From the start of your journey as a worker in Canada, you have the right to respectful and fair treatment. This includes the job interview.
Understanding your rights can help you ensure that you’re treated fairly in the hiring process. Below we address the most important rights you have in the process of interviewing for a new job in Canada.
- Learn more about the other rights you can expect as a worker in Canada.
What are your rights in a Canadian job interview?
Interviewers cannot ask candidates to provide significant personal information before offering a job. For example, they cannot ask a candidate to give a date of birth, family or medical history, or a residential address during the interview. Certain questions may be necessary during an interview, because the job requires it, but these questions must be specific and directly related to the duties of the job (for example, “can you lift a 50kg box and carry it 20 metres?”).
Basically, interviewers cannot ask questions that might encourage them to discriminate against a candidate. For example, questions about origin, family, and language cannot be used to discriminate against newcomers to Canada. Questions about age cannot be used to discriminate against older candidates. Questions about family life and planning cannot be used to discriminate against women.
Significantly for newcomers, employers cannot state that Canadian work experience is preferred over work experience obtained abroad. However, it should be noted that employers are legally entitled to confirm that workers have the legal right to work in Canada, so an employer may ask if you have the immigration status that affords you the right to work.
There are some exceptions made for special service organizations that serve specific groups, but if an organization hires a candidate based on their age, race, or other factors, the organization still has to justify that that factor is required for the job. For example, an organization that provides youth services in a First Nations community may be justified in selecting a 25 year old of First Nations descent instead of a 50 year old white person, in order to best serve the organization’s mandate.
It is important to know what to expect, so you can answer confidently and professionally if you find yourself in a situation where an employer has asked a question you feel uncomfortable answering.