Chapter 5: Recruitment

5.2 The Law and Recruitment

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  1. Explain the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Human Rights laws and how they relate to recruiting.

One of the most important parts of HRM is to know and apply the law in all activities the HR department handles. Specifically with hiring processes, the law is very clear on a fair hiring that is inclusive to all individuals applying for a job. The laws discussed here are applied specifically to the recruiting of new employees.

Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

The Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) was extensively revised in 20017.  This law requires employers to attest to their employees’ immigration status, and ensure that requirements for passports, visas and work permits are complied with. Employers who don’t comply with the act and regulations could be liable for a hefty fine (up to $500,000) and potentially imprisonment. The implications for human resources lie in the recruitment process, because before entering employees into the selection process (interviewing, for example), it is important to know they are eligible to work in Canada. This is why many application forms ask, “Are you legally able to work in Canada?” Social Insurance Numbers (SIN) must be valid, and employers need to remember that SIN cards for a foreign national are only valid for the period approved in the immigration document. Employers who hire foreign nationals must have a system to track work permit expiry dates, and ensure documents and SIN cards are updated when required. For some employers, they track expiry dates through a calendar or Excel spreadsheet; other employers will use an online application designed for this specific purpose.

IRPA relates not only to workers you hire but also to subcontractors. In a subcontractor situation (e.g., your construction company hires a sub-contractor, who in turn employs undocumented workers), your organization can still be held liable if it is determined your organization exercises control over how and when the subcontractors perform their jobs. HR professionals must verify both the identity and employment eligibility of all employees, even if they are temporary employees.


We discuss HUMAN RIGHTS laws in the chapter, . They are worth mentioning again here in relation to the recruitment process. Employers in B.C. cannot discriminate based on:

  • Race, colour, ancestry, place of origin;
  • Political beliefs
  • Religion
  • Marital status
  • Family status
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Sex (includes pregnancy, transgender)
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age (19 years and up)
  • Conviction of a criminal or summary offence not related to the employment.

In a job announcement, organizations often include a diversity statement. Here are some examples:

(Company name) is fully committed to diversity and inclusion in our workplace. To support this, we welcome diversity throughout our organization. For more information, please visit our diversity page.

(Company name) does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, colour, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, or age in employment and provides, upon request, reasonable accommodation including auxiliary aids and services necessary to afford individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to employment.

Key Takeaways

  • IRPA stands for the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Employers must ensure that employees are legally permitted to work in Canada, and that all documents and permits are current. Permit expiry dates must be tracked and actioned before they expire. This also pertains to any sub-contractors that may be employed by your company.
  • Privacy Acts task employers with the duty to collect, store and use information about job candidates and employees reasonably and responsibly.
  • Human Rights Acts and legislation protects employees and job candidates from discrimination in the workplace.


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Introduction to Human Resource Management - First Canadian Edition Copyright © 2017 by Zelda Craig and College of New Caledonia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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