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Race, colour: prohibited ground of discrimination and harassment | CDPDJ

Race, colour

Race, colour

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

Race or the colour of one’s skin are prohibited grounds of discrimination and harassment. This means that you cannot be treated differently because of your race or colour. As well, you cannot be the target of offensive and repeated remarks or behaviour because of your race or colour. 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, restaurant personnel cannot give poor service because of your skin colour, nor people can make repeated and offensive jokes about the colour of your skin.

It should be noted that race and colour are often interrelated grounds of discrimination and both relate to the notion of racism. Racial profiling is also a form of discrimination based on race or colour.

Dominique, a 23-year-old student living in Brossard, sometimes, goes out to South Shore bars with his friends, male and female. Doormen often don’t let the males in claiming that in previous weeks, Blacks were involved in fights.


On her way home from church, Cynthia notices that a police car is following her. The policemen turn on their emergency lights and stop her. They ask for her driver’s license and check if the car is hers. They claim that she had gone through a red light. Cynthia explains that there are no traffic lights on the way from the church to her home. Having checked, the policemen are forced to admit that they made a mistake, but tell her: “We’ll give you a ticket next time.”


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. I am a young Black man and I drive my father’s car. The police often stop me and ask who the car belongs to. They also ask to see my driver’s license, registration certificate, insurance, etc. Yet, I have committed no offence. Is this racial profiling?

    Yes. The police, who are in a position of authority, are stopping without justification since you have not committed any offence.

  2. Can a bar owner deny us access to his establishment because we are young Blacks and Latinos, on the grounds that it is his business and that he does not want problems with street gangs?

    No, this is discrimination based on race and colour, two prohibited grounds of discrimination. In addition, according to the Charter, no one may deny another person access to a business.

  3. Are questions regarding my race or colour acceptable on a job application form?

    No, any request for details related to race or colour, including the colour of eyes, skin or hair must be avoided. Requests for a photograph of a job applicant must also be avoided.

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

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


Did you know?

It is important to file a racial profiling complaint as quickly as possible after an incident involving an employee of a municipality, including a police officer. 

In cases of discrimination, the time limit to file a complaint is usually two years after the incident. However, the Cities and Towns Act reduces this time limit to six months when the incident involves a municipality.


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