Navigate Up
Sign In

Human rights

Ethnic or national origin: prohibited ground of discrimination and harassment | CDPDJ

Ethnic or national origin

Ethnic or national origin

  • IMPRIMER LE DOCUMENT.
  • Les deux prochains liens contiennent des informations qui ne respectent pas les standards sur l'accessibilité du Web du gouvernement du Québec.
  • Partager sur Facebook.
  • Partager sur Twitter.

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

Ethnic or national origin is a prohibited ground of discrimination and harassment. 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 because you were not born in Canada.

Discrimination based on ethnic or national origin is often related to discrimination based on race and colour.

Iosefina was born in Romania and has been living in Québec for 10 years. After working for several years as a housekeeper, she obtained her citizenship and took a hairdressing course. She found a job in a hair salon and had good relations with everybody. Yet, when she was promoted to chief hairdresser and colourist, her co-workers started to spread rumours about her. One day, a co-worker called her a “damned immigrant, job stealer”, and told her to “go back to your country!”.

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 are some news releases 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. Can an employer demand legal proof of my permission to work in Canada and Québec during an interview?

    No. Employers may only request a proof of your right to work in Canada after offering you a job. This offer may be conditional on demonstrating proof of citizenship (for jobs requiring high-level security screening), permanent resident status or a work permit.

  2. Can I be asked whether I have “Canadian or Québec experience” during an interview?

    No. This question may only be asked if the job requires a specific type of experience that can be acquired only in Canada or Québec. If this is truly the case, the type of experience must be specified during the interview.

  3. I am Algerian and a landlord refused to rent me an apartment saying he “does not rent to Arabs”. Am I a victim of discrimination?

    Yes, that is discrimination based on ethnic or national origin which is prohibited by the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

  4. I was born in the Philippines and my classmates often insult me and tell to me to “go back to my country”. The teachers do nothing to stop this. Am I a victim of discrimination? What can I do?

    Yes, you are probably a victim of discrimination based on national origin (born in the Philippines). To put an end to this, it is important that you inform an adult that you trust and that you file a complaint with the school administration. If this continues or worsens you can, with the help of your parents if you are a minor, contact the Commission to file a complaint.

  5. A landlord refused to rent me an apartment because my previous address showed that I lived on an Indian reserve since I am Huron. Am I a victim of discrimination, or is the landlord allowed to choose the tenants in his building as he or she pleases?

    Yes, you are a victim of discrimination based on your ethnic origin. Landlords do not have the right to refuse to rent an apartment based on a person’s ethnic or national origin.

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

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

 

Did you know?

According to a study (in French only) conducted by the Commission, a candidate with a Québécois surname has at least 60% more chances of being called for a job interview than a person possessing equal characteristics and skills with an African, Arab or Latin American-sounding name.

 

Our opinion about...

The Commission takes a stand on a number of issues, including: