Which Job Interview Questions are Illegal in Ontario?

By  //  June 25, 2021

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In Canada, employers usually hire job applicants based on their personal preferences. But when it comes to asking specific questions during a job interview, they should be careful.

There are specific questions that you should never ask during a job interview. You should avoid raising personal questions that might be interpreted as discriminatory. For example, are you married? Where do you come from? Do you have children?

According to the Canadian Human Rights Act and provincial human rights legislation, these questions are inappropriate and prohibited.

The Canadian provincial and federal human rights legislation urges employers to refrain from asking candidates personal questions in connection to the following aspects:

■ Color

■ Sexual orientation

■ Age

■ Gender expression or identity

■ Ethnic origin or national origin

■ Race

■ Citizenship

■ Corridor religion

■ Family status or marital status

■ Patent offices

■ Physical disability or mental disability

■ Recipe of different forms of public assistance

As an employer, you must familiarize yourself with these prohibited grounds of discrimination in different and relevant human rights situations and legislation. It would help if you focused on asking specific questions that aim to reveal that the job applicant has the potential to perform their job duties well.

The law requires you to avoid probing into different categories of personal questions that could be construed as forms of discrimination. If you need more information about this issue, visit website belonging to a reputable wrongful dismissal lawyer Toronto to learn more. 

So, what questions are acceptable during job interviews in Ontario? The law allows employers to ask questions about the following issues:

■ Your ability to handle the work effectively, such as traveling lifting heavy items, or working night shifts

■ They can ask about the names you have used if that information is required to verify your education, verify your past employment, or complete reference checks.

■ The employers can also ask whether or not you are permitted to work in Canada

■ They can also ask if you’re a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen 

Some of these issues might seem to overlap with the specific discriminatory grounds mentioned previously. However, employers must not focus on information that could be used to describe against some employees or deny people employment opportunities. 

How to address inappropriate questions

Suppose you are asked an inappropriate question during an interview or on an application form. In that case, you can implement any of the following ways to respond to the question effectively. 

■ Politely deflect or refuse to answer the question. If you’re filling in an application form, write “not applicable.” 

■ Carefully and respectfully, let your interviewer or potential employer know that the question is inappropriate.

Another way to respond to such questions would involve dealing with their specific underlying condition that may have prompted the interviewer or potential employer to ask that question.

Suppose an employer inappropriately asks about your family’s future plans or the number of kids you have, just because he or she incorrectly assumed that you’re more likely to be absent or ask for sick time. In this case, it is possible to address the underlying concern by talking about your outstanding ability to perform your duties and excellent attendance record, particularly in your previous employment position.