Denied a Job Due to Lack of Canadian Work Eligibility? You May Have Been Discriminated Against

July 23rd, 2019 by Marty Rabinovitch and Elias Rabinovitch

If you have recently been denied a job due to a lack of proof of permanent eligibility to work in Canada, you may be entitled to compensation under Ontario human rights law.

In a decision last year from the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, Haseeb v Imperial Oil Limited 2018 HRTO 957, an employer (Imperial Oil) refused to hire the applicant to whom they offered a job (Mr. Haseeb) after the job applicant failed to provide requested documentation regarding his legal authorization to work permanently in Canada.

Mr. Haseeb, an international student, was a recent graduate of McGill University’s engineering program, and only possessed a postgraduate work permit for up to three years. The applicant anticipated he would attain permanent residency status within three years. Imperial Oil required graduate engineers to have permanent residency or citizenship to be eligible to apply for a permanent full-time job at their company.  To circumvent this requirement, Mr. Haseeb repeatedly answered positively when asked about his eligibility to work in Canada on a permanent basis. These responses were false, as he only had a temporary work permit.

Although Mr. Haseeb was offered a job at Imperial Oil, the company later rescinded the offer about one month following the deadline for acceptance. The Tribunal found that Imperial Oil did not rescind the offer due to Mr. Haseeb’s dishonesty, but rather because Mr. Haseeb did not provide required permanent work eligibility documentation when it was requested.

The Human Rights Tribunal concluded that the employer’s hiring policy was directly discriminatory on its face towards international students. This meant that Imperial Oil was not permitted to rely upon the defence that permanent work eligibility was a bona fide occupational requirement. Moreover, the Tribunal determined permanent work eligibility could not have been required (i.e., an occupational requirement) to do the job effectively, as Imperial Oil was found to have recruited individuals without permanent work eligibility where their skills were particularly sought-after.

If you would like more information on discrimination in hiring practices, or would like legal advice on being denied a job for discriminatory reasons, please contact Marty Rabinovitch at 416.446.5826 or


“This article is intended to inform. Its content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon by readers as such. If you require legal assistance, please see a lawyer. Each case is unique and a lawyer with good training and sound judgment can provide you with advice tailored to your specific situation and needs.”


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