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Canadian Human Rights Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-6)

Act current to 2022-11-16 and last amended on 2021-08-31. Previous Versions

Canadian Human Rights Act

R.S.C., 1985, c. H-6

An Act to extend the laws in Canada that proscribe discrimination

Short Title

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Canadian Human Rights Act.

  • 1976-77, c. 33, s. 1

Purpose of Act

Marginal note:Purpose

 The purpose of this Act is to extend the laws in Canada to give effect, within the purview of matters coming within the legislative authority of Parliament, to the principle that all individuals should have an opportunity equal with other individuals to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have and to have their needs accommodated, consistent with their duties and obligations as members of society, without being hindered in or prevented from doing so by discriminatory practices based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, family status, genetic characteristics, disability or conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted or in respect of which a record suspension has been ordered.

  • R.S., 1985, c. H-6, s. 2
  • 1996, c. 14, s. 1
  • 1998, c. 9, s. 9
  • 2012, c. 1, s. 137(E)
  • 2017, c. 3, ss. 9, 11, c. 13, s. 1

PART IProscribed Discrimination

General

Marginal note:Prohibited grounds of discrimination

  •  (1) For all purposes of this Act, the prohibited grounds of discrimination are race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, family status, genetic characteristics, disability and conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted or in respect of which a record suspension has been ordered.

  • Marginal note:Idem

    (2) Where the ground of discrimination is pregnancy or child-birth, the discrimination shall be deemed to be on the ground of sex.

  • Marginal note:Idem

    (3) Where the ground of discrimination is refusal of a request to undergo a genetic test or to disclose, or authorize the disclosure of, the results of a genetic test, the discrimination shall be deemed to be on the ground of genetic characteristics.

  • R.S., 1985, c. H-6, s. 3
  • 1996, c. 14, s. 2
  • 2012, c. 1, s. 138(E)
  • 2017, c. 3, ss. 10, 11, c. 13, s. 2

Marginal note:Multiple grounds of discrimination

 For greater certainty, a discriminatory practice includes a practice based on one or more prohibited grounds of discrimination or on the effect of a combination of prohibited grounds.

  • 1998, c. 9, s. 11

Marginal note:Orders regarding discriminatory practices

 A discriminatory practice, as described in sections 5 to 14.1, may be the subject of a complaint under Part III and anyone found to be engaging or to have engaged in a discriminatory practice may be made subject to an order as provided in section 53.

  • R.S., 1985, c. H-6, s. 4
  • 1998, c. 9, s. 11
  • 2013, c. 37, s. 1

Discriminatory Practices

Marginal note:Denial of good, service, facility or accommodation

 It is a discriminatory practice in the provision of goods, services, facilities or accommodation customarily available to the general public

  • (a) to deny, or to deny access to, any such good, service, facility or accommodation to any individual, or

  • (b) to differentiate adversely in relation to any individual,

on a prohibited ground of discrimination.

  • 1976-77, c. 33, s. 5

Marginal note:Denial of commercial premises or residential accommodation

 It is a discriminatory practice in the provision of commercial premises or residential accommodation

  • (a) to deny occupancy of such premises or accommodation to any individual, or

  • (b) to differentiate adversely in relation to any individual,

on a prohibited ground of discrimination.

  • 1976-77, c. 33, s. 6

Marginal note:Employment

 It is a discriminatory practice, directly or indirectly,

  • (a) to refuse to employ or continue to employ any individual, or

  • (b) in the course of employment, to differentiate adversely in relation to an employee,

on a prohibited ground of discrimination.

  • 1976-77, c. 33, s. 7
  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 143, s. 3(F)

Marginal note:Employment applications, advertisements

 It is a discriminatory practice

  • (a) to use or circulate any form of application for employment, or

  • (b) in connection with employment or prospective employment, to publish any advertisement or to make any written or oral inquiry

that expresses or implies any limitation, specification or preference based on a prohibited ground of discrimination.

