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Talking about Canadian experience (fact sheet)

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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