A person may not intent to discriminate against another person, but it is still discrimination.

Some examples of discrimination include the following:

a)    Harassment – inappropriate jokes, insults, name-calling or displays such as a poster or cartoons directed at a person because of their race, colour, sex or gender, sexual orientation, etc.

  • Ms. D, a study permit holder, moved out of her home stay because of the harassing behaviour of her host father.  He would stare at her body or make comments about her appearance, and entered her room without her permission and hugged her “to express his fondness,” which she could not stand. The home stay agency has not taken any action after receiving her complaint of sexual harassment.
  • A Japanese family has recently immigrated to Canada. The son is attending a local school and has been bullied because he is from Japan.  He is called racist names, pushed around in the hallway, and told to “go home”.  The parents complained to the teacher and the principal but the school has not taken any action against the racial harassment, and the bullying has continued.  The student does not wish to attend school and his school marks have fallen greatly.
  • Mr. C, a work permit holder, is working at a sushi restaurant. Other Asian and non-Asian workers in the restaurant tease him about being Japanese, and make jokes about Asians, other ethnic groups and gays and lesbians.  They post cartoons on the staff bulletin board and make jokes about each other’s racial and cultural heritage.  Mr. C. is very uncomfortable and tries to ignore it, but nobody else seems to mind and his boss doesn’t do anything about it.

b)   Wage discrimination – An example would be when an employer offers a lower wage for a woman doing similar work as a man or offers a lower wage to new immigrant having similar experience/skills as a non-immigrant.

c)    Discrimination in hiring – During a job interview, being asked inappropriate questions about child care arrangements if you are a parent or whether or not you plan to have children; questions about your disabilities or health limitations or problems; your age, your religion or any other personal characteristic protected under human rights; and not getting the job based solely on your answer to these questions and not your qualifications or experience.

d)    Being fired when you are pregnant (sex discrimination) or are injured and need time off to heal (discrimination based on disability and the duty to accommodate).  See description of “reasonable accommodation” under the section ‘WHAT KINDS OF DISCRIMINATION CAN OCCUR?”.

e)    Discrimination in housing – When seeking an apartment for rent, the landlord tells you that “no children are allowed” (discrimination based on family status) or they won’t rent to people under 25 years (age discrimination) because “they’re too noisy and won’t look after the place”.