduct,” which means that a pattern of behaviour or more than one incident is usually required for a claim to be made to the Tribunal. However, a single significant incident may be offensive enough to be considered sexual harassment.