  • 1976-77, c. 33, s. 8

Marginal note:Employee organizations

  •  (1) It is a discriminatory practice for an employee organization on a prohibited ground of discrimination

    • (a) to exclude an individual from full membership in the organization;

    • (b) to expel or suspend a member of the organization; or

    • (c) to limit, segregate, classify or otherwise act in relation to an individual in a way that would deprive the individual of employment opportunities, or limit employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect the status of the individual, where the individual is a member of the organization or where any of the obligations of the organization pursuant to a collective agreement relate to the individual.

  • (2) [Repealed, 2011, c. 24, s. 165]

  • (3) [Repealed, 1998, c. 9, s. 12]

  • R.S., 1985, c. H-6, s. 9
  • 1998, c. 9, s. 12
  • 2011, c. 24, s. 165

Marginal note:Discriminatory policy or practice

 It is a discriminatory practice for an employer, employee organization or employer organization

  • (a) to establish or pursue a policy or practice, or

  • (b) to enter into an agreement affecting recruitment, referral, hiring, promotion, training, apprenticeship, transfer or any other matter relating to employment or prospective employment,

that deprives or tends to deprive an individual or class of individuals of any employment opportunities on a prohibited ground of discrimination.

  • R.S., 1985, c. H-6, s. 10
  • 1998, c. 9, s. 13(E)

Marginal note:Equal wages

  •  (1) It is a discriminatory practice for an employer to establish or maintain differences in wages between male and female employees employed in the same establishment who are performing work of equal value.

  • Marginal note:Assessment of value of work

    (2) In assessing the value of work performed by employees employed in the same establishment, the criterion to be applied is the composite of the skill, effort and responsibility required in the performance of the work and the conditions under which the work is performed.

  • Marginal note:Separate establishments

    (3) Separate establishments established or maintained by an employer solely or principally for the purpose of establishing or maintaining differences in wages between male and female employees shall be deemed for the purposes of this section to be the same establishment.

  • Marginal note:Different wages based on prescribed reasonable factors

    (4) Notwithstanding subsection (1), it is not a discriminatory practice to pay to male and female employees different wages if the difference is based on a factor prescribed by guidelines, issued by the Canadian Human Rights Commission pursuant to subsection 27(2), to be a reasonable factor that justifies the difference.

  • Marginal note:Idem

    (5) For greater certainty, sex does not constitute a reasonable factor justifying a difference in wages.

  • Marginal note:No reduction of wages

    (6) An employer shall not reduce wages in order to eliminate a discriminatory practice described in this section.

  • Definition of wages

    (7) For the purposes of this section, wages means any form of remuneration payable for work performed by an individual and includes

    • (a) salaries, commissions, vacation pay, dismissal wages and bonuses;

    • (b) reasonable value for board, rent, housing and lodging;

    • (c) payments in kind;

    • (d) employer contributions to pension funds or plans, long-term disability plans and all forms of health insurance plans; and

    • (e) any other advantage received directly or indirectly from the individual’s employer.

  • 1976-77, c. 33, s. 11

Marginal note:Publication of discriminatory notices, etc.

 It is a discriminatory practice to publish or display before the public or to cause to be published or displayed before the public any notice, sign, symbol, emblem or other representation that

  • (a) expresses or implies discrimination or an intention to discriminate, or

  • (b) incites or is calculated to incite others to discriminate

if the discrimination expressed or implied, intended to be expressed or implied or incited or calculated to be incited would otherwise, if engaged in, be a discriminatory practice described in any of sections 5 to 11 or in section 14.

  • 1976-77, c. 33, s. 12
  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 143, s. 6

 [Repealed, 2013, c. 37, s. 2]

Marginal note:Harassment

  •  (1) It is a discriminatory practice,

    • (a) in the provision of goods, services, facilities or accommodation customarily available to the general public,

    • (b) in the provision of commercial premises or residential accommodation, or

    • (c) in matters related to employment,

    to harass an individual on a prohibited ground of discrimination.

