Illegal Interview Questions and Guidelines:



Not Permitted



How long have you lived at your current address?

What is your address outside of Canada?


Are you of the legal age to work in Ontario?

When were you born? How old are you? When did you graduate? When were you baptized?

Age questions are allowed if the employer serves a particular age group and can prove that it is a reasonable requirement. If there are age requirements for benefit plans, you can ask about the candidate's age after you have offered and they've accepted the job.

Arrest Record

Have you ever been convicted of [x]?

Have you ever been arrested?

It is usually only okay to ask these kinds of questions if you can prove that the crime is reasonably related to the candidate's ability to perform the job in question.

Citizenship or National Origin

Are you legally entitled to work in Canada? What languages do you read/write/speak fluently?

Are you a Canadian citizen? Are you a landed immigrant? Where were your parents born? What is your "native language?"

Asking questions about citizenship is okay if it's required by law for a position or where a cultural, educational, or trade union of athletes can be restricted to Canadian citizens. Language questions are allowed if it is a requirement for the role. Employers may only ask for proof of residence after the selection has been made.


Candidates can be asked about their eligibility for bonding only if it is a job requirement.

Have you ever been convicted? Have you ever been arrested? Do you have a criminal record?

Questions about criminal records or convictions should only be asked if they are directly related to the job duties.


Accurately describe the job, then ask the candidate if they can perform all of the functions. You may also ask them to demonstrate how they would perform certain functions of the job.

Do you have any disabilities? Have you had any recent illnesses or operations? When was your last physical exam? How's your family's health? Do you drink or use drugs? Have you ever been hospitalized for psychiatric care?

If a pre-employment medical examination is required, then the employer may ask about any conditions that could affect the candidate's ability to perform the job functions.


Do you have a high school diploma or equivalent? What university or college degrees do you have?

What year did you graduate high school? Describe your Canadian work experience.

Asking about a candidate's "Canadian experience" shows discrimination against other nationalities.

Family Status

Would you be willing to relocate if necessary? Would you be able to travel or work overtime?

Are you married? Do you have a family or plan to? How many children do you have? What arrangements have you made for childcare?

If your business has a nepotism policy in place, you may ask candidates if they have a family member working at the company.

Financial Status

Do you own a car? (Only if this is a requirement of the job.)

What is your financial situation?

Financial status questions may be relevant for positions that deal with money or for positions with certain financial institutions. Otherwise, financial status is not relevant to a job opening.

Height or Weight

Accurately describe the job then ask the candidate if they can perform all of the functions.

How tall are you? How much do you weigh?

Personal questions are not allowed unless you can definitively prove a specific height and/or weight is required to safely perform the job.

Marital Status

Would you be willing to relocate if necessary? Would you be able to travel or work overtime?

Are you married? Do you have a family or plan to? How many children do you have? What arrangements have you made for childcare? Whom do you live with? What does your spouse do?

If the employer serves a particular group and can prove that marital status is a reasonable requirement, then it is okay to ask these questions. The employer must then ask all applicants the same questions.

Medical Information


Are you currently under a physician's care? What is the name of your family doctor? Are you currently undergoing therapy?

An employer may only ask the candidate to undergo a medical exam after a selection has been made and if their condition is related to their job duties.

Military Service

Employers may inquire about Canadian military service where the law gives employment preference to veterans.

Employers should not ask about military service in other countries.



What is your maiden name? Why did you change your name – was it court mandated, marriage, or for another reason?

You may be able to ask about a candidate's original name if it's necessary to check their references or educational background.


List any professional organizations, trade groups, or other organizations that you belong to that are relevant to your ability to perform in this position.

What clubs or social organizations are you a member of?

Avoid all questions about non-professional organizations that could be seen as a proxy question about race, age, sex, etc.



Employers should avoid asking candidates to attach photos to their resumes or send one in before an interview.

If a photo is needed for a security pass or company file, it can be requested after the hiring process is completed.

Race or Color


All questions about race and color, including questions about skin, eyes, and hair color.

Religion or Creed

Religion or Creed

Accurately describe the work shifts required and ask the candidates if that would pose any problems for them.

What religion or denomination are you? What church do you belong to? Who is your pastor/minister/rabbi? What religious holidays do you follow? Can I call your pastor/minister/rabbi for a reference?

If you need to ask about availability, ask applicants if they can work on Saturdays or Sundays and be sure to ask all applicants the same question. Employers are required to reasonably accommodate an employee's religious beliefs.

Sex, Orientation, or Gender Identity


What gender do you identify as? Are you male or female? As a woman, can you fill out this application? What are the names and relationships of the people living with you?

Avoid all questions relating to gender and sexual orientation, unless for courtesy reasons you ask which title (Dr./Mrs./Miss/Ms./Mr.) the candidate prefers.

Illegal interview questions pdf download

Illegal Interview Questions Table Download:

Download all the illegal interview questions above in a PDF and use them to create your own Human Rights Commission approved guidelines.

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What interview question topics are illegal?

  • Race, color, or national origin.
  • Religion.
  • Sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
  • Disability.
  • Age.
  • Citizenship.
  • Marital status or number of children.
  • Medical information.

What questions are employers not allowed to ask?

  • Do you go to church?
  • How much do you weigh?
  • How old are you?
  • What country are you from?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • How many children do you have?
  • Are you married?
  • Describe your Canadian work experience?

What is pre-employment discrimination?

Pre-employment discrimination happens when a potential employer discriminates against a candidate during the hiring process. This discrimination may be based on age, race, religion, sexual orientation, or other factors. This still counts as discrimination, even if an employment relationship has not started.

Are there exceptions to illegal interview questions?

According to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, exceptions can be made in cases when information is needed for a reasonable employment requirement. In cases where an employer is worried that a person may not be able to perform the job due to health or disabilities, it is appropriate to ask how they would perform it.

Can you ask a candidate how old they are?

Aside from checking that the candidate meets the legal age limit for employment, employers are not allowed to ask job applicants how old they are, as they may lead to age discrimination.

What are some examples of illegal interview questions?

  • When do you plan to retire?
  • What is your religion?
  • Are you comfortable working for a male/female boss?
  • What political party do you support?
  • Have you had any recent health issues?

What are the best interview questions to ask candidates?

Check out how to interview candidates, interview questions to ask, and our interview questions directory for instructions and interview question ideas.

  • What is your current (or previous) salary?
  • What is your expected salary?
  • What do you expect to accomplish in the first 30, 60, and 90 days on the job?
  • What people or companies are doing the best job in our industry? Why?
  • Why are you leaving your current role?

Can you ask if someone is legally able to work in Canada?

Yes, you may ask if a candidate is legally able to work in Canada, but you should avoid any questions about the candidate's race, nationality, or language ability, unless language ability is a job requirement. After the selection, you may ask the candidate for proof that they are legally able to work in Canada if it is a requirement for your files or for new hire reporting.

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