Is “Canadian Experience” Requirement Discriminatory?

Often employers don’t realize that asking for such a requirement is a form of discrimination but there are ways to change your hr processes to overcome this barrier to employing skilled immigrants. By Caitlin Nobes, HRM Online

It’s becoming less common for job listings to specify Canadian experience, but the attitude is still pervasive in Canadian companies, but is it discriminatory?

“A strict requirement for “Canadian experience” is prima facie discrimination (discrimination on its face) and can only be used in very limited circumstances,” a new report from the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) said. “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.”

The practice is often the result of unconscious biases according to the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council learning initiatives manager Rose DeVeyra.

“Often employers don’t realize it is a form of discrimination,” DeVeyra told HRM. “It’s usually an unconscious bias towards someone with Canadian experience. The best way to address it is to surface the bias.”

While business used to be regionally focused, these days a diverse team can be an advantage in dealing with a diverse supplier and customer base.

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