Traliant Resources


Equal Employment Opportunity


Please review the information below and then return to the workplace harassment and violence prevention course.

Canada’s Constitution splits legal responsibility, or jurisdiction, between the federal and the provincial or territorial governments. The federal government regulates some employers and service providers, such as banks and airlines. A list of federally regulated industries and workplaces is available here.

Provinces and territories regulate other businesses and service providers and have their own human rights and workplace safety laws.

Indians and lands reserved for Indians are federally regulated. But not every organization run by First Nations people or located on a reserve is federally regulated. For example, a band office is federally regulated, but a gas station or a corner store on a reserve is regulated by the provincial or territorial government. A complaint against the gas station or corner store would be handled by the provincial or territorial human rights commission or workplace safety agency under its own laws.

To find out if your employer is federally regulated or regulated by a province or territory, speak to a human rights officer at the Canadian Human Rights Commission or contact the Labour Program of Employment and Social Development Canada.

Applicable Laws

The primary Federal law prohibiting employment discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of any protected ground is the Canadian Human Rights Act.

The Canada Labour Code prohibits harassment and violence in the workplace.

Protected Grounds

Harassment or discrimination based on any ground set forth below is prohibited in Canada.

  • National or Ethnic Origin
  • Race
  • Colour
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Gender Identity or Expression
  • Marital Status
  • Family Status
  • Disability
  • Genetic Characteristics
  • A conviction for which a pardon has been granted or a record suspended

Some provincial or territorial laws provide additional, separate standards and remedies for certain prohibited conduct, such as laws addressing equal pay without regard to sex or other protected ground.

Definitions of Harassment and Violence

Harassment is a form of discrimination. It includes any unwanted physical or verbal behavior that offends or humiliates you. Generally, harassment is a behavior that persists over time. Serious one-time incidents can also sometimes be considered harassment.

Violence includes any action, conduct or comment, including of a sexual nature, that can reasonably be expected to cause offence, humiliation or other physical or psychological injury or illness to an employee.

Potential Remedies

In Canada, an employee who has experienced harassment on a protected ground may be entitled to monetary and other remedies. An employer may be required to take certain actions to correct or redress discriminatory harassment or violations of workplace safety standards. Potential remedies are listed below.

Monetary and Other Remedies

Remedies that may be available to harassment victims include:

  • Financial compensation for lost wages
  • Damages for pain and suffering (not to exceed $20,000)
  • Financial compensation for expenses incurred as a result of the discriminatory practice

Retaliation Prohibited

Employer retaliation against an employee who files a complaint relating to harassment or workplace violence or is involved in the complaint process is unlawful.