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Ethnic or national origin

These are your cultural characteristics or nationality.

A person cannot discriminate or harass you because of your ethnic or national origin. The Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms prohibits anyone to:

  • treat you differently because of your ethnic or national origin
  • make offensive and repeated comments to you related to your ethnic or national origin
  • behave repeatedly in an offensive manner towards you in relation to your ethnic or national origin

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.

This video presents the topic of ethnic or national origin in American Sign Language (ASL)

Do you believe you are being discriminated against or harassed because of your ethnic or national origin?

The Commission can help you recognize discrimination or harassment and take action to prevent or stop discriminatory behaviour.

Discrimination Harassment Defending your rights

Discrimination at a job interview

Francis, a recent dance graduate, prepared for an audition. When he arrived, the casting director looked at him surprised, and said, “Oh! I didn't expect to see an Asian person here! Where are you from?” Francis replied, “I’m from here.” “No, but where are you really from?” asked the director. “Montréal,” replied Francis, “I was born and raised here.” Employers are not allowed to ask about applicants’ race or origin during an interview. This is discrimination on the basis of race or colour and ethnic or national origin.

Your rights at work

Discriminatory language

Iosefina is originally from Romania and has lived in Québec for 10 years. After training to be a hairdresser, she got a job at a salon and had a good relationship with everyone there. But when she was promoted to the position of chief colourist, her colleagues began to find fault with her. One day, a colleague tried to discredit her in front of their clients. When Iosefina asked him to explain himself, the colleague replied, “Bloody immigrant, job stealer! Go back to where you came from!”. Iosefina’s colleague cannot speak to her like this. This is discrimination on the basis of national origin.

Learn more...

Information page

Find all our publications, training and other resources available on this gound. 

Resources on ethnic or national origin