  • Marginal note:Sexual harassment

    (2) Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), sexual harassment shall, for the purposes of that subsection, be deemed to be harassment on a prohibited ground of discrimination.

  • 1980-81-82-83, c. 143, s. 7

Marginal note:Retaliation

 It is a discriminatory practice for a person against whom a complaint has been filed under Part III, or any person acting on their behalf, to retaliate or threaten retaliation against the individual who filed the complaint or the alleged victim.

  • 1998, c. 9, s. 14

Marginal note:Exceptions

  •  (1) It is not a discriminatory practice if

    • (a) any refusal, exclusion, expulsion, suspension, limitation, specification or preference in relation to any employment is established by an employer to be based on a bona fide occupational requirement;

    • (b) employment of an individual is refused or terminated because that individual has not reached the minimum age, or has reached the maximum age, that applies to that employment by law or under regulations, which may be made by the Governor in Council for the purposes of this paragraph;

    • (c) [Repealed, 2011, c. 24, s. 166]

    • (d) the terms and conditions of any pension fund or plan established by an employer, employee organization or employer organization provide for the compulsory vesting or locking-in of pension contributions at a fixed or determinable age in accordance with sections 17 and 18 of the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985;

    • (d.1) the terms of any pooled registered pension plan provide for variable payments or the transfer of funds only at a fixed age under sections 48 or 55, respectively, of the Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act;

    • (e) an individual is discriminated against on a prohibited ground of discrimination in a manner that is prescribed by guidelines, issued by the Canadian Human Rights Commission pursuant to subsection 27(2), to be reasonable;

    • (f) an employer, employee organization or employer organization grants a female employee special leave or benefits in connection with pregnancy or child-birth or grants employees special leave or benefits to assist them in the care of their children; or

    • (g) in the circumstances described in section 5 or 6, an individual is denied any goods, services, facilities or accommodation or access thereto or occupancy of any commercial premises or residential accommodation or is a victim of any adverse differentiation and there is bona fide justification for that denial or differentiation.

  • Marginal note:Accommodation of needs

    (2) For any practice mentioned in paragraph (1)(a) to be considered to be based on a bona fide occupational requirement and for any practice mentioned in paragraph (1)(g) to be considered to have a bona fide justification, it must be established that accommodation of the needs of an individual or a class of individuals affected would impose undue hardship on the person who would have to accommodate those needs, considering health, safety and cost.

  • Marginal note:Regulations

    (3) The Governor in Council may make regulations prescribing standards for assessing undue hardship.

  • Marginal note:Publication of proposed regulations

    (4) Each regulation that the Governor in Council proposes to make under subsection (3) shall be published in the Canada Gazette and a reasonable opportunity shall be given to interested persons to make representations in respect of it.

  • Marginal note:Consultations

    (5) The Canadian Human Rights Commission shall conduct public consultations concerning any regulation proposed to be made by the Governor in Council under subsection (3) and shall file a report of the results of the consultations with the Minister within a reasonable time after the publication of the proposed regulation in the Canada Gazette.

  • Marginal note:Exception

    (6) A proposed regulation need not be published more than once, whether or not it has been amended as a result of any representations.

  • Marginal note:Making of regulations

    (7) The Governor in Council may proceed to make regulations under subsection (3) after six months have elapsed since the publication of the proposed regulations in the Canada Gazette, whether or not a report described in subsection (5) is filed.

  • Marginal note:Application

    (8) This section applies in respect of a practice regardless of whether it results in direct discrimination or adverse effect discrimination.

  • Marginal note:Universality of service for Canadian Forces

    (9) Subsection (2) is subject to the principle of universality of service under which members of the Canadian Forces must at all times and under any circumstances perform any functions that they may be required to perform.

  • R.S., 1985, c. H-6, s. 15
  • R.S., 1985, c. 32 (2nd Supp.), s. 41
  • 1998, c. 9, ss. 10, 15
  • 2011, c. 24, s. 166
  • 2012, c. 16, s. 83
 
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