Language selector

Employment [35]

Page controls

Page content

Job advertisements

Advertisements for jobs should not refer, directly or indirectly, to prohibited grounds of discrimination. For example, an ad that says “We prefer hiring younger people” is not allowed.[36]

Application forms

Application forms should not contain questions that ask, directly or indirectly, about race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, record of offences, age, marital status, family status or disability. Employment-related medical questions that are part of the applicant screening process are also not allowed under the Code.[37]


An employer is looking for certified welders with “Canadian experience.” This ad may be discrimination because it could exclude welders who have qualified experience outside of Canada. To learn more about how the requirement for “Canadian experience” can be discrimination, see the OHRC’s Policy on removing the “Canadian experience” barrier.

Employment and driver’s licences

Employers should not request driver’s licences on job application forms because, first, it may screen out applicants with disabilities without first determining if someone can be accommodated, and second, it may allow the use of the licence to tell the person’s age.[38]

If operating a vehicle is an essential job duty (such as for a truck, bus or taxi driver or chauffeur), and if individual accommodation is not possible, the requirement for a valid driver’s licence may be stated in a job ad and discussed at an interview. A request for a driver’s licence number or a copy of the licence can be made following a conditional offer of employment.

Employment interviews

In job interviews , employers should only ask you questions needed to determine your qualifications or ability to do the job. For example, an employer can ask you about your physical abilities if the job is for a furniture mover. However, if you are being interviewed for a computer systems analyst position, it is not relevant for a potential employer to ask about your physical abilities.

If your disability becomes an issue at the interview (for example, if you choose to talk about your disability), an employer may ask about your ability to do the essential duties of the job and about how your needs can be met. Questions should not be out of curiosity, such as “How did you end up in a wheelchair?” or “Have you been blind all your life?”[39]

Employment agencies

An employer cannot use an employment agency to hire people based on preferences related to race, sex, disability or the other Code grounds. For example, a company cannot ask an agency to send only “persons of European background” to fill a receptionist position. However, an employer can express preference based on genuine job requirements, such as the requirement to speak French for a bilingual position.

Employment agencies cannot screen applicants based on discriminatory grounds and are not allowed to keep records of client “preferences” of this kind.

If a temporary employee is referred by an agency and then requires assistance to meet his or her disability-related needs, it would be the joint responsibility of the agency and the client to arrange accommodation.

[35] For more information, see the OHRC’s publication, Human Rights at Work (2008).

[36] For more information on age discrimination, see the OHRC’s Policy on discrimination against older persons because of age (2007).

[37] For more information, see the OHRC’s publication, Human Rights at Work (2008).

[38] For more information, see the OHRC’s Policy on requiring a driver’s licence as a condition of employment (1996), and the Policy and guidelines on disability and the duty to accommodate (2001).

[39] For more information, see the OHRC’s Policy and guidelines on disability and the duty to accommodate (2001).


Book Prev / Next Navigation