Examining the Canadian Experience Requirement

While concerns over using Canadian experience as an employment or accreditation requirement are legitimate, in some cases, such prerequisites are bona fide, Toronto-based employment lawyer Stuart Rudner says in Law Times.

By Stuart Rudner, AdvocateDaily.com

In the article, Rudner, a founding partner of Rudner MacDonald LLP, says that unfortunately, many employers use Canadian experience as a way to discriminate against groups that should be protected by human rights legislation. To show that the requirement is justified, “An employer will have to come up with a compelling rationale and appropriate supporting evidence. Where they can, the requirement will not be a breach of the Human Rights Code. Of course, the reality is that many employers never explicitly state this type of requirement but simply reject applications that do not meet their particular criteria.”

The Ontario Human Rights Commission recently released a policy on removing the Canadian experience requirement in a bid to help remove barriers to finding appropriate work for immigrants, Law Times reports.

The commission characterizes requiring immigrants to have Canadian work experience, which can take the form of volunteering or other unpaid work, as prima facie discrimination, the report continues, noting the onus, it maintains, will be on employers and regulatory bodies to show that a requirement for proper work experience in Canada is bona fide.

Employers, the commission suggests, shouldn’t require applicants to have prior work experience in Canada to be eligible for a specific job or discount an applicant’s foreign work record.

Applicants’ names as well as the nature and location of their background and experience could lead employers to assume characteristics such as their race and reject their application with no reason given, Law Times reports, noting in that situation, Rudner says it can be virtually impossible to prove discrimination.

Ultimately, it is best to evaluate every applicant based upon their particular suitability for the job, he adds.

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