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Human rights

Pregnancy: prohibited ground of discrimination and harassment | CDPDJ

Pregnancy

Pregnancy

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

Pregnancy includes the state of pregnancy (being pregnant), and everything encompassing it: maternity leave, return to work and complications related to pregnancy.

Pregnancy is a prohibited ground of discrimination and harassment. This means that you cannot be treated differently because you are pregnant or on maternity leave. As well, you cannot be the target of offensive and repeated remarks or behaviour because you are pregnant. These situations are contrary to the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window..

For example, you cannot be denied a job or a promotion because you are pregnant.​

Rose returned to work at the end of her maternity leave as scheduled. However, she was shocked to learn that her position was now filled by a permanent employee. Her employer re-assigned her to a less desirable position with less pay.

 

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.

Here is a news release published by the Commission over the years. You can find all our news releases on this ground of discrimination using a keyword on the Media room’s page.

English language translations are provided when available.

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

  1. I told my employer that I am pregnant, and that I would like to keep on working during my pregnancy, but my employer informed me that I must absolutely go on maternity leave as soon as my pregnancy becomes apparent. Does my employer have the right to decide when I must start my maternity leave?

    No, you can decide to keep on working during your pregnancy. You can request accommodations such as absence for medical appointments, or having some of your work duties adapted to your situation. The Act Respecting Labour Standards This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window. provides that the employee may spread the maternity leave as she wishes before or after the expected date of delivery. The Act also provides that the employer must assign a pregnant employee to other functions or put her on precautionary cessation of work if her conditions of employment are dangerous to her or her unborn child.

  2. Can my employer fire me because I arrived late on a few times due to prenatal medical appointments?

    No, the employer has to be flexible and must accommodate you if you are pregnant.

  3. Can I be forced to end my internship as a lab technician because I am pregnant? My manager said that I will have to reapply after I have given birth.

    No, management cannot automatically end your internship without seeking ways to accommodate you. It has the obligation to assess your situation and seek an alternative.

  4. During a hiring interview, can the employer ask me if I am pregnant or if I intend on having children?

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

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

This video presents the topic of pregnancy in American Sign Language (ASL)  This link will redirect you to an external website which may present barriers to accessibility..

 

Did you know?

In Québec in 2015, the average number of children per mother was 1.60 and the average age for maternity was 30.5 years old. Source This link will redirect you to an external Website in a new window.

 

To learn more

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