Black Lives Matter has brought to the forefront of an underlying issue that has existed in society for decades. We have a discrimination issue. Canada is no different. It exists in all areas of life, including the workplace.

Sheila Block, a senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, believes discrimination is an issue in the Canadian job market.

Here is what she had to say to Global News:

“Very few people wake up in the morning and decide they want to be discriminatory,” she says. “What people need to do to address this is to look at their employment systems. So the first thing that you need is you need some data and you have to look at it and say, ‘Does my workforce reflect the population around us?’ And if it doesn’t, who’s not at the table, who’s not being hired and why aren’t they being hired?”

Toronto Recruiters Share 7 Ways Your Hiring Practices Could Be Discriminatory (Even If You Don’t Know It)


Studies Find Discriminatory Practices In Canada Workplaces

A poll by Boston Consulting Group identified that even though Canadian businesses are taking steps to minimize discrimination in their hiring practices, there is still work to do. The poll found:

  • 33% of Canadians who identified as a diversity group experienced discrimination at their current employer
  • 40% of indigenous respondents experienced discrimination
  • 41% of people with a disability experienced discrimination
  • 30% of women believe there are obstacles in recruitment

The Statistics Canada 150 study found that:

  • 2% of female visible minorities experienced discrimination or unfair treatment when at work or when applying for a job or promotion
  • 8% of non-visible minority women were discriminated against
  • 3% of visible minority males were discriminated against
  • 5% of non-visible minority males experienced discrimination

What Is Discrimination?

The Canadian Human Rights Commission defines discrimination as:

“…an action or a decision that treats a person or a group badly for reasons such as their race, age or disability. These reasons, also called grounds, are protected under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Common Types of Hiring Discrimination

There are many ways your hiring practices could be discriminatory. The most common are:

  • Age
  • Sex, sexual orientation, gender identify or expression
  • Race, colour, heritage, and culture
  • Religious beliefs
  • Disability
  • Family or marital status
  • Genetic conditions

Are Your Hiring Practices Exclusionary?

Are your recruiting and hiring practices discriminatory? They could be without you even knowing it. It happened to us here at IQ PARTNERS. Even though we want our organization to be diverse and feel like we’re doing our best, we’ve fallen short particularly at the senior leadership level. We’ve created a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee to address the issue now, but how did we get here? There are many companies that unintentionally have a hiring bias and discriminatory practices. A lot has to do with your hiring practices and processes. Here we’ll outline the common types of discrimination and identify some ways your hiring practices could be discriminatory.

7 Ways Your Hiring Practices Could Be Discriminatory

Here are some of the most common ways your hiring practices could be discriminating against some of your applicants:

  • Biased job ads: The way you write your job ads could unintentionally discourage certain candidates to apply. Be aware of the wording you use in your job ads. Try to write using a neutral voice. Have others review your job ad for bias and discrimination before you post it.
  • Stating preference: There is a difference between having an ideal candidate in mind and having specific preferences. Stating some types of preferences could be discriminatory.
  • Recruitment actions: How you recruit could discriminate. For example, you cannot exclude or focus specifically on a certain type of candidate. For example, you cannot say you’re only looking for younger candidates.
  • Restricting applications: You cannot refuse to give an application to an interested candidate. You must allow all candidates to freely apply.
  • Job interview questions: The type of questions you ask during the interview or as part of the job application are important. There are certain questions you are not permitted to ask. You cannot ask about age, race, religion, gender, disability, and other personal information.
  • Lack of interview structure: Failure to have a well-defined and structured hiring process can allow discriminating practices to creep in. Asking candidates different questions could cause you to evaluate each candidate using a different criteria.
  • Bias: Every person has a bias. Your bias could cause you to unknowingly make discriminatory decisions. You can reduce bias by having a diverse hiring team. Have a number of people involved in the hiring process to get a more well-rounded opinion of candidates.

Read More From Our Recruitment Blog

What the Toronto Job Market May Look Like in the Fall

4 Ways to Prepare Before Hiring a Remote Worker

6 Reasons Why Your Company Is Attracting Poor Quality Candidates


IQ PARTNERS is an Executive Search & Recruitment firm supporting clients across the country. We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. We have specialist teams of recruiters in Executive Search / Board & C-Suite, Technology, Media, Digital & Marketing, Accounting & Finance, Financial Services & Insurance, Cannabis, Startup, Data Science, Consumer, eCommerce & Retail, Operations & HR, Manufacturing, Supply Chain & Engineering, Legal & Professional Services, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences, Non-Profit & Sustainability, and Sales. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.

Bruce Powell Executive Search

Bruce Powell

Bruce co-founded IQ PARTNERS in 2001 and currently operates as Managing Partner. His personal background includes hands-on management experience in sales, marketing and marketing services. He has built management teams for a wide variety of marketing, communications, media and technology companies. He has also participated in several M&A transactions for service-based companies and is frequently called upon as a resource in the planning and negotiation of such deals.

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