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Human rights

Hiring and pre-hiring practices : prohibited ground of discrimination | CDPDJ

Hiring and pre-hiring practices

Hiring and pre-hiring practices

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You believe you have been a victim of discrimination on this ground?

Questions pertaining to one of the prohibited grounds of discrimination are not permitted in job application forms, pre-employment medical examinations, and during job interviews. As such, employers are not allowed to ask questions regarding age, religion, sexual orientation, civil status, or any other personal characteristic of a potential candidate, unless these questions are related to the skills or qualifications required for the job.


Marie applied for a job as a maintenance worker in a large Montréal hospital. The interview went well; her former employer strongly recommended her, but she was not hired because she mentioned in the application form that she had previously suffered from depression. Marie filed a complaint with the Commission because the hospital had no reason to ask her questions about her health. The hospital also undertook to review its job application forms.

The following judgments are examples related to this ground of discrimination. The complete list of judgments issued by Canadian Courts are available on the Canadian Legal Information Institute’s website This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window.. You can do a search by grounds of discrimination.

Here are some of our publications related to this ground of discrimination. You can find all our publications on this ground of discrimination using a keyword on the Publications' page.

English language translations are provided when available.

Find more resources for employers on the Training and resources section.

Please note: These answers are to be used for information purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice.

  1. During a job interview, can the employer ask me if I am pregnant or if I intend to have children?

    No, questions regarding pregnancy cannot be asked during an interview.

  2. A job application form asks whether I take any medication, or if I am undergoing any medical treatment. Is that allowed?

    No. A job application form can only contain questions needed to gather information pertinent for the assessment of a candidate’s qualifications and skills required for the job.

  3. Can an employer request legal proof of my authorization to work in Canada and Québec during an interview?

    No, employers may only request proof of your authorization to work in Canada when a job offer is made. This offer can be conditional upon proof of citizenship (for jobs requiring high-level security screening), permanent resident status or possession of a work permit.

  4. Can I be asked what my religion is during a hiring interview?

    No. Questions regarding religion cannot be asked during a hiring interview. If a person’s religious practices make it difficult for him or her to comply with a work schedule, the employer must try to accommodate the person by adapting his schedule, unless this accommodation would cause an undue hardship. However, the employer may not raise the question of reasonable accommodation based on religious considerations before hiring the person.

  5. I am one of the few women who applied for a job as a “mechanic” in a heavy machinery factory. I have the training and the skills to perform the tasks required for the job. Yet, during the interview, I was asked if I was capable of working in a man’s field. Does this question comply with the Charter?

    No, you should not be asked that type of question during an interview. It is the employer who must ensure that each employee is respected by their work colleagues.

The following video is in American Sign Language (ASL) and is not accessible with a screen reader.

This video presents hiring and pre-hiring practices in American Sign Language (ASL)  This link will redirect you to an external website which may present barriers to accessibility..


Did you know?

The Commission received 78 complaints of discrimination related to hiring practices 2017-2018, which represents 25% of employment-related complaints.


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