Human rights laws vary between provinces, but all codes address protected grounds for discrimination. These include nationality, ethnic origin, place of origin, colour, race and, in some cases, social origin or social disadvantage.


The Canadian Experience

Some provinces specifically say it’s discriminatory to require a candidate to have Canadian experience. For example, the Ontario Human Rights Commission says, “Basing hiring and accreditation decisions on whether a person has Canadian experience is not a reliable way to assess a person’s skills or abilities.”


Best Practices

  1. Review your job application and remove areas that require candidates to disclose the country in which they got their work experience.
  2. In your application and interview process, do not refer to race, nationality or place of origin.
  3. Develop measures to assess and showcase an individual’s skills or abilities, rather than focussing on where their experience was acquired. Skills can be verified through references, job-related testing, or behavioural interview questions.
  4. Recognize the value of on-the-job training in helping a potential employee develop skills specific to succeeding in your business.


Role Model

Our people are the most important factor if we want to succeed. I’d say they’re even more important than our steaks. – David Aisenstat, CEO Keg Restaurants Ltd.

The Keg has consistently been recognized as one of the 50 Best Employers in Canada by Canadian Business, and the employee experience is one reason why.
When hired, employees receive extensive on-the-job training and mentoring from a seasoned employee who teaches the new recruit various functions at the restaurant, such as bussing, hosting and bartending.
Implementing a formal on-the-job training process ensures new employees learn specific employer expectations and workplace culture, and closes skill gaps where they may exist.


Want to know more about facilitating employment for newcomers and immigrants?

Check out Restaurants Canada’s Fact Sheet on Removing Barriers for Newcomers and Immigrants part of our series on How to Create a Positive & Inclusive Workplace.

And if you miss our Positive and Inclusive Workplace webinar, you can access the recording here.

Removing Barriers to Employment for Newcomers and Immigrants


Beth Pollock is a communications and content marketing expert. Working with Restaurants Canada, she has edited and published two newsletters (RC Insider and BITE); developed the RC Show website; managed social media feeds (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram); and written press releases, blog stories, operational manuals, and an op-ed for the Globe & Mail. Beth is also a freelance writer who has written for a number of publications about food, travel, and children’s books, and has written over 600 posts on her personal blog, Of Muses and Meringues about recipes and her personal travels. She has published three books for children.