DISCRIMINATION

ISN’T IT WRONG TO DISCRIMINATE?

According to the former Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Patty Hajdu, discrimination is against the law. Minister Hajdu claimed in 2018, “What the law of Canada says is that Canadians have a right to live their lives free from discrimination.” She suggested that choosing not to hire certain applicants based on sexual orientation was a violation of labour law.

In fact, Canadian law does allow for discrimination. Federal and Provincial human rights legislation “recognizes that in certain circumstances, a limitation on individual rights may be reasonable and justifiable. Discrimination or exclusion may be allowed if an employer can show that [it] is a necessary requirement of a job, that is, if it is a bona fide occupational requirement.”

So, for instance, if a position requires employees to drive a vehicle to make deliveries, the company may discriminate against applicants who do not have a valid driver’s licence.

Likewise, if a religious community wishes to preserve the integrity of its beliefs and practices, it is lawfully permitted to discriminate to the extent necessary for its religious purposes. For example, a church is allowed by law to discriminate against an atheist who applies for a pastoral position. A Christian summer camp may restrict employment to counsellors who share its spiritual tenets. In fact, asking applicants to sign a morality statement is not illegal, it’s vital to preserving our cultural diversity and personal liberty in Canada.