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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.

OHRC launches survey into Canadian experience requirement

October 5, 2012

Toronto – A new survey launched today by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) asks job seekers and employers to describe how “Canadian experience” requirements in the Ontario job market have affected them. “In our conversations with newcomers, they often talk about the requirement for ‘Canadian experience’ as a big barrier to their entry into the workforce,” commented OHRC Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall, “We want to learn more about how this requirement plays out in real life.”

Racial discrimination (brochure)

2012 - The Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) provides for equal rights and opportunities, and freedom from discrimination. The Code recognizes the dignity and worth of every person in Ontario. It applies to the areas of employment, housing, facilities and services, contracts, and membership in unions, trade or vocational associations. Under the Code, every person has the right to be free from racial discrimination and harassment.